Monday, 11 June 2018 10:59

Thoughts on High-Profile Suicide

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Suicidal IdeationI was recently asked my thoughts on the effects of publicizing high-profile suicides? ‘I know there has been studies showing a rise in average suicide rates and emergency room admissions for attempted suicide following a celebrity death.’

I had to give some thought to the question.

I haven’t seen the studies asserting that there is an increase in average suicide rates and emergency room admissions for attempted suicide following a celebrity death.

I’m skeptical about studies in general. Many prove what they set out to prove. Then there is the factor of who undertook the study in the first place. What’s in it for them? The old murder mystery advice of ‘follow the money’ comes to mind.

I’ve worked thousands of night shifts throughout my career. Many of them have been on nights with full moons. Many of my coworkers believe that crazy things happen in the light of the full moon. This is purely anecdotal though, as ‘studies’ don’t support their beliefs. But then again, some likely do!

Media coverage of high profile suicides can have mixed results. On one hand, it likely does increase the thoughts of ‘ending it all’ in those who are already experiencing self-destructive thoughts. It can raise or intensify the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. The thoughts of “If that person, who has everything [in reference to the personality’s perceived fame and fortune] chose to take their life, then why should I bother going on?”

When a person is experiencing suicidal ideation, their mind is not working in a logical manner. It can be like a large, black cloud is shadowing their rational thought processes. Even trying to show them the fallacy of their rationale can be challenging. Many don’t want to hear it. Yet, many do. And that is why we need to support them in their time of need.

Conversely, it can be argued that media coverage of high profile suicides has had positive effects in that it raises awareness of suicide and gets people talking about the subject.

While the general public may be coming more aware, there is still a taboo in our society about thinking or acting upon suicidal urges. I would expect that our egos are heavily involved as they serve as a protective measure. I have read statistics recently that many successful suicides have occurred after some fifteen or so unsuccessful attempts. Then there are those that seem to come out of the blue and surprise everyone.

We can’t truly know what goes on in the mind of another. Each of us have multiple personas. We may be putting on a brave face to the public, yet to ourselves we are hurting inside.

Another aspect that comes into play in the increase of suicidal rate, I believe, is the effect that television and video games have on many people. I don’t have ready access to the statistics, but I have read that by the time a person reaches adult hood [North American reference] they have witnessed some twenty to thirty thousand deaths via mass media. This includes actual deaths as reported on the news, as well as fictional deaths in TV shows, videos etc. Compound this with video games that support first-person shooters and you end up with a society that has been desensitized with the concept of death.

To many people, the concept of suicide can be merely one of going to sleep and never waking up. They falsely believe that the world would be better off without them.

Personally, when I learn about a high-profile suicide and watch the media coverage, my immediate thought is often ‘what a waste of human potential.’ At the same time, I don’t give their celebrity status extra points. I don’t believe that they are any better, or worse, than anybody else in my circle of connections. Or myself, for that matter.

At times like this, we need to have conversations about suicide, without being judgmental and factoring in religious beliefs. And we need to be aware of those in our personal network that we may have influence to be able to support them in their crisis.

While not being particularly religious, I always go with the thought of “there, for the grace of God … go I!”

Read 2871 times Last modified on Thursday, 21 June 2018 13:03
Rae Stonehouse

Author Bio:

Rae A. Stonehouse is a Canadian born author & speaker. His professional career as a Registered Nurse working predominantly in psychiatry/mental health, has spanned four decades.

Rae has embraced the principal of CANI (Constant and Never-ending Improvement) as promoted by thought leaders such as Tony Robbins and brings that philosophy to each of his publications and presentations.

Rae has dedicated the latter segment of his journey through life to overcoming his personal inhibitions. As a 27+ year member of Toastmasters International he has systematically built his self-confidence and communicating ability. He is passionate about sharing his lessons with his readers and listeners. His publications thus far are of the personal/professional self-help, self-improvement genre and systematically offer valuable sage advice on a specific topic.

His writing style can be described as being conversational. As an author Rae strives to have a one-to-one conversation with each of his readers, very much like having your own personal self-development coach. Rae is known for having a wry sense of humour that features in his publications.


Author of Self-Help Downloadable E-Books, paperbacks and on-line courses:


Power Networking for Shy PeoplePower Networking for Shy People: How to Network Like a Pro

52 Power Networking Tips: 52 Power Networking Tips: How to Network Like a Pro

PROtect Yourself Now!PROtect Yourself Now! Violence Prevention for Healthcare Workers

The Savvy EmceeThe Savvy Emcee: How to be a Dynamic Master of Ceremonies.

Power of PromotionPower of Promotion: On-line Marketing for Toastmasters Club Growth

You're Hired! Job Search Strategies That WorkYou're Hired! Job Search Strategies That Work: Available as an easily downloadable e-book or as an on-line e-course.

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Working With Words:Working With Words: Adding Life to Your Oral Presentations

Blow Your Own Horn! Blow Your Own Horn! Personal Branding for Business Professionals

Make it Safe!Make it Safe! A Family Caregiver's Home Safety Assessment Guide for Supporting Elders@Home


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Copyright 2018- 2021 Rae A. Stonehouse.

The above document may be freely copied and distributed as long as the author’s name and contact info remain attached.


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