Dokkyo Medical University School of Medicine, Tochigi, Japan
Internet and Suicide. Hauppauge, New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2009, 452 pages.
The internet is a frequently used source of information and a rapid method of communication. To lessen the suicide rate in developed countries, recent trends in internet-related suicides should be examined and effective preventive measures should be considered. People express their negative feelings and share them with like-minded people on the internet. Recently, the internet has also become a tool used by suicidal individuals to find death companions—suicide-related websites are claimed to have facilitated suicide pacts among strangers who have met and then planned their suicides on the internet. Charcoal burning is commonly used in suicide pacts, and information on this method seems to have spread via suicide-related websites. In addition, there are concerns about drugs and illegal substances that can be bought obtained via the internet. Regulation of websites that promote suicide is perhaps the most effective means of suicide prevention. In addition to the restriction of suicide-related websites, restricting access to sedative and other toxic substances is also important. In Japan, following the establishment of a voluntary internet guideline, 43 persons with suicidal intentions were saved in 2006. Although the regulation was effective, psychological health problems of individuals with suicidal thoughts, as well as internet dependency in young people, should be investigated. Then, comprehensive preventive measures should be promoted in the future.