Can Suicide Be Contagious?!


If someone you know commits suicide, you may be more likely to contemplate it yourself. | Source: ShutterStock

Suicide is a really scary thing–and now it’s about to get even scarier, because teen suicide may be almost contagious. Seriously.

Studies show that teens who experience the suicide of a friend or classmate at school are a lot more likely to attempt suicide themselves–or to at least consider it. This is horrifying and really, really sad.

When someone close to you commits suicide and it makes you contemplate suicide yourself, experts call it a “suicide contagion.” Apparently it’s strongest among younger teens, but the contagion can last two to three years after the incident occurs.

Here’s what’s bad, too: Whether or not you know the person at school who committed suicide personally, it can still really affect you. By the numbers, in terms of teens who have contemplated or attempted their own suicides: 12 to 13-year-olds were five times more likely to have suicidal thoughts after exposure to a school friend’s suicide (15 percent) than those who had had no exposure to suicide (three percent); 7.5 percent attempted suicide after a friend’s suicide compared with 1.7 percent who had no exposure to suicide before.

Those are some pretty scary statistics. If you’ve ever contemplated suicide–or if you know someone who has–it does get better if you get help. If you think someone you know is contemplating suicide, or if you are, you can find resources here or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 to help yourself or someone you love. Prevent suicide and the suicide contagion. Don’t wait.

Have you ever contemplated suicide? Have you ever known someone who committed or attempted suicide? Did it make you think more about suicide? Tell us in the comments!

Depression may be contagious too. Bummer!

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  • Angel

    My daddy killed himself April 9th this year. I’ve always been fine. But now I want to go just like him.

  • Lily

    When I was in 7th grade at my good friends sleep over in her yard- we were the only ones awake and we got a call. My best guy friend, he told me where his mom would find the body… the next morning we got a call, his mom. Found him hanging in his room.. it was our fault. I lost 2 of my best friends commited suicide the following months.. its something you will never get over, you will blame yourself. I tried and failed 8times this year to commit suicide. Its the easy way out, all I have to say is someone cares. May not be your parents, or anyone you can talk to.. but please. Your not alone- if it means anything, I’m here to listen 🙂 someone will always care <3
    Facebook me: Lily Walter-Jenkins (Izzy)

    • Valen

      I admire you for being so strong!

  • Kate

    I can definitely attest to it being contagious. I used to be best friends with a person who would talk to me all the time about his suicidal thoughts and depression. It was the only time in my life that I have ever thought of cutting myself just “to know how it felt.” I never went through with it, and am so happy I didn’t!