Suicide and Mental Illness

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Suicide is the act of causing death upon yourself intentionally. It is a loss that many people find hard to understand. Trying to justify the suicide of a loved one can be overwhelming, which is this issue should be talked about more. Suicide is a critical public health problem, and as someone who has had her fair share of worries regarding suicide, I believe it is without a doubt it should be covered more in news and media. News and media shy away from speaking about suicide because of this fear that it would bring forth uncomfort. Talking about n issue such as suicide should not have that effect, in fact it should be encouraged to discuss it. Although it may seem through the eyes of news and media that covering suicide would lead to repetition, it has a rather longer list of positive consequences.

When it comes to tragedy, it is often found that talking about the event is a hard thing to do. Eventually you open up and discuss your loss with those you care about. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the tragedy of suicide. People are unaware of how big an issue suicide is because there is seldom media coverage. This needs to be changed because media coverage can help so many people by allowing a discussion to begin. According to Will We End the Silence? by Petula Dvorak, other causes like cancer, drunk driving and heart disease are advocated for constantly. There are pink ribbons, posters, billboards, even cute heart healthy mascots, but "the 10th-leading cause of death for Americans – the No. 2 killers of teens..." is infrequently discussed. I am in no way implying that the other issues aren't as important, but suicide is a killer as well but it's hard to find the media publicly advocating for awareness. According to a chart from the CDC that compared suicide deaths in 2000 and 2016, it showed that deaths by suicide are only continuing to rise. In 2000, over 1.04 million people took their lives, and in a decade that rose to over 1.3 million. This matter needs more awareness. According to the same article by Petula Dvorak, a woman wrote on a forum for a suicide support group that "… her friends pulled away following her daughters' suicide." Numerous people have come forward saying that they felt alone in a time of need. After losing a loved one to suicide, it is often that people lose their friends as well. The real question is, why? Suicide carries around this stigma of shame. This shouldn't be the case. We should not be afraid to come forward or tell our stories about our struggles with these issues said an article from the New York Times. Suicide is a subject that needs to be confronted. More media coverage, advocating, and starting a discussion will lead to people getting help. Media coverage on suicide will make talking about it more approachable. It will allow people comfort talking about their loss, therefore providing help.

It is without a doubt that an increase in media coverage of suicide will lead to people getting help. It allows for the spread of helpful information like suicide prevention links, websites, and phone numbers. There are all kinds of suicide prevention resources out there. They're designed to refer readers to resources they can use to talk about their problems regarding suicide. Whether it's self-harming feelings or if they're worried about someone else. After the death of Anthony Bourdain, according to an article by Tom Kludt a CNN wire service journalist, "many news outlets -- including CNN, where Bourdain hosted a show -- directed readers and viewers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255)." Which resulted in a spike in calls. This is a good thing because broadcasting the helpline offered a service to contact in case someone needed help. There are websites, helplines and even crisis text lines. When I was battling depression and struggling with thoughts of suicide, I found it comforting that there was a SMS text service that offered a professional to talk to. After a student that attended my school committed suicide, students were given links to suicide prevention websites, phone numbers to call, and were given the opportunity to go to grief counseling. This action taken by the school was such a smart decision. They saw grief among the students, and extended help. Now when the media does this, it has a greater influence on more people. More people given the opportunity to seek help. Media coverage on suicide seems less of a risk and more like an opportunity to spread help.

Mental illness is almost always a factor in a person's decision to end their life. As stated in an article from the New York Times titled- Let's Talk About Suicide, In the US, nearly one in five adults have some form of mental illness… That's 43.8 million adults who are in a constant struggle with their mental health. With such a large amount of people facing this problem, it might come as a surprise that we don't talk about mental health as much as we should. It is common to see mental illness and suicide glamorized today, like in television and music, rather than addressed properly. … Five percent of the population suffer from depression every day and ...Everyone can benefit from learning about mental health. said the same article. Suicide is often thought of as this spontaneous idea but in reality, a person suffers for years before they commit. They suffer because they don't know they can get help. They're unaware of what is causing these feelings. If the news and media covered suicide more, it would also shed light on the kinds of mental illnesses that eventually lead to the act. Mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. Depression afflicts 10 to 15 percent of the population in the course of a year," says Dr. Michael Irwin of the Neuropsychiatric Institute at the University of California. Millions of people face these mental illnesses and then suicidal thoughts and a rise in awareness through more media coverage can help the lives of those millions.

Suicide is a large problem that is affecting the lives of people all over the world. Whether a person has lost a loved one because of suicide or if a person is afflicted with the thoughts of suicide, there are always ways to help. Those ways can be started through more and accurate news and media coverage. The spread of awareness for suicide provides positive outcomes. Outcomes like the start of a discussion, the sharing of suicide preventions resources, and awareness for mental illnesses that lead to suicide. News and media sources believe in only the negative, that more coverage of suicide will lead to people repeating the action, but neglecting to properly inform people can do more harm than good. More media coverage on this issue can save lives.

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Suicide and mental illness. (2019, Dec 12). Retrieved December 9, 2023 , from

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