April 4, 2013 | Werther Effect
About a year or two ago I made a post about something called the Werther effect, and I feel its a good time to bring it up again.
The Werther Effect is named after a novel written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. This novel outlined the journeys of a young man who eventually died by suicide. The great success of this novel caused a huge cultural impact, affecting clothing style, turning Goethe into an overnight celebrity, and also causing a wave of suicides inspired by the book. It is the first known example of the copycat suicides phenomenon.
The Werther effect is, in essence, another name for copycat suicides, so I may use both terms interchangeably throughout this post. This is the primal reason behind people being afraid to talk about suicide. There is a very thin line between the need to talk openly about mental health and suicide and glamorizing suicide to initiate another wave of copycats. If suicide is not discussed with caution and tact, then it is better to not discuss it at all.
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