Google and suicides: What can we learn about the use of internet to prevent suicides?
This article studies the statistical relationship between the search propensity of suicide-related terms on Google and the number of suicides.
Suicide mortality data from all American states from January 2006 to November 2014 (n = 5372) and data on Google search intensity for the same period was collected.
Regression analysis with dynamic components was performed to determine the relationship between search intensity and the number of suicides.
First, this article finds a positive simultaneous correlation between search intensity and the number of suicides. The magnitude of this relationship has grown from 2006 to 2014 suggesting an increased reliance on the internet for suicide-related information. Second, search propensity is a significant predictor for the number of suicides for youth and for males.
Suicide prevention websites should therefore be designed knowing that at-risk individuals in both groups are probably more prone to look for suicide-related information online.