Published: 28-07-2022 16:10 | Updated: 28-07-2022 16:10

Research review about suicide communication on digital platforms

The Swedish Media Council (Statens medieråd) in collaboration with NASP has produced a research review about suicide, internet-based communication about suicide and how suicidal individuals can be identified online.

In response to the government mandate, led by the Public Health Agency of Sweden and the National Board of Health and Welfare, to provide documentation for a future national strategy in the area of mental health and suicide prevention the Swedish Media Council, together with NASP, has produced Suicide communication on digital platforms: A research review (authored by: Michael Westerlund and Hanna Nilsson). The purpose of the research review is to describe and exemplify different types of suicide-related content and communication on digital platforms, with an emphasis on young people's Internet use.

Four questions are dealt with in the research review:

  • What risks/possibilities are associated with suicide related internet use?
  • How to identify warning signals on the internet?
  • Are there any ongoing or implemented activities within the area and how can they be developed?
  • Are there areas or people (target groups who are particularly vulnerable) that should be prioritized in a future national strategy in the area of mental health and suicide prevention, and how should these people be approached?

The internet has been highlighted as the most central platform for suicide communication, often both from a perspective of its potential to strengthen and create new opportunities for suicide preventive activities but also that communication poses a potential threat by, for example, triggering, normalizing, trivializing, and encouraging suicidal acts. Since the mid-1990s, fears have been discussed linked to internet-based communication and suicide, especially with a focus on young people.

This research review has been produced as one of several documents for the Swedish Media Council's individual analysis, which will be finalized to the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs on 1 September 2023.

Read the summary of the research review