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Crisis. 2005;26(1):20-4.

Effect of the broadcast of a television documentary about a teenager's suicide in Israel on suicidal behavior and methods.

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Adolescent Inpatient Department, Geha Psychiatric Hospital, Rabin Medical Center, Petah Tiqva, Israel.


Portrayals of suicide in the media are controversial because they may impact on suicide rates and methods. The aim of this study was to analyze the effect of the broadcast of a television documentary wherein an adolescent girl is interviewed about her suicide plan and subsequently dies by suicide. National suicide rates during the 8 weeks prior to the program and the 4 weeks following it were compared to the same periods in the previous year. There was no significant difference in the rates of completed and attempted suicides before and after the program. There was a shift toward the method used in the film after the broadcast, but it was found to be nonspecific to that year. A significant decrease was noted in the mean age of suicide attempters in the last promotional week prior to the broadcast compared to the previous year (p = .032). These preliminary findings suggest that the repeated televised promotion of a documentary on suicide may raise the risk of suicide in vulnerable populations. Further investigations in bigger populations are needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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