Suicide Prevention

Emma Suppes, InDepth Section Editor

Suicide and mental health is something that has become more and more prevalent in society. The stigma against mental health is lessening every year as more people, especially teens and young adults, open up about their illnesses and share their stories. This movement can be contributed to the growth of social media as it is very easy for people to share their stories online and find other people who are going through the same struggles that they are. This has tremendously helped spread awareness about mental illness and advocation for suicide prevention, especially in schools where many have created special programs and lifelines for teens who may be struggling. 

While social media has done a lot of good in terms of helping spread awareness and suicide prevention, it has also created an entirely new stigma around suicide. With the mass exposure mental health awareness has received in such a short amount of time it has many people romanticizing the idea of suicide and mental illness. Along with that, due to mental illness has become less taboo young people have begun to self diagnose themselves because the culture of romanticized mental illness has led them to believe that having mental health issues is “cool” or “quirky” when in reality those who really do deal with it are suffering and are being invalidated by such people. 

Media has also played a large role in romanticizing suicide with television shows like Thirteen Reasons Why which makes suicide seem like a dramatic statement rather than a tragedy that affects many people. This romanticization of suicide and mental illness is very harmful to many people, especially young and impressionable teens. In order to fix this, it is important for media to portray mental illness and suicide as what it is instead of making it seem like something that is cute. Not only will this help in avoiding misinformation and the romanticization of suicide but it will also help those who actually go through mental illness and suicidal thoughts to feel less alone and more inclined to seek help knowing that other people know exactly what they’re going through.