Year: 2020 Source: BMJ. (2020). 368, m575. SIEC No: 20200244

Objective To examine the association between reporting on suicides, especially deaths of celebrities by suicide, and subsequent suicides in the general population.
Design Systematic review and meta-analysis.
Data sources PubMed/Medline, PsychInfo, Scopus, Web of Science, Embase, and Google Scholar, searched up to September 2019.
Review methods Studies were included if they compared at least one time point before and one time point after media reports on suicide; follow-up was two months or less; the outcome was death by suicide; and the media reports were about non-fictional suicides. Data from studies adopting an interrupted time series design, or single or multiple arm before and after comparisons, were reviewed.
Results 31 studies were identified and analysed, and 20 studies at moderate risk of bias were included in the main analyses. The risk of suicide increased by 13% in the period after the media reported a death of a celebrity by suicide (rate ratio 1.13, 95% confidence interval 1.08 to 1.18; 14 studies; median follow-up 28 days, range 7-60 days). When the suicide method used by the celebrity was reported, there was an associated 30% increase in deaths by the same method (rate ratio 1.30, 95% confidence interval 1.18 to 1.44; 11 studies; median follow-up 28 days, range 14-60 days). For general reporting of suicide, the rate ratio was 1.002 (0.997 to 1.008; five studies; median follow-up 1 day, range 1-8 days) for a one article increase in the number of reports on suicide. Heterogeneity was large and partially explained by celebrity and methodological factors. Enhanced funnel plots suggested some publication bias in the literature.