The advantages and the disadvantages of the Internet in preventing suicide
County Hospital, Kecskemét, Hungary
Internet and Suicide. Hauppauge, New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2009, 452 pages.
The author examines the contents and applicability of results of Internet searches by using the keywords ’öngyilkosság’ (suicide) and ’öngyilkosság megelozése’ (suicide prevention) in Hungary. In spite of some difficulties and many controversial problems, such as fearful, harmful and faked messages posted on many websites, the Internet can be a useful tool in combating suicide. It is a legitimate and efficiant mean of providing psychological help and it can be exploited to provide significant assistance to people in severe distress who contemplate suicide, and the complex system usually functions quite efficiently. The evaluation of the Internet in the causes and prevention of suicide is quite controversial similarly to that of many other means of the media. But most of this disadvantages reside in the inapposite usage, similarly to all new scientific discoveries. The discovery of the stone axe was not only useful in the fight against the beasts in the prehistoric age, but was a weapon against other people. The discovery of the first knife was suitable onto the facilitation of daily work but onto the extinction of the man’s own life. The discovery of steam engine was not only useful for the traffic but it was a new mean of comitting suicide. The discovery of nuclear energy led to creation not only nuclear power plant but nuclear weapon as well. We may not say that the discovery of knife, the discovery of steam engine or the discovery of nuclear power are harmful for the humanity after all. The professional revision and social control of contents of the internet is still unresolved. Ariadne’s thread is missing from the labyrinth of the enormous vast and chaotic mass which can be hit on the internet. It is not possible to establish order of importance between the different web sites. Its largest benefit is its largest disadvantage since there is too much information in one. Some web sites contain misleading information, there is not supervision, which would call the attention for these mistakes, and would correct the mistakes. Among the examined web sites, there were none where the motive system of a reasonable life would be found, although this would be very important in prevention. There was neither national program nor a county program, nor the national or county commissions’ web sites, dealing with the prevention, nor workgroups’ sites, psychiatric Professional Colleges and Societies’ opinion in connection with prevention. We could not find material supporting high risk groups. From among the advantages the free and fast spread of immeasurable amount of information increase the body of knowledge of users and may be exceptionally useful for them. 50% (suicide prevention) or 27% (suicide) of the examined web sites concerned were useful in terms of the prevention. 11% (suicide prevention) or 25% (suicide) of sites contained information without scientific basis or harmful, dangerous information. Those Forums, Suicide-sites, Encyclopaedias and other sites, which do not only imply useful information, but unscientific false information are dangerous and harmful ones. We consider reports and results of prevention programs based on individual initiations especially valuable that can be the basis of national and the regional programs to decrease the number of suicide – the small monsters of our civilization.