Book Chapter

The role of the Internet in suicide prevention


Chapter Authors
Danuta Wasserman, Michael Westerlund

Oxford University Press


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 on-line pro-suicide communication have tried to spread a view of suicide as an acceptable solution of 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 commited 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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  • Type:
    Book Chapter (other academic)
  • Anthology:
    Oxford Textbook of Suicidology and Suicide Prevention
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About the Author

Michael Westerlund

Fil dr i medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap. Disputerade 2010-06-04 vid Stockholms universitet/JMK på avhandlingen Självmord och Internet: Kommunikation om ett livsfarligt ämne. I det pågående forsknings- och implementeringsprojektet Suicide Prev... Read more


Wasserman, D. and Westerlund, M. (2009). The role of the Internet in suicide prevention. In: D. Wasserman and C. Wasserman, eds., Oxford Textbook of Suicidology and Suicide Prevention, New York: Oxford University Press.