September is Suicide Awareness Month, the 39th Annual National Suicide Prevention Week began Sunday and continues through Saturday, the 14th and today is Suicide Prevention Day.
Supporters from all over the country will come together to bring a voice of awareness to the growing numbers of those who decide to end their own lives. For the survivors, it’s somber to recall such pain, and although challenging, reflection may be healing.
Pennsylvania- based Annenberg Public Policy Center has written a guide for the media on how it should report on suicide- for example, the victim’s problems- the question of having a past history of treatment for depression or problems with drugs or alcohol, they say, should be posed. Survivors may find it easier to accept such a final decision of a living being if there is confirmation of emotional despair.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Report, Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide, there are “certain types of news coverage that can increase the likelihood of suicide in vulnerable individuals.” Therefore, suicide coverage should follow industry safety recommendations.
The report shows that in the United States there are more than 36,000 people who commit suicide every year and statistically, the reasons one may take their life- vary. It also lists warning signs in bullet points. But, what’s not listed is-warning signs for a seemingly lively individual. There is no greater challenge for loved ones than that of element of surprise- a death by suicide.
Most important to understand is that suicide is tragic to its survivors- no matter the relation. There are strong emotional ramifications to and for survivors. They may be confused about why. Episodes of recollecting specific conversations, dissecting voice tones or body movements and not recognizing eye shifts and facial expressions of the victim are parts of the process of overcoming the shock suicide brings. Survivors look for answers- clues- and with dwelling on their own roll, coping with someone’s suicide may be engulfing.
The attempt to make sense of another’s decision to end their life will cause angst. The “Father of Sociology,” Emile Durkheim defined suicide as applying to “all cases of death resulting directly or indirectly from a positive or negative act of the victim himself, which he knows will produce this result.” He said- suicide is pre-eminently the desperate act of one who does not care to live.
Please know there is a battle with a reporter’s confliction to restrain from realizing that not all victims of suicide are prey- it’s merely to comprehend such decision makers- as notably life is the “possession presumably most precious of all.” And, understand that even the liveliest of acquaintances may face such an absolute decision. HELPGUIDE