Analysis of medial suicide coverage

Analysis of medial suicide coverage

Affiliation: TU Darmstadt

Associated since: May 2018

CEDIFOR Projektbeteiligte



Every year, more than 10,000 people die from suicide in Germany – more than from traffic accidents, HIV and drugs combined (Federal Statistical Office, 2018). The number of suicides worldwide is estimated at more than 800,000, with suicides even being the second leading cause of death among people under 30. Risk factors for suicides include mental disorders such as depression, serious physical illnesses such as cancer, but also personal, social, cultural and situational factors.

Effective measures to prevent suicides are of enormous health policy importance in Germany and most other societies in the world. The goal of responsible media coverage of suicides is now playing a central role in many national and international prevention concepts. It is widely known that the way media reports on suicides can affect the development of suicide numbers. The existence of the so-called “Werther effect” – an increase in the number of suicides after (certain) media reports on suicides – is regarded internationally as largely assured, but has not been analysed yet to a greater extent.

In this project, automated procedures for the detection, analysis and prediction of the potential dangers of medial suicide reporting are to be developed and tested. In a second step, these methods will be used for the first time to identify and investigate medial suicide reporting over a longer period of time and on a broad media basis. In the long term, this projects can lead to improvements of effective suicidal prevention with the involvement of journalistic media