Is the type of attention being given to teens who have committed suicide sending the right message?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 26, 2011 7:44 PM GMT
    The past year there has been an extremely heavy focus on gay kids/teens committing suicide. It's great that people are becoming more aware of the specific challenges that gay minors are going throughout but sometimes I wonder if we are giving the issue the right type of attention.

    There is an unhealthy respect and almost reverence for the actions that these poor confused kids have taken. The intentions are definitely good, but maybe the message could be packaged better.

    The current message is all about bullying and oppression, but that message is incomplete, because it suggests that all of the people who killed themselves were without other options.

    They could have chosen to push through whatever happened to them, as many gay teens do. Presenting their situations as being hopeless validates the feelings of other isolated gay kids who may be feeling the same.

    It's really complicated I can't really think of a solution because everyone's heart is in the right place, but a post mortem TV special or tribute lady gaga....essentially turns gay kids who commit suicide into martyrs and has the potential to incent kids who are already sitting the fence to join the kids who have already taken their lives. It just seems like the whole thing is being borderline romanticized. There has to be a better way to go about it.
  • sonnet129

    Posts: 116

    Sep 26, 2011 7:48 PM GMT
    I completely agree. And I speak as someone who has suffered from depression since I was a teenager and who has attempted suicide.
  • commoncoll

    Posts: 1222

    Sep 26, 2011 7:48 PM GMT
    I agree with you. Blame goes both ways. Perhaps we should focus more on improving personality and developing independence and coping strategies in life rather than "It gets better."
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    Sep 26, 2011 8:05 PM GMT
    I agree that there is potential for kids to romanticize suicide when they see the kind of attention that other's get from super stars. I'm sure in most cases the star is simply trying to convey how important an issue is, but I'm not sure whether there are unintentional consequences to it.

    I think people do try to glorify the kids who have chosen more productive outlets for dealing with the stresses of life. There are many stories about gay kids who are leaders in sports or in their communities, however these tend to be drowned out by the media because they don't sell as well.

    I was just watching an "In the life" episode about a young gay man who was thrown out of his house at age 16 and was homeless while continuing his HS education. He found an LGBT support group that is now helping him go to college. He is really quite inspirational.

    However, for the kids that do choose to commit suicide it's not always so simple as they just need to push through it. We are not all equipped with the same support systems in our youth, and our responses to external or internal pressures are not all the same.

    It's kind of like saying why can't we all just learn how to play baseball, play the guitar, and paint. Some of us are able to do so because of innate skills and/or an environment that cultivates these abilities. Some need help to become great, others become great on their own.

    As much as we believe we are all the same, we are not. Just because you can't see the difference as in eye color or height, does not mean the difference does not exist. It's this same issue that prevents people from understanding why people are gay. They don't see the reason for us to behave differently from them.

    People who are suicidal also come in different degrees of mental and emotional health. Some can be swayed more easily than others to recognize that life can be worth living.
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    Sep 26, 2011 8:12 PM GMT
    The story about the kid I was referring to, is in the episode I've included below. It's the second story in. However, the first story also shows some amazing kids who are coping with being gay in sports.








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    Sep 26, 2011 8:31 PM GMT
    I believe that it is good we are giving it as much attention as it deserves. But I believe that it might be pressuring teens with unnecesary cares than we intend to. For example, if you care for someone and don't want them to get hurt, then the safest option of course is to keep that person as close to you as possible. I suppose that would be in the house for teens nowadays. However, some people do add a bit more emphasis on the option than it deserves. Never letting their kids leave except for school, or having curfews at 6pm. I see the reasons behind them of course, for that child's safety. But also, people have to recognize that sadly, there is no option that can completely keep someone safe from harm, even if you kept them inside for the rest of theirlives. You just have to give them the necessary knowledge they need, and hope that they use it as it is intended. That's all that we can ever do in the end, because you can lead a horse to water, but that doesn't doesn't mean it will drink it.
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    Sep 26, 2011 9:14 PM GMT
    So, we shouldn't give attention to an issue or trend of a negative nature as it may exacerbate the problem?

    YEAH, NO.

    By this logic, we should stop anti-smoking, cancer prevention, climate change and obesity campaigns as it might "make it worse."

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    Sep 26, 2011 9:16 PM GMT
    Inostrankan saidSo, we shouldn't give attention to an issue or trend of a negative nature as it may exacerbate the problem?

    YEAH, NO.

    By this logic, we should stop anti-smoking, cancer prevention, climate change and obesity campaigns as it might "make it worse."



    you missed the logic behind what I was saying completely. Thanks for the over simplification though.
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    Sep 26, 2011 9:28 PM GMT
    While there is a danger for "imitators," especially in the adolescent age group.... the idea of giving attention to this matter is extremely important.

    Both the school aged kids and their parents and teachers must TALK about bullying, and about suicide.

    People who commit suicide very rarely do it suddenly. In my profession, we assess for suicidality no matter what. Some people fear that asking about it will sort of "implant" the idea into the client's head. However this is really not the case - if someone wants to kill themselves, they've most likely thought of it way before you asked.

    I have to disagree with your thought that it suggest that there were no other options - I think they are saying that the kids FELT there were no other options. In the mind of suicidal individuals, its a way of relieving the pain (and likely many other things too).

    I think there is a lot of attention given to hotlines and to community based resources, suggesting that suicide is not the outcome that we want.... and which is why people cover the stories.
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    Sep 26, 2011 10:06 PM GMT
    I think dekiruman is saying that when a celebrity that a child idolizes sings a song written specifically for the child after he/she commits suicide, it may give others the idea that at least in death this kid found acceptance and notoriety at a large scale.

    This may in turn influence someone who is on the verge of suicide, to move forward with it. I don't know if this is true as I am not a trained therapist, but it would seem at face value like there is potential for this. I would love to hear some professionals weigh in on this.

    I think ZbmwM5 is saying that it may not be, but there was some vagueness in his response.

    I did not get from dekiruman's statement, that we should not try to bring awareness to teen suicide or bullying. I don't even think he is saying we shouldn't use Jamey's name, just that in doing so it must be done responsibly.

    Sorry dekiruman if I'm misrepresenting you, however this is definitely more along the lines of what I was trying to express in my posts if I did get the wrong message from you.

    Inostrankan saidSo, we shouldn't give attention to an issue or trend of a negative nature as it may exacerbate the problem?

    YEAH, NO.

    By this logic, we should stop anti-smoking, cancer prevention, climate change and obesity campaigns as it might "make it worse."

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    Sep 26, 2011 10:12 PM GMT
    dekiruman said
    Inostrankan saidSo, we shouldn't give attention to an issue or trend of a negative nature as it may exacerbate the problem?

    YEAH, NO.

    By this logic, we should stop anti-smoking, cancer prevention, climate change and obesity campaigns as it might "make it worse."



    you missed the logic behind what I was saying completely. Thanks for the over simplification though.


    My work here is done.
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    Sep 26, 2011 11:30 PM GMT
    I agree with deki and just hope no other teens get influenced by the recent happenings. I also think that bullying as the root of this needs to become socially unacceptable.

    What I'm missing in all of this is:
    - What can kids do when they are being bullied?
    - How do you deal successfully with bullies?
    - Can't we teach kids at a young age how to deal with being bullied?

    As well intended as the "it gets better campaign is", just letting this crap wash over you until the end of Highschool can't be the only option.
  • JP85257

    Posts: 3284

    Sep 26, 2011 11:48 PM GMT
    I will say that some of it is parenting. If you raise your kids to "puss out" as my mom puts it..... or to defend themselves your life can go 2 entirely different directions.

    I was picked on a lot when I was in school. For being fat, gay, poor etc.....I went home crying to my mom one day and she basically told me to suck it up and take care of it. She told me that I had permission to defend myself any way I felt was necessary and she would back me up. She always told me that I better not start, but I better finish it.

    When I entered high school I lost some weight and such and grew about 6 inches taller than most of the kids in my class. All of that and what my parents told me basically gave me the tools I needed to function and take care of bullies.

    I never got in to fights, but I was able to defuse many situations just by popping back at them and embarrassing the fuck out of them most times they would STFU.
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    Sep 27, 2011 12:01 AM GMT
    bhp91126 saidI agree with deki and just hope no other teens get influenced by the recent happenings. I also think that bullying as the root of this needs to become socially unacceptable.

    What I'm missing in all of this is:
    - What can kids do when they are being bullied?
    - How do you deal successfully with bullies?
    - Can't we teach kids at a young age how to deal with being bullied?

    As well intended as the "it gets better campaign is", just letting this crap wash over you until the end of Highschool can't be the only option.


    I agree and think the campaign needs a 2.0 version where the bully gets his head bashed in with a fucking hammer. The "kill em with kindness" and "tell bullies how it makes us feel" approach isn't working. Pain teaches. It's time to move to the "It was only self defense" phase.
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Sep 27, 2011 12:09 AM GMT
    I'm old, so I'm wiser, apparently. This is one of those issues where you can come at it from 27 different directions with 27 different propositions. We won't know which one is right until it's all over. You can't think big on this one. Think small.

    At least the general population is talking about gays in a sympathetic way instead of looking for a fence to tie us to and leave us for dead.

    We're becoming human, to them.
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    Sep 27, 2011 12:24 AM GMT
    Brownale said

    I agree and think the campaign needs a 2.0 version where the bully gets his head bashed in with a fucking hammer. The "kill em with kindness" and "tell bullies how it makes us feel" approach isn't working. Pain teaches. It's time to move to the "It was only self defense" phase.


    That's what I said in another thread (and got flak for it).

    I'm not sure that IGB is only advocating a "kindness" approach, but certainly, I would love a "It got better because I punched a bully in his fucking face" up the ante phase of the campaign.

    Can someone get Savage on this?
  • JP85257

    Posts: 3284

    Sep 27, 2011 12:30 AM GMT
    TroyAthlete said
    Brownale said

    I agree and think the campaign needs a 2.0 version where the bully gets his head bashed in with a fucking hammer. The "kill em with kindness" and "tell bullies how it makes us feel" approach isn't working. Pain teaches. It's time to move to the "It was only self defense" phase.


    That's what I said in another thread (and got flak for it).

    I'm not sure that IGB is only advocating a "kindness" approach, but certainly, I would love a "It got better because I punched a bully in his fucking face" up the ante phase of the campaign.

    Can someone get Savage on this?

    I completely agree. You sometimes have to bully the bully.
  • nanidesukedo

    Posts: 1036

    Sep 27, 2011 12:33 AM GMT
    Brownale said
    bhp91126 saidI agree with deki and just hope no other teens get influenced by the recent happenings. I also think that bullying as the root of this needs to become socially unacceptable.

    What I'm missing in all of this is:
    - What can kids do when they are being bullied?
    - How do you deal successfully with bullies?
    - Can't we teach kids at a young age how to deal with being bullied?

    As well intended as the "it gets better campaign is", just letting this crap wash over you until the end of Highschool can't be the only option.


    I agree and think the campaign needs a 2.0 version where the bully gets his head bashed in with a fucking hammer. The "kill em with kindness" and "tell bullies how it makes us feel" approach isn't working. Pain teaches. It's time to move to the "It was only self defense" phase.



    Really? I don't imagine that civil rights campaigns do well if they are based on retaliation and violence. As tempting (and well deserved) that the violence sometimes is, I only think that such violence would lead to even stronger backlash.
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    Sep 27, 2011 12:35 AM GMT
    dekiruman saidThe past year there has been an extremely heavy focus on gay kids/teens committing suicide. It's great that people are becoming more aware of the specific challenges that gay minors are going throughout but sometimes I wonder if we are giving the issue the right type of attention.

    There is an unhealthy respect and almost reverence for the actions that these poor confused kids have taken. The intentions are definitely good, but maybe the message could be packaged better.

    The current message is all about bullying and oppression, but that message is incomplete, because it suggests that all of the people who killed themselves were without other options.

    They could have chosen to push through whatever happened to them, as many gay teens do. Presenting their situations as being hopeless validates the feelings of other isolated gay kids who may be feeling the same.

    It's really complicated I can't really think of a solution because everyone's heart is in the right place, but a post mortem TV special or tribute lady gaga....essentially turns gay kids who commit suicide into martyrs and has the potential to incent kids who are already sitting the fence to join the kids who have already taken their lives. It just seems like the whole thing is being borderline romanticized. There has to be a better way to go about it.
    I agree with you and your very educated icon_smile.gif