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Psychiatr Serv. 2019 Aug 1;70(8):728-731. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201900007. Epub 2019 Apr 30.

Increases in Demand for Crisis and Other Suicide Prevention Services After a Celebrity Suicide.

Author information

1
National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland (Ramchand, Cohen, Schoenbaum, Colpe, Pearson); Cohen Veterans Network, Silver Spring, Maryland (Ramchand); Vibrant Emotional Health, New York (Draper); Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, Minneapolis (Reidenberg); Education Development Center, Washington, D.C. (Reed).

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study examined data on acute (i.e., within 30 days) increases in suicides, help and information seeking, and service capacity after a celebrity suicide.

METHODS:

Daily suicide data, call volume to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL), and visits to two suicide prevention Web sites before and after entertainer Robin Williams' death on August 11, 2014, were examined.

RESULTS:

Before August 11 in 2012, 2013, and 2014, daily suicide deaths averaged between 113 and 117; in 2014, the count increased to 142, an increase not observed in 2012 and 2013. The number of calls to the NSPL rose by up to 300%, but answered calls decreased from an average of 71% to 57%. Visits to both Web sites also increased dramatically.

CONCLUSIONS:

Dramatic increases in all three measured outcomes in the days after a celebrity suicide were noted, suggesting the need for contingency plans to meet immediate increased demand.

KEYWORDS:

Suicide & self-destructive behavior, Crisis intervention

PMID:
31035892
DOI:
10.1176/appi.ps.201900007

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