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The role of the Internet in suicide prevention 

The role of the Internet in suicide prevention
Chapter:
The role of the Internet in suicide prevention
Author(s):

Michael Westerlund

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198570059.003.0070
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date: 17 August 2019

Among websites relating to suicide, approximately 40 per cent represent a suicide-preventive view. However, research shows that pro-suicide sites usually rank higher on search results pages, and are more frequently searched for. These pro-suicide sites and other forms of online pro-suicide communication have tried to spread a view of suicide as an acceptable solution to life’s problems. They have also increased access to potent suicide methods, through the long lists they contain. They have added to persuasion and group pressure to fulfil suicide plans, glorifying those who have committed suicide, and given rise to a new form of suicide pact— ‘net suicides’.

This chapter also discusses the scope for statutory prohibition and regulation of pro-suicide websites, and ways in which Internet-based systems are used as suicide-preventive support.

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