Suicide videos on social media dangerous, have negative influence

A video of a suicide has been making its rounds on Facebook.

Such videos should not be shared on social media.

Research has shown a sharp rise in "copycat" suicides when such incidents are reported in detail.

Vulnerable people can be triggered into acting and be influenced by the gratuitous details of such suicide videos.

Get The Straits Times
newsletters in your inbox

Though social media is an excellent platform for people who want to spread awareness about suicide prevention, sharing a video showing someone committing suicide is not the way to do it.

It is not only insensitive, but also disrespectful to the dead person and his family and friends.

  • HELPLINES

  • Samaritans Of Singapore: 1800-221-4444

    Singapore Association For Mental Health: 1800-283-7019

    Institute Of Mental Health's Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222

    Care Corner Counselling Centre (Mandarin): 1800-353-5800

    Silver Ribbon: 6386-1928

    Tinkle Friend: 1800-274-4788

As we talk about suicide, we must be aware that we are surrounded by people for whom these images are profoundly painful.

Suicide has been a taboo subject for too long. We need to talk about it, but we need to do so in a way that is respectful and avoids instigating vulnerable people who are suicidal to act.

Let us keep suicide pictures and videos off social media, and make the conversation more about how we can reach out to the vulnerable people to let them know we care.

Christine Wong (Ms)

Executive Director

Samaritans of Singapore

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2017, with the headline 'Suicide videos on social media dangerous, have negative influence'. Print Edition | Subscribe