Among the findings in Hedström's study was that men had an increased likelihood of suicide if someone at their work had committed suicide. The same did not apply to women.
"My guess is simply that work and work-based relationships are more important for men than for women, and that that also means that men are more influenced by what goes on at work than what women are."
The much larger risk for "contracting" suicide is biological, said Rudd. Mental illnesses do have genetic components that can run in families. If one suffering family member commits suicide, others with the same illness are that much more stressed and vulnerable.
In Hedström's study this showed up especially for men, who when exposed to suicides in their families had a more than eight-fold likelihood of committing suicide themselves.
That does not mean, however, that anyone is fated by their genes to commit suicide. What it does mean is that mental illness is often going undiagnosed and untreated, Rudd said.
It's treatment, that can fight the "contagion" of suicide, said Rudd. What's missing from the media message is the positive story, Rudd said. For instance, 90 percent of people who attempt suicide do get good treatment and never attempt it again, he said.