The internet and suicide pacts
South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Adamson Centre for Mental Health, St. Thomas’ Hospital, London, United Kingdom
Internet and Suicide. Hauppauge, New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2009, 452 pages.
The phenomenon of suicide pacts influenced by the Internet (cybersuicide pacts) emerged a few years ago. Although cybersuicide pacts are very rare, in view of the enormous publicity that such pacts generate, it would be useful for psychiatrists and other health professionals to be aware of important issues relevant to this topic. This chapter aims to provide a summary of the current state of knowledge on cybersuicide pacts with information gathered from both the academic literature and the mainstream media. It covers traditional suicide pacts initially and then looks at cybersuicide pacts specifically, highlighting the key differences between the two types of suicide pacts. Examples of cybersuicide pacts from around the world are given to practically illustrate this worrying phenomenon. The potential ways in which the Internet may influence suicide pacts are discussed. In addition, related issues such as legislative attempts made by governments to tackle this problem, and the potential impact of the quality of media reporting of incidents of cybersuicide pacts are also touched upon.