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In this pilot study the influences of the media on suicidal ideation and behaviour were investigated through interviews with patients who had recently engaged in an episode of self-harm. They were asked about the impact of individual media stories, how they had first learned about suicide and the role of the media in the formation of images related to self-harm. Twelve patients between the ages of 17 and 25 were interviewed using a semi-structured interview. Most of the patients reported being affected by a story presented in the media; four reported that a story had prompted them to self-harm. Some also reported beneficial effects of the media on self-harming behaviour, either in terms of preventing an act or encouraging help seeking. This study has shown that in-depth interviews using qualitative and quantitative methods can provide new information about influences of the media on suicidal behaviour.

Original publication




Journal article


Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy

Publication Date





189 - 198