A song of hopeBMJ 2021; 375 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n2964 (Published 13 December 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;375:n2964
Association of Logic’s hip hop song “1-800-273-8255” with Lifeline calls and suicides in the United States
- Alexandra Pitman, associate professor in psychiatry and honorary consultant psychiatrist
- UCL Division of Psychiatry, London, UK
- Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
Some readers may feel that the Christmas edition of The BMJ, known for its quirkier and sometimes humorous content, is not the appropriate setting for a research paper evaluating a suicide prevention intervention.1 Yet it is the characteristically creative content of this edition that makes it the perfect vehicle for conveying the paper’s key message: that major media coverage of a creative intervention was associated with an increase in calls to a suicide prevention helpline and a reduction in population suicides. How this reduction was achieved, through a collaboration between a US hip hop artist and a national suicide prevention support helpline, is instructive to other countries seeking to reduce incidence of suicide in groups that are hard to reach with traditional messaging.
Niederkrotenthaler and colleagues were investigating the Papageno effect—the theory that media reports of someone overcoming a suicidal crisis are protective against suicide,2 referencing the character Papageno in Mozart’s 1791 opera The Magic Flute …
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