My Response to that YouTube Video

I didn’t want to write about this. Honestly, I didn’t. But it kept coming. From different media outlets, from all over social media, people were weighing in on what a certain YouTuber had done in one of his videos. I’m sure you know what I’m referring to but if not, here’s a good piece from the editorial director of The Mighty that gives background on what happened, as well as important information on what to remember when you see this story pop up on your newsfeed.

At first I was confused. Why, in their right mind, would someone do that? I can’t think of any reason. Then I was angry. Angry that this person came up with this idea in the first place. Angry that he was with a group of people, all whom must have thought this was a good idea. And angry that any of this was done for the sake of ‘suicide awareness.’ No sir. Filming a person who has died by suicide does not raise more awareness. We know what suicide is, and we would have known what it was without your little stunt.

Eventually, I went from angry to sad. Sad that, once again, suicide had become something trendy, something fetishized for media consumption (don’t get me started on 13 Reasons Why. That’s for another day). That it became a topic of conversation after the fact, and not before. That we once again had to redress someone who SHOULD know better for doing something that a person who has ever struggled with suicide would never think to do. But honestly? I was sad because this conversation never happens until someone has already died.

If you talk to someone who has been affected by suicide for more than a second, you will immediately see that it’s nothing to joke about. It is truly a life-or-death situation. If you’re fortunate enough in life that this is something you have never (or had never) worried about, honestly, congratulations. I’m jealous. But please, don’t stay ignorant to this because of that. Try to understand where other people are coming from.

That same level of understanding can work in many areas of life (religion, race, etc.) but it’s especially true in mental health because – to be blunt – lives are at stake. I know that’s a lot to ask, but I promise I’m not out here trying to get in the way of you living your life. I’m just here trying to help other people continue to live theirs, any way I can. Suicide is not trendy, it’s not a meme, and it’s not glamorous. Don’t treat it that way.

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