A copycat suicide is defined as an emulation of another suicide that the person attempting suicide knows about either from local knowledge or due to accounts or depictions of the original suicide on television and in other media.
The well-known suicide serves as a model, in the absence of protective factors, for the next suicide. This is referred to as suicide contagion. They occasionally spread through a school system, through a community, or in terms of a celebrity suicide wave, nationally. This is called a suicide cluster. Suicide clusters are caused by the social learning of suicide related behaviors, or "copycat suicides". Point clusters are clusters of suicides in both time and space, and have been linked to direct social learning from nearby individuals. Mass clusters are clusters of suicides in time but not space, and have been linked to the broadcasting of information concerning celebrity suicides via the mass media Examples of celebrities whose suicides have inspired suicide clusters include the Japanese musicians Yukiko Okada and Hide and Marilyn Monroe, whose death was followed by an increase of 200 more suicides than average for that August month .
Another famous case is the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire on December 17, 2010, an act that was a catalyst for Tunisian Revolution and sparked protests in several other Arab countries, including several men who emulated Bouazizi's act.
To prevent this type of suicide, it is customary in some countries for the media to discourage suicide reports except in special cases.