The extensive media coverage of the suicide of a male TV celebrity in 2022 resulted in copycat cases of people taking their own lives for two to three weeks following the man's death, according to an analysis included in the latest government white paper on suicides.

The annual report, compiled by the health ministry and adopted by the Cabinet on Friday, calls for media to ensure their coverage is in line with the World Health Organization’s suicide reporting guidelines.

Called the "Werther effect" after a 1774 novel by Johann Wolfgang Goethe, the phenomenon of highly publicized suicides fueling copycat self-killings has been well documented. The ministry found that, following the reported death of the TV personality in 2022, the number of excess suicides — the number of deaths by suicide during a particular period compared to what is expected under normal conditions — spiked for two or three weeks.