Suicide Contagion
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If someone close to you has committed suicide and you are now considering suicide, then you could be experiencing a bi-product of suicide = suicide contagion.
Although suicide is not infectious - it can be contagious. Suicide contagion can occur when an individual is exposed to suicide, or suicidal behaviour, within one's family, peer group or media coverage. This has been known to trigger an increase in suicide and suicidal behavior.
It is the contagion within the family which is particularly scary.
Picture a Christmas Day surrounded by family. A nephew or neice sitting innocently in the corner unwrapping presents. It is quite disturbing to think that if you ended up taking your own life, you could also be condemning him, or her, to a similar death.
A classic example involves the writer Ernest Hemingway who died by his own hand. As did his brother, his sister, his father and his granddaughter.
Equally, anyone witnessing a suicide, or discovering the remains of a suicide (ie Emergency Services etc) are also at risk of contagion. I myself am a victim of contagion.

Examples of contagion

Stressed dad copied death of his brother
Found near same spot in Derwent

A MAN whose brother drowned in the River Derwent four years ago took his own life near the same spot.
The body of Kevin Worthington was found in the same river beneath the Raynesway flyover in Spondon, at about 10.40am: on October 21.
His older brother, Dennis was also found in the river near Spondon in 2002.
At Derby Coroner's Court yesterday an inquest into Kevin's death heard he had a history of depression and was on medication.
A postmortem examination showed there was no alcohol or drugs in his body at the time of his death.
Mr Worthington, (47), of Brighton Road, Alvaston, had twice tried to take his own life in 2004, and had been admitted to hospital for psychiatric treatment.
The inquest heard how the postman, who had worked for Royal Mail for 17 years, was receiving help from Crisis Intervention, which supports people suffering from Depression.
Mary Worthington, his partner of 18 years and wife of three years, said their son found a note from him along with his wedding ring. He alerted the police.
She said her husband had told a friend that, if he was going to take his own life, he would do it in the same way as his brother, Dennis.
An inquest in 2002 heard that Dennis (58), of Meadow Lane, Alvaston, committed suicide after suffering depression.
Mrs Worthington said her husband was unable to swim.
"He was very upset when Dennis died. Kevin was very close. Dennis was the eldest and he was like a dad to Kevin."
She told the inquest her husband had been a good father.
Michael Bird, Assistant Deputy Coroner for Derby and South Derbyshire, recorded a verdict of suicide.
He said: "He had had psychological problems in the past and had sought help, which, in October 2005, were still ongoin.
"It was clear he was under significant stress as a result of a number of different factors and this was causing him to be anxious."
                                                              Derby Evening Telegraph 09.02.06



She couldn’t live without daughter, grandkids


THE mother of a woman who killed herself and two kids by leaping in front of a train has committed suicide in exactly the same way.

             Heartbroken Satwant Kaur Sodhi told friends she could not go on living after the tragedy.

             Six months ago Navjeet, 27, threw herself, daughter Simran, five, and 23-month-old son Aman off the platform at Southall train station, West London after suffering depression. She was four months pregnant at the time.

            Afterwards Mrs Sodhi, 56, regularly visited the station where she stood crying, unable to come to terms with her loss.

            In the last two weeks she spoke of suicide and said there was no point living without her family.

           Minutes after midday on Monday, she returned there and flung herself in front of the 95mph Bristol to Paddington express.

           Witnesses said the driver saw her but was unable to stop in time. Her body was cut in half by the impact.

            Yesterday family members said she was being treated for depression and spent several weeks in hospital on suicide watch before Christmas.

           Relative Satwant Kaur said: “She was always talking about joining her daughter and grandchildren.

           “I used to see her two to three times a week and was always talking about the same thing’ 


Another friend, said: “I suppose she felt she could not take the pain anymore.

            “She lived for those kids and her daughter and was absolutely lost when they died

They were very close.

             Mrs Sodhi’s husband had left when Navjeet was very young so it was just the two of them.”

             Family friend Rajinder Singh said: “She talked about killing herself all the time. We talked to her to try and keep her positive.

            “She would come in my shop on the way to the station where she would stand on the platform watching the trains go by and crying.

            “Relatives would go and bring her back home. It’s a total tragedy. Everybody is very upset.”

            Before Navjeet died on August 31, she suffered post natal depression and was thought to be worried about her latest pregnancy.

            Her arranged marriage to Post Office worker Manjit, who moved to the UK from India, was in difficulty and the couple had had a trial separation.

            Moments before she died, she called him to tell him what she was about to do.

           “She told him: “we’re going away together for a very long time and you’re not going to see us.”

           He rushed to the station arriving moments after and picked his dying son off the track. He has since returned to India.


         Mrs Sodhi’s family said in a statement: “No matter how we tried to help, she could not find comfort in anything or anyone.

        She will be missed dearly and we can only seek solace in knowing she is at peace with her family.

        “We must now try to come to terms with the loss and this incomprehensible chain of events.”

The Sun: 23.02.2006        


A step in the right direction
Between 1984 & 1987, journalists in the Austrian capitol Vienna gave extensive and dramatic coverage to the deaths of individuals who leapt in front of the trains on the city's underground network. Then in 1987, a campaign alerted reporters to the likely negative effects of such reporting, and suggested an alternate strategy for coverage.
In the first six months after the campaign began, underground/subway suicides and non-fatal attempts actually dropped by more than 80%. The total number of suicides declined as well.

Suicide Facts:
Coping With Childhood Grief

Here are some suicide facts you should be aware of:

  • A teen that has lost a friend to suicide is at higher risk for depression, delinquency and drug abuse. (Estimates by the American Association of Suicidology place this risk at three times that of the average teen.)

  • Studies reveal that a family member of a loved one who has committed suicide is at up to 5 times the risk for suicide themselves.

  • Thousands of children and adolescents are affected by a suicide each year.

  • Emotional distress of child survivors of suicide may go unnoticed if they do not have a chance to share their pain.

  • We can all help in suicide prevention by learning about statistics, suicide rates and teen suicide.

  • There is no timetable for recovery, suicide survivors are forever changed by the tragedy.

A step in the wrong direction

Audienes are haunted by a film that shows the suicide leaps of real people
A documentary set in San Francisco has produced shocking images, write Ben Hoyle and Jack Malvern
A TALL black-coated figure with wild, billowing hair mounts the safety railing of the Golden Gate Bridge, looks around him, and then tips slowly backwards towards the water far below.
      Gene Sprague's death would be a dramatic scene in any film. In a documentary it is as shocking as anything in cinema history.
      The Bridge, which is being screened at The Times BFI 50th London Film Festival on Monday, breaks one of the medium's last taboos, by showing real deaths.
       Six of the twenty-four people who killed themselves at San Francisco's most recognisable landmark, in 2004, are shown jumping.
       Brief portraits of their tragic lives, pieced together from interviews with faily and friends, give the film shape and depth, but it is the footage of the jumpers that haunts audiences long after the credits have rolled.
       The director, Eric Steel, said yesterday that he wanted to force his audiences to "bear witness to something profoundly disturbing" and, through that, jolt them into re-evaluating their thoughts on suicide and mental illness.
      However, his film has provoked a storm of controversy on both sides of the Atlantic.
      It was rejected by several film festivals, including Cannes and Berlin, with one event organiser describing it as "voyeuristic, nothing more". Suicide experts accused Steel of glamorising his subjects and warned that the film would trigger a spate of copycat deaths.
       Professor Keith Hawton, of the Centre for Suicide Research, at Oxford University, said that the film's approach was ill-advised and tasteless. "All research suggests that showing, in detail, methods of suicide does result in an increase of those methods immediately afterwards, so portrayal of methods of suicide is ill-advised"
        Mike Cobb, a Samaritans spokesman, (said?) that footage showing suicide risked encouraging vulnerable people to take their own lives. "Even showing a method on Casualty has led to an increase" he said.
        Steel, 42, responded that, as the most popular suicide spot in the world, the Golden Gate Bridge "already has a copycat problem". "These people have serious issues, and the answer is not to not show the film," he said. "It is to find a way to deal with these people's mental illnesses in a way that makes them feel they want to stay in this world."
        He developed the idea after reading an article in The New Yorker about some of the 1,300 people who have thrown themselves from the Golden Gate Bridge since it opened in 1937.
        Trying to imagine their last moments, he thought of the bodies ha had watched falling from the World Trade Center Towers on September 11, 2001.
        "I don't think we can understand that level of despair," he said. "Those people jumped rather than die in an inferno. These people might be jumping to escape their own emotional infernos."
         Steel got the bridge authorities to cooperate by pretending that he was filming a series on national monuments. Filming from dawn to dusk for the whole of 2004, the crew captured 23 of the24 suicides that year. He said that he wanted to make a serious contribution to the debate on mental illness and could not have done it without showing their deaths (although he did not tell his interviewees this). "To me, the most disturbing footage is not the film of people jumping. It is watching the people who walk by, when someone is standing on the ledge, and do nothing."
         Sandra Hebron, artistic director of the festival, said: "I am comfortable with the idea that there will be films in the festival that will divide opinion. I want people to talk about what they have seen. That's what I want more than anythging else."
                              The TIMES Oct 21 2006

A GIRL aged eight hanged herself after watching a suicide scene in a cult film.
          Kyesha Freeman made a noose from her pyjamas. She was revived by paramedics, but died four days later. Police found DVDs and videos - in her room in Selly Oak, Birmingham
          There was also the 15-rated Girl, Interrupted, starring Angelina Jolie.
          Police believe Kyesha saw the movie, set in a psychiatric hospital, and may have tried to copy a scene in which a patient hangs herself.
          Coroner Aidan Cotter said: "An eight-year-old could not intend to take her own life. She may have been imitating something"    Verdict: Accident.               
                                                            The Sun

If you are victim of suicide contagion, please seek some form of assistance. Bereavement organisations should be able to put you in touch with others for mutual support.