We need to talk about the way we talk about Robin Williams' suicide
Did you know that suicide is contagious?Yep. A great deal of research has been done on cases spanning the last 300 years that show suicide rates spike after a highly publicized suicide — especially when it's a celebrity suicide.Does that mean we shouldn't talk about suicide or Robin Williams? No. It means we should talk about suicide and Robin Williams responsibly.
Just to reiterate, here are ways NOT to talk about suicide, straight from the CDC:
ASPECTS OF NEWS COVERAGE THAT CAN PROMOTE SUICIDE CONTAGION
- Presenting simplistic explanations for suicide
- Engaging in repetitive, ongoing, or excessive reporting of suicide in the news
- Providing sensational coverage of suicide
- Reporting "how-to" descriptions of suicide
- Presenting suicide as a tool for accomplishing certain ends
- Glorifying suicide or persons who commit suicide
"But Lori! They're basically saying don't talk about suicide."
No, what they're saying is don't make it sound attractive.
I'm not telling you not to mourn the man. Heck, I'm really sad too. I *am* asking you to show love to your friends and your fellow earthlings by taking responsibility for what *some* of your words might mean. We can do that.