UN DRR and Public Health England criteria match Debian Suicide Cluster

UN DRR has a page about mass suicides. They provide a definition for the term suicide cluster that they have copied from a publication by Public Health England (PHE). Here is the definition:

A suicide cluster usually includes three or more deaths; however, two suicides occurring in a specific community or setting (for example a school) in a short time period should also be taken very seriously in terms of possible links and impacts (even if the deaths are apparently unconnected), particularly in the case of young people (PHE, 2019).

After my blog yesterday, banter about suicide clusters started to appear on social media and chat channels. Yet public health authorities confirm it is a genuine phenomena. You only need a small number of victims, 3 deaths, to firmly say that Debian had a suicide cluster under the criteria accepted by Public Health England and the UN DRR.

Looking at the Debian crisis, we can see that there are some confirmed cases: Ian Murdock, the Debian founder. Frans Pop, who chose the Debian Day anniversary for suicide. These people both had key roles in Debian's evolution so their choices have a bigger impact on contagion.

We have various deaths in countries like Germany and Switzerland where suicides are routinely covered up. Out of all these, the case of unexpectedly falling off a roof appears most likely to be part of a cluster.

In two cases, we simply don't know because there is no official report. The case from Germany in 2008 and the case from Switzerland in 2011, just eight months after the Debian Day Volunteer Suicide.

In one case, the volunteer has vanished.

As a contagion factor, we have a case in the UK where the volunteer publicly wrote about mental illness and suicide ideation in 2015 but subsequently died in an accident in 2019. While we accept their death was not a suicide, their writing about suicide may have been a contagion factor in a community where other suicides transpired.

Those deaths are all in the Debian community and it feels like at least three of them, maybe four or five of them, could all be suicide.

We have at least two others on the fringe of the Debian community. There was Richard Rothwell in the UK in 2009 (confirmed suicide) and there was an FSFE volunteer death in Switzerland in August 2016 (medical report concealed by privacy regulations).

Some of these deaths may be genuine accidents. We don't know. Nonetheless, I feel that at some point we crossed the threshold set by the experts at Public Health England.

Please see my chronological history of how the Debian harassment and abuse culture evolved.