Inside the Mind of a Suicide Jumper

"The accessibility of the method is likely the most significant factor [that influences a person choice], so that if someone has a firearm in the home there may be a greater likelihood of them using it," said SAMHSA's McKeon. "If they have medication that's prescribed to them they may be more likely to use that."

"So in general, for people who live in areas with bridges or tall buildings, [jumping] is going to be the accessible and lethal means for them," added McKeon.

Chosen Suicide Method Can Be Contagious

With the suicides of the model and the doctor occurring in such a short time span and in the same way, psychologist Gould told that it's quite possible the model's decision to jump was contagious.

"Suicide contagion or imitation or influence is really a phenomenon," said Gould. "There are a lot of vulnerable people and if they are really thinking about suicide they could start to identify with a method, and we could see a cluster."

"[The doctor] could think that the model definitely accomplished what she was trying to accomplish and then that method could be seen as an option for him, even if he hadn't readily thought about it before," said Gould, who said this sort of copycat syndrome isn't seen in people who are not already severely depressed or contemplating suicide, and usually only affects those who have already mapped out a plan for their death.

Glorification of places known for jumpers – the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, for one – also adds to the appeal of the method, according to Kaplin.

"Sometimes people are so miserable that when they hear about a suicide 'working,' it puts that certain method in their mind," said Kaplin. "[These people] were already suicidal but they hadn't necessarily committed to a way."

Kaplin added that most jumpers have already scouted out the place where they will jump from before actually jumping.

"My guess is that [Korshunova] had sat on that balcony many times before in despair," said Kaplin, who has not treated the model or the doctor. "It's a sort of private, silent suffering."

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