The Ripple Effect

Suicide isn’t a narrow issue that affects only the vulnerable and the damaged. A self-inflicted  death has many victims. It is a tear in the fabric of society. It is a sign that we, collectively, have in some way failed our fellows.

More practically, it has long been established that one youth suicide can lead to “copycat” behavior. Like a yawn in a crowded room, suicide is contagious. In 1897, Austrian professor Hans Gross, in his book Criminal Psychology, wrote: “There is the remarkable fact that suicides often hang themselves on trees which have already been used for that purpose.

And in jails it is frequently observed that after a long interval a series of suicides suddenly appear.” This is as true today as it was when it was written over a century ago. There is no more dangerous time period in the life of a family than the days immediately after one of its members takes his or her own life.  

Book excerpt from Quebec Suicide Prevention Handbook (2014), Éditions TNT

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