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Increase in suicides the months after the death of Robin Williams in the US

Fink, David S.; Santaella Tenorio, Julian; Keyes, Katherine M.

Investigating suicides following the death of Robin Williams, a beloved actor and comedian, on August 11th, 2014, we used time-series analysis to estimate the expected number of suicides during the months following Williams’ death. Monthly suicide count data in the US (1999–2015) were from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wide-ranging ONline Data for Epidemiologic Research (CDC WONDER). Expected suicides were calculated using a seasonal autoregressive integrated moving averages model to account for both the seasonal patterns and autoregression. Time-series models indicated that we would expect 16,849 suicides from August to December 2014; however, we observed 18,690 suicides in that period, suggesting an excess of 1,841 cases (9.85% increase). Although excess suicides were observed across gender and age groups, males and persons aged 30–44 had the greatest increase in excess suicide events. This study documents associations between Robin Williams’ death and suicide deaths in the population thereafter.

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Epidemiology
Published Here
March 26, 2018
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