Generally, all suicide prevention advocates want to normalize the subject of suicide so that people who are feeling suicidal or have lost a loved one to suicide feel safe talking about it with others. Mass media and entertainment (like television shows and movies) can be conversation starters, with one exception: Suicide prevention organizations want the media to address the topic of suicide in a way that promotes suicide prevention. This is why so many suicide prevention organizations have a problem with Netflix’s show 13 Reasons Why.
We all empathize with our friends and family, when they are going through a rough time. All we want to do is help take their pain away—and there are a variety of paths we can take to help them with that pain. For loved ones struggling with their mental health, there are also multiple ways to try and alleviate that pain, but suicide should never be one that is encouraged because no matter how bad life can seem, there are always better routes to take.
“You have to treat the root of the problem, and not just operate on the symptoms,” explained Ebbem, a Norwegian medical student and my seatmate on a recent flight from Oslo to Amsterdam. “When I did my psychiatric rotations in northern Norway, I would ask people ‘How are you today?’ and they would talk for great lengths and detail about everything that was bothering them. It was as if no one had ever asked them ‘How are you today?’ It was clear they had a lot to get off their chest. It helped that I was an outsider who they had never met and had no long-term presence in their community.”
More adolescents than ever are struggling with their mental health. While not a shock, this reality comes with concerns: How do we help adolescents? How do we fix mental health issues? Where do we target adolescents who need the help? The Boston Herald’s Kathleen McKiernan investigates the answers that we as a community so desperately need in Special Report: Schools face surge in suicide attempts.
Last week, more than 100 people from across Washington gathered at the University of Puget Sound to learn methods to prevent suicide on our college campuses.