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Has destigmatizing suicide gone too far?

Nowadays, suicide carries less stigma than ever before, both in fiction and in real life. In many respects this is a good thing, as it means that people who experience suicidal ideation no longer have to feel like they are morally deficient. However, it seems as though some works of media have gone too far in the other direction, portraying suicide either as something glamorous or as an inevitable consequence of mental distress. A key example of this can be seen in the novel and Netflix series "13 Reasons Why," both of which seem to portray suicide as a weapon that can be used to get back at someone. Some modern Biblical commentators have even gone so far as to argue that Sarah, the holy matriarch, might have been suicidal based on little to no evidence. What are some ways in which creators can portray suicide more respectfully? Is it possible to point out the harm that suicidal ideation does without making people feel guilty or ashamed for being depressed?

  • This is such an interesting topic. It's so complicated to try to portray suicide in a respectful and non-stigmatized manner. I'm really interested to see what you come up with. – gracesamath 3 months ago
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  • There are some interesting discussions on Youtube about this, and euthanasia laws (specifically ones designed about relieving extreme mental distress) could be worth mentioning as well. The Living Well with Schizophrenia youtube channel has a great discussion about this. I've also seen discussions about 13 reasons why by psychologists who point out ways that Hannah's experience of suicide isn't a good representation (because she gives up on getting help or doesn't try enough to get help). – Jordan 3 months ago
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  • This definitely intrigues me, i'm excited to see what you continue to write about it! – OpalReads01 3 months ago
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  • You should write this! I tend to avoid things related to suicide, but the premise of your topic is sound. – derBruderspielt 2 months ago
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  • I like this topic and I would be highly interested to read something related to mental health and suicide. What "13 Reasons Why" did well is that it showed how Hannah's suicide devastatingly impacted the lives of her peers and parents and I think it can help suicidal people realize what the consequences of suicide are and why in most cases it is a wrong choice. What I didn't like about this show starting from season 2 though is that it makes everyone seem like a victim while they can make better and more responsibile choices. This kind of character representation can make teenagers adopt a victim mentality and that's what is happening nowadays among teens and even young adults sadly. – M.C. Cherif 2 months ago
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  • This is such a relevant topic. I think it would be interesting to make a case about Euphoria, which is even more popular and timely than 13 Reasons Why now, and is controversial for its graphic content and effect on young viewers. – katherine 2 months ago
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  • This is something I've wondered about before. So many YA novels are using suicide as a way to write an emotional, yet empty story. It's the black and white or one take move for YA novels nowadays; the equivalent of Oscar-bait. – rileybelle 1 month ago
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  • This is interesting because you're right, suicide seems to be used as just another element to add tragedy to a story. However suicide rates are still increasing and using suicide/ideation as a plot device does give struggling people a character to relate to. But what is the right way to portray someone suffering from that extreme depression and loneliness? – zreddig 1 month ago
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  • It would be so cool to follow it with questions like, is it really an issue of destigmatization of suicide? Or the capitalist society's way of profiting from a pervasive issue through TV shows? – carolynjoan 4 weeks ago
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