June 5, 2015 | The Two Effects | Alexa Moody
On a previous blog, I took the time to outline what the Werther effect was. In essence, the "Werther Effect" is the official-sounding name for "Copycat Suicides". The Werther effect was coined around the late 1700's when Johann Wolfgang von Goethe published a book titled The Sorrows of Young Werther. In this particular work (spoiler alert!) the main character, Werther, finds himself in a love triangle, and he believes the only way out is by taking his life. The Sorrows of Young Werther was Goethe's first major success, however this success lead to many copycat suicides as fans of his work found that they could connect in some way with Werther, thus deciding to take their own lives as well, many in the same manner outlined in the book.
This phenomenon brought to light the idea of copycat suicides (an emulation of another suicide that the person attempting suicide knows about either from local knowledge or due to accounts or depictions of the original suicide on television and in other media) and suicide contagion (the process whereby one suicide or suicidal act within a school, community, or geographic area increases the likelihood that others will attempt or complete suicide.) [...]
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