An analysis of crisis helpline call data following media reports of suicide related deaths

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There is evidence stating that explicit media reporting of suicide deaths, such as high profile celebrity suicides, can elicit “copy-cat” suicides, within the immediate time period afterwards. In parallel, there is also evidence to suggest that this could also lead to a rise in help-seeking behaviour. People who are already feeling suicidal or in need of emotional support may be prompted to take constructive action and engage in help-seeking behaviour by calling a crisis helpline. This work presents an investigation into the impact of the media reporting of high profile celebrity suicides and the impact of media reporting of localised suicide events (i.e. murder suicides) on a crisis helpline service. Anonymised call data records provided by Samaritans Ireland (a national crisis helpline) are subjected to data analytic and statistical methods to explore the impact of the media reporting of suicides on caller behaviour. Intervention analysis, outlier analysis and change-point detection analysis will be used to evaluate changes in caller behaviour in the days after the suicide death(s), which would coincide with press/media releases on the suicide deaths. Three cases will be analysed which includes a celebrity suicide and a localised murder-suicide; findings of which will be compared and contrasted. This work will discuss the relationship between the media reporting of suicides by discussing the potential explanations for changes in caller behaviour and its impact on crisis helplines, and how this can inform the policy and practice of responsible media reporting
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2 Jun 2021
EventInstitute of Mental Health Sciences Conference: Mental Health Across the Life-course - Online
Duration: 2 Jun 20212 Jun 2021


ConferenceInstitute of Mental Health Sciences Conference
Abbreviated titleIMHS


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