CPRI discourages sharing of suicide notes and images: “Tendency has potential to fuel more suicide cases”

Connect Plus Resource Institute (CPRI) has made an impassioned appeal to the public and online media platforms, pleading with them to desist from sharing suicide notes and images, saying the tendency has potential to cause more harm, including copycat suicide.

In a statement shared with Nyasa Times, the Institute further states that the tendency is counterproductive to efforts aimed at preventing the prevalence of suicide in the country, as it encourages the spirit of silence and a barrier to help seeking behaviour due to the related stigma and stigmatization of the suicide victims and their families.

Mwafulirwa–Don’t share suicide notes –Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

CPRI is a local social enterprise organization dedicated to provide mental health and wellness services and solutions in Malawi.

CPRI Chief Executive Officer Dennis Mwafulirwa says they are deeply concerned with the continued tendency by some pockets of the general public, and in some instances some online media platforms, to share suicide images, suicide notes and/or suicide details including method used during a suicide or suicide attempt.

“Regardless of our own beliefs on suicide, we need to treat the victims of suicide and their families with dignity and respect. Bear in mind that suicide is a complex public health issue, and there is no one single explanation as to why someone ends up taking their own life. It is therefore, unhelpful to simplify the cause of an individual’s suicide or judge their action thereto,” says Mwafulirwa in the statement.

He says Malawians need to immediately delete and NOT share any such content whenever it comes their way, and let the sender know the impact of sharing such content.

Mwafulirwa has also pleaded with group administrators on various social media platforms to exercise restraint, and promote safe and healthy sharing of information as the groups exercise their freedom of speech and press.

“We believe the group administrators and their membership have a responsibility to make the group platforms safe for everyone. And if you think that you or someone else is at a risk of suicide or needs to talk to someone, reach out to them to provide them support, or reach out for help immediately, call toll free lines Emergency services 118, Chipatala Cha Pa Foni 929, YONECO Helplines 116 or 5600, CPRI call or text 0996225671 or 0998178150 and St. John of God on 0992460254,” he advises.

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