Social networks and media coverage are blamed for series of teenage suicides in Russia

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 01 May 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3110
  1. Harriet Vickers
  1. 1BMJ

Social media sites where teenagers discuss how to kill themselves and irresponsible reporting of deaths in the media have been blamed by Russia’s president, Dmitri Medvedev, for the country’s high rate of teenage suicides, after a series of well publicised deaths. He has called for society to treat the issue “extremely gently.”

A United Nations Children’s Fund report published at the end of last year said that Russia has the third highest rate of youth suicide in the world, at 22 per 100 000 15 to 19 year olds in 2009, just behind other former Soviet republics Kazakhstan and Belarus. In 2009 just over 1700 adolescents aged 15 to 19 killed themselves.

The Russian Federal State Statistics Service claims that the number of suicides committed by people aged under 14 years fell to 240 in 2010, less than half the 500 recorded in 2000, yet …

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