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Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Glorification of Suicide: NETFLIX, 13 Reasons Why, and Suicide Games

How many reasons why suicide is appealing?
I cancelled our NETFLIX account over the lewd supposedly "adult" sex comedy Big Mouth with its Simpson-like cartoon characters and gross vulgarity. 

But if I hadn't, I would now over 13 Reasons Why. With its graphic sexual assaults, lewd behavior, and depiction of suicide; it's the perfect copycat vehicle to take already troubled kids into the darkest of places. 

I would very much like to see a class action lawsuit against NETFLIX over this series that, as Mary Beth Bonacci writes, "is going to lead to far more suicides than it prevents." If you have kids old enough to get on NETFLIX on their own, with the devices to do it in secret, you would be wise to get this series as far away as possible by not paying to bring it into your home. My own 18-year-old grandson binge-watched the program in the weeks before his own suicide. How many others will be influenced by this evil series?

Families in California blame '13 Reasons Why' for 2 teens' suicides

Increase in teen suicidal behaviour linked to 13 Reasons Why, Toronto counsellors say

In my own journey following this devastating event, I've been doing research on how to inoculate children against suicide. For me, it seems the biggest thing is to give them an anchor in faith. Would that prevent it? Maybe not since many young people reject God in their search for meaning. I've also been reading blogs and articles by suicide survivors who are walking the same path in the aftermath of tragedy. One blog I found is Walking the Mourner's Path. It was the first hit I got when I googled "inoculating kids against suicide." She recommends a book that I just ordered called Stay. It sounds somewhat academic. Here's the blurb from Amazon:
Worldwide, more people die by suicide than by murder, and many more are left behind to grieve. Despite distressing statistics that show suicide rates rising, the subject, long a taboo, is infrequently talked about. In this sweeping intellectual and cultural history, poet and historian Jennifer Michael Hecht channels her grief for two friends lost to suicide into a search for history’s most persuasive arguments against the irretrievable act, arguments she hopes to bring back into public consciousness. 
From the Stoics and the Bible to Dante, Shakespeare, Wittgenstein, and such twentieth-century writers as John Berryman, Hecht recasts the narrative of our “secular age” in new terms. She shows how religious prohibitions against self-killing were replaced by the Enlightenment’s insistence on the rights of the individual, even when those rights had troubling applications. This transition, she movingly argues, resulted in a profound cultural and moral loss: the loss of shared, secular, logical arguments against suicide. By examining how people in other times have found powerful reasons to stay alive when suicide seems a tempting choice, she makes a persuasive intellectual and moral case against suicide.
 I'll review it here after I read it. We need to find ways to help our children (and all others tempted to suicide) to see that life is worth living -- that its challenges can make us stronger rather than to defeat us, that who we are today may be a very different person than our future self. 

And we also need a greater understanding of mental health issues and their impact on suicide. We live in a culture of the lie that is making people crazy. How can the mind and heart live in a constant state of cognitive dissonance without bursting? If you have young teens, I think discussing suicide is important, especially when someone close to them dies that way. Suicide is contagious. And, in fact, social media makes vulnerable kids targets. Several days ago a Russian man was arrested for using a "suicide game" to entice young girls to commit suicide by goading them into it with escalating challenges. 

What diabolical evil! 

Let's vaccinate our children against it. Start with controlling access to social media and the masterminds of evil who prey on the vulnerable.

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