By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
I was reading a tragic news story about an teenage American girl who committed suicide by following instructions that she found on a suicide promotion website.
This tragic story reminded me of an article that I wrote in April 2008 titled: Suicide Promotion more common than Prevention in web searches that concerned research published in the British Medical Journal indicating that there were more websites promoting suicide than preventing suicide.
The author of the report stated:
“Overall, the searches uncovered 240 unique sites about suicide, just under half of which provided information about how to commit suicide. Nearly one-fifth of the hits as well as the top three most frequently occurring sites were for pages that promoted suicide. Only 13% of the sites were dedicated to suicide prevention and support, and only 12% actively discouraged suicide. Most of the sites -- even some of those dedicated to suicide prevention -- provided information on methods of suicide.”
According to the article statistics show that:
Worldwide, about one million people die from suicide every year. It is a leading cause of death in teens and young adults.
Most people who commit suicide are suffering from a mental illness, such as depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.
I decided to do my own research to find out if suicide promotion websites were still common. What I found out from my google search was sadly shocking.
The first site that came up was the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which may have been based on paid google ads. The next internet links were recent news articles.
The second highest ranked site was an insidious suicide promotion website that combined suicide prevention information with information about how to commit suicide, suicide methods with instructions and links.
The site also promoted and linked to euthanasia and assisted suicide lobby groups and leaders.
This site was designed to lead people who are seeking information about suicide prevention to information and instructions promoting suicide. This dangerous and deceptive website was only one of many suicide promotion websites that came up in my search.The scourge of suicide promotion websites not only continues, but it shows that there is a clear connection between groups and individuals who promote suicide with the groups and individuals who lobby for the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide.
People who are seeking suicide are usually depressed and vulnerable. They need protection from suicide predators and internet suicide sites that
In 2008, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) urged Canada's federal government to update laws protecting people from assisted suicide by adding language that would make it a crime to aid, encourage and counsel suicide via the internet in a similar manner as laws that protect people from child pornography. Vulnerable people need laws to protect them.
If you need support or just want to talk to someone, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636