Should The Media Report On Suicides?

*May Be Triggering To Some*

In the span of just one week three suicides have shattered two different communities. These aren’t just any ordinary communities but are instead the home to two of the deadliest mass school shootings in American history; Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida (Feb 2018) and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut (Dec 2012) both suffered further devastation this week when two students from MSD (one had since graduated and was attending College) took their own lives and then just yesterday a broken hearted father from SH did so as well.

Those of us who watched these mass shootings unfold on the news (and so many others) will forever remember the horror and chaos that erupted during the time of the shootings and the aftermath of these communities trying to put their lives back together while also trying to grieve the pain of losing their loved ones in such a violent and tragic way.

So here’s the question(s) I have for you. Did reporting the suicide of 19 year old Sydney Aiello, who died a little over a week ago trigger the other young man (his name has not been released to the public) who still attended MSD to take his own life a few days later, or how about Jeremy Richman, the father of little six year old Avielle Richman who died in the mass shooting at SH just over six years ago?

Is there a connection? Did hearing of Sydney Aiello’s suicide last week give not one but two other individuals suffering similar pain and anguish the okay to end their lives too? Is suicide contagious? Is the media “inspiring” others to follow these tragic ideations? Studies have shown that individuals who are suffering with mental illness can most definitely be triggered by another individual’s suicide whether it’s a friend, a loved one or a famous person but was that the case here or was it all just coincidental?

So would we be better off not having an open dialogue about suicide? Absolutely not! And here’s why. I may say this often but it’s the truth, no two people are the same and no two journeys are the same either. And although these three individuals who took their own life may have been forever connected through similar violent tragedy, they were all on their own journey with their own truth which is why I believe it is still better to honour their lives by continuing to have an open dialogue about suicide than to sweep it under the rug and pretend it doesn’t exist. So long as the messages and resources being conveyed by the media are done in a safe and healthy manner then bring it on because the more attention and the more open dialogue there is on the subject then I truly believe it can and will save lives.

Author: Kim Fluxgold

Wife, mom of 3 beautiful children, dog lover, creative sole and children's book Author. Sharing my journey with depression and anxiety through blogging in hopes of educating and ending the stigma.

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