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For as children tremble and fear everything in the blind darkness, so we in the light sometimes fear what is no more to be feared than the things children in the dark hold in terror and imagine will come true.
--- Titus Lucretius Carus [99-55 B.C.], De Rerum Natura, bk. III, l. 87

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  • See also suicide section

  • Suicide Contagion and the Reporting of Suicide: Recommendations from a National Workshop, CDC WONDER copy of MMWR 43(RR-6);9-18, 22 Apr 1994
    • "In particular, nonfictional newspaper and television coverage of suicide has been associated with a statistically significant excess of suicides."
    • includes section on "aspects of news coverage that can promote suicide contagion" as well as guidelines for reporting to attempt to reduce that triggering effect
    • includes appendix with "Examples of Hypothetical News Reports * with High and Low Potential for Promoting Suicide Contagion "

  • Suicide Contagion and the Reporting of Suicide: Recommendations from a National Workshop, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) report 43(RR-6);9-18, 22 Apr 1994 - not as well formatted as the CDC copy above

  • Reporting on Suicide: Recommendations for the Media

  • Combating Copycat Violence, by Jennings, in The Futurist, May-June 2005
    • With regard to suicide, a group of experts met in 1989 to address the problem of why "clusters" of suicides often occur soon after a well-publicized suicide story. These experts recommended to the Centers for Disease Control that print and broadcast media should make it their policy to show no photographs of suicide scenes or victims, provide no technical details about suicide methods, and in no way glorify suicide. In 1995 the CDC issued more specific recommendations for the media, some of which were later adopted by the World Health Organization. WHO also suggested including local suicide-prevention hotline numbers in any coverage of a suicide story and having reporters stress messages of sympathy for the grieving survivors.
    • Despite these recommendations for voluntary action, suicide reporting is still generally sensationalized, and clusters of copycat suicides continue to occur as a direct consequence, Coleman says. Ironically, this copycat effect is greatly reduced in places where inadvertent censorship (such as with a newspaper strike) or some even more sensational event (such as the O.J. Simpson case) effectively make ordinary crimes and suicide stories seem relatively insignificant. Direct censorship can be still more effective. Coleman cites a 1987 incident in Vienna, Austria, where authorities banned all reporting of suicides in response to an "epidemic" of people killing themselves in the subways. "In the four-year period following the forced removal of suicide stories from the newspapers," Coleman notes, "the overall suicide rate decreased nearly 20%," with a 75% decline in subway suicides.

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