Close link between the global web-search trend of suicide and the entertainment industry: Who is at risk?

  • Sujita Kumar Kar
  • S.M. Yasir Arafat
  • Adarsh Tripathi


Suicide is having an increasing trend, and over the past three decades, there is a 6.7% increase in mortality due to suicide globally. Close to 1 million people die globally every year due to suicide, with approximately one suicide every 40 seconds. The low and middle-income countries (LMICs) cater to approximately 4/5th of global suicide. As per World Health Organization data, the third leading cause of death among adolescents (age between 15 to 19 years) is suicide. A study on adolescents in 32 LMICs concluded that violence, abuse, bullying, substance use (e.g., Alcohol), and loneliness to be the specific determinants of suicidal behavior among adolescents. Over the past decade, the United Kingdom reports an increasing suicide trend among young individuals. In the context of suicide, various risk factors (biological, psychological, social) have been implicated. Over the last few decades, more focus has been put on biological factors that cause suicide. Mental illnesses, especially the role of mood disorders in causing suicide among young people, are recognized as a strong predictor of suicide. Unfortunately, the biological factors may not attribute to the trend of suicide or explosive peaks of suicide; instead, the sudden peaks in suicidal behavior may be determined by several social determinants. The way suicide is being reported by media may further influence suicidal behavior. Sensational reporting by media triggers suicidal behavior in society (Werther effect), whereas responsible media reporting has a protective effect on suicidal behavior (Papageno effect). Media reporting about suicide has a modeling effect on society, which evokes imitation. People, mainly teenagers, identify themselves with the characters/individuals who committed suicide.

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