Is this an attempt to profit from suicide?
Trigger warning: This post discusses issues related to suicide and self-harm. It may be triggering for some readers.
People at risk of suicide are among the most vulnerable in our community. That’s why there are strict guidelines around how the media can report suicide; to avoid portraying it in any way that may trigger someone in to act in a copycat way.
This includes visual or written descriptions that could make it look glamorous, romantic, glorified, heroic or positive in any way.
More from Mia Freedman: “Suicide contagion. Does it exist?”
There are countless studies that prove suicide contagion is real. Those at risk can be influenced by the suicides of others, experts tell us. In their depressed or desperate state, they can be highly suggestible.
So the media, generally, are extremely careful. And never more so than when it’s the suicide of a child. You are unlikely to read about the suicide of children and teenagers, even though these tragedies occur far more often than you’d think.
Regularly here at Mamamia, including this week, we become aware of child suicides and choose not to write about them, as do most other media organisations.
It’s a difficult decision because some would argue that there are benefits to bringing suicide out of the shadows and shining some public light on it. Public awareness might prompt changes in public policy. An increase to funding for support services.
But we’re journalists not health professionals. We have to rely on the advice of experts and that is resoundingly clear: the privacy of the children, their families and the welfare of other vulnerable kids is paramount. The risk that other might take their own lives after reading about the suicide of an individual is just too high. Don’t publish.
Music videos though? What about music videos? This morning I saw something that worried the hell out of me.
Last year, the lead singer of G.R.L committed suicide. Her name was Simone Battle and she was 22.
A few months after her death, her bandmates have released a tribute to Simone, a catchy soaring ballad called Lighthouse along with an accompanying video.
Take a look: (Post continues after video)
From the styling of the four girls to the way some of them touch themselves as they sing. From the glossy depiction of Simone growing from baby to young woman until… well, Simone won’t be growing anymore. It’s over. Her life was snuffed out and that’s the end of her story.