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Case study of posts before and after a suicide on a Swedish internet forum.

Westerlund M, Hadlaczky G, Wasserman D - Br J Psychiatry (2015)

Bottom Line: Using a case report, our aim was to examine the responses, attitudes and beliefs that were communicated on a forum before, during and after a suicide act.We undertook two related analyses: a qualitative investigation of the messages that were posted before the suicide and a combined qualitative-quantitative analysis of the messages posted during and after the suicide.It is of great importance to increase awareness of suicide signals and understanding about how to respond to individuals who communicate suicide intentions on different forums on the internet.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Michael Westerlund, PhD, National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention of Mental Ill-Health (NASP), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm and Department of Media Studies, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Gergö Hadlaczky, PhD, and Danuta Wasserman, MD, PhD, National Centre for Suicide Reserach and Prevention of Mental Ill-Health (NASP), Karolinska Instituetet, Stockholm, Sweden michael.westerlund@ims.su.se.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Number of posts in the communication thread over time.TS, Thread starter.
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Figure 1: Number of posts in the communication thread over time.TS, Thread starter.

Mentions: The material in the present case study consists of the 638 messages that were posted in the thread ‘Hanging’ on the Swedish internet forum Flashback1 on 11 October 2010, from 11.51 to 17.26 h, when the moderator closed the thread (Fig. 1, the thread was reopened in the afternoon the next day and another 3400 posts were written before it was finally closed down). Note that we considered it important for ethical reasons not to conduct or publish this study close in time to the suicide event (further details of ethical considerations are given in an online supplement to this paper). The case study includes two related analyses, a qualitative investigation of the messages that were posted before the TS's suicide and a combined qualitative–quantitative analysis of the messages posted during and after the suicide. Flashback (www.flashback.org) is a rather controversial internet discussion forum, with a history of lawsuits, furious debates and closures; established on the internet in 1995, it is one of the most popular Swedish websites with more than 900 000 members and over 50 million posts over the years. Its determined assertion of freedom of speech has also made it a home for information and discussions about highly subversive issues, such as extreme political views, information on illegal drugs, hacking, illegal downloading etc. The majority of visitors (90.4%) are located in Sweden and the forum has a small over-representation of male members.24 Practically all posts on the forum are written in Swedish. In this article the quoted examples from the thread have been translated from Swedish to English by the authors. The aim was that the translation should be as close as possible to the participants' language use. The thread ‘Hanging’ was started under the (static) subject headline/heading ‘Science and humanities’, with the subheadlines ‘Psychology and psychiatry’ and ‘Mental problems’.1 Because of the anonymous nature of the forum, it is difficult to determine specific characteristics of participants engaging in different threads. It is perhaps possible to assume that those who sought out this specific thread had a particular interest in issues related to mental ill health, possibly in parallel with mental problems on their own.


Case study of posts before and after a suicide on a Swedish internet forum.

Westerlund M, Hadlaczky G, Wasserman D - Br J Psychiatry (2015)

Number of posts in the communication thread over time.TS, Thread starter.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4664854&req=5

Figure 1: Number of posts in the communication thread over time.TS, Thread starter.
Mentions: The material in the present case study consists of the 638 messages that were posted in the thread ‘Hanging’ on the Swedish internet forum Flashback1 on 11 October 2010, from 11.51 to 17.26 h, when the moderator closed the thread (Fig. 1, the thread was reopened in the afternoon the next day and another 3400 posts were written before it was finally closed down). Note that we considered it important for ethical reasons not to conduct or publish this study close in time to the suicide event (further details of ethical considerations are given in an online supplement to this paper). The case study includes two related analyses, a qualitative investigation of the messages that were posted before the TS's suicide and a combined qualitative–quantitative analysis of the messages posted during and after the suicide. Flashback (www.flashback.org) is a rather controversial internet discussion forum, with a history of lawsuits, furious debates and closures; established on the internet in 1995, it is one of the most popular Swedish websites with more than 900 000 members and over 50 million posts over the years. Its determined assertion of freedom of speech has also made it a home for information and discussions about highly subversive issues, such as extreme political views, information on illegal drugs, hacking, illegal downloading etc. The majority of visitors (90.4%) are located in Sweden and the forum has a small over-representation of male members.24 Practically all posts on the forum are written in Swedish. In this article the quoted examples from the thread have been translated from Swedish to English by the authors. The aim was that the translation should be as close as possible to the participants' language use. The thread ‘Hanging’ was started under the (static) subject headline/heading ‘Science and humanities’, with the subheadlines ‘Psychology and psychiatry’ and ‘Mental problems’.1 Because of the anonymous nature of the forum, it is difficult to determine specific characteristics of participants engaging in different threads. It is perhaps possible to assume that those who sought out this specific thread had a particular interest in issues related to mental ill health, possibly in parallel with mental problems on their own.

Bottom Line: Using a case report, our aim was to examine the responses, attitudes and beliefs that were communicated on a forum before, during and after a suicide act.We undertook two related analyses: a qualitative investigation of the messages that were posted before the suicide and a combined qualitative-quantitative analysis of the messages posted during and after the suicide.It is of great importance to increase awareness of suicide signals and understanding about how to respond to individuals who communicate suicide intentions on different forums on the internet.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Michael Westerlund, PhD, National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention of Mental Ill-Health (NASP), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm and Department of Media Studies, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Gergö Hadlaczky, PhD, and Danuta Wasserman, MD, PhD, National Centre for Suicide Reserach and Prevention of Mental Ill-Health (NASP), Karolinska Instituetet, Stockholm, Sweden michael.westerlund@ims.su.se.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus