Breaking the Silence: Talking about suicide prevention


As journalists, we’ve stayed silent for so long because we worried about the Werther Effect, more popularly known as the Copy Cat Effect. Suicide experts explain evidence suggests sensationalized attention or language associated with suicide could lead to more.

“By contrast when we tell stories of hope and recovery, when we tell stories about suicide prevention that those stories can actually decrease suicide rates, can actually make communities safer,” said Dwight Holton, the Lines for Life CEO. “That’s the Papageno effect.”

The Papageno Effect is named after a character in Mozart’s opera, “The Magic Flute.” Papageno is a lovesick character who thinks about suicide. But 3 friends uplift him and save him by reminding him there are better alternatives.

“That’s what the ‘Breaking the Silence’ week has been all about,” Holton said.  

Social connection is important. Friends are in the best position to save a life. 

There are resources available for anyone who needs help, like the Suicide Prevention Life Line. It’s a 24/7 crisis line that’s helped thousands of Oregonians get on the road to recovery.

Watch: Sen. Wyden talks about why Breaking the Silence holds personal meaning

Lines for Life: Call 800.273.8255 or text ‘273TALK’ to 839863
Oregon YouthLine: 877.968.8491 or text ‘teen2teen’ to 839863
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
OHA: Suicide Prevention

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