What is the impact of the media on the incidence of suicide?

In Central Queensland, Sunshine Coast, Wide Bay by PHN Communications

Clinicians are invited to attend a free presentation on the effects of of media with suicidal content in the past and present. You can download the invitation here.

Why does media portrayal of suicide matter?

Internationally, there is consistent evidence for the negative impact of detailed and graphic portrayals of suicide in terms of an increased risk of copycat suicides, especially among young vulnerable people.

Research has consistently shown that following the detailed portrayal of suicide in the media or in a film/TV series, the risk of suicide involving the same method increased from 81% to 175% in the weeks and months after the release.

However, the effects of suicide related content varies with individual vulnerability and type of media portrayal.

Within this context, particular concerns have been raised about the impact of the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why on copycat suicides due to similarities with past film/tv series that were linked to significant increases in suicide.

These concerns are further related to the potential continuous access to the series at global level and phenomena such as ‘binge or marathon watching’.

Adverse effects of the series examined to date include copycat suicides and increased internet searches on topics relating to engaging in suicidal behaviour, with major implications for suicide prevention.


The presentation will be delivered by Professor Ella Arensman, a Visiting Professor with the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention, Griffith University, Brisbane. Prof Arensman has been involved in research and prevention into suicide and self-harm for more than 30 years.

To view the presentation via video conferencing, you can contact the Australian Institute of Suicide  Research and Prevention via email aisrap@griffith.edu.au.