I have officially had enough. Posts, quotes, lyrics, and stories involving suicide are completely taking over the media. We all wonder why this devastating problem is such a huge part of our culture and why it must effect the lives of so many people. Yet we spend so much time dwelling on it and flashing it in front of the faces of the children and teens in our society and expecting it not to effect them.
After Robin Williams killed himself in 2014, his death was the third most talked about topic in America for that entire year, and the fourth in the world. We display videos and stories about him. Everyone watches his movies and gives him all of this adoring attention that would not have happened if he had not caused it by killing himself. The message this sends is simple: If you kill yourself, everyone will talk about how much they love and miss you and take the time to value you more than they already do. Statistics actually prove this statement to be true. After Robin Williams' suicide, and the romanticizing of it, suicide rates spiked. This happens in response to other celebrity suicides as well, because the entire nation's attention is drawn to the glory suicide brings you. Yet we continue to bombard people with it. By doing this we romanticize suicide to the point that people see it as a way to make people notice what they were going through, or make someone sorry for hurting them. People begin to wonder if maybe suicide is the best option for them. For them. Never mind the people who love them and choose to be a part of their lives, never mind the people who have given them time and energy and love. It has got to a point where all that matters is how it effects that one person who will not have to live with the consequences. That is nothing to be romanticized. It is not remotely okay. There is not a way you could possibly hurt a loved more, yet we bring so much glory to the people who do it.
The National Institution of Health has something to say about this as well. I have posted the link below in case you would like to read the whole report for yourself. These are two quotes from this report that show that research done by professionals draws the conclusion that the romanticism of suicide by media is raising suicide rates. "Evidence for the influence of media on suicidal behavior has been shown for newspaper and television reports of actual suicides, film and television portrayals of suicides, and suicide in literature." The more attention we keep drawing to suicide, the more stories dwelling on it, the more suicide rates rise. "The impact of the media on suicidal behavior seems to be most likely when a method of suicide is specified—especially when presented in detail—when the story is reported or portrayed dramatically and prominently—for example with photographs of the deceased or large headlines—and when suicides of celebrities are reported." Why do we continue to spend our time doing exactly this? Health professionals prove that smoking is bad for us and rates go down, but something as simple as not romanticizing dark, morbid events seems impossible to change.