One suicide is a tragedy. But what happens when a community is rocked by a series of suicides, one after another, all of them young people? Do the families mourn in private, fearful that expressing their grief publicly could result in more deaths? Or does the community come together, so that individual families can tell their stories and in turn do something to combat the insidious face of depression and its consequences?
Until now the accepted wisdom has been to publicly downplay suicide but in speaking to families who’ve lost children, reporter Liz Jackson found that young people are in fact talking about suicide all the time on facebook. Social media has the potential to influence behaviour, for better or worse, and it’s now accepted that suicide prevention strategies need to deal with this. As one parent explains, it was only after the death of her child that she realised her daughter had been discussing her depression and suicidal thoughts on facebook…
I watched this exceptionally powerful and moving program last night. It is a must-see for anyone with young people in their family - and for anyone who cares for their mental health and how apparently easy it is for teens to fall through the cracks in the mental health system.
It should also be watched by struggling young people, in the hope they might seek help before it is too late. Perhaps the program would help them see how much they are loved and needed and to see the cavernous yawning hole of pain and anguish left in their absence.
I watched it with my 16-year-old daughter and her friend. One of the strong messages to come through was that there is no changing your mind, you can’t come back, it’s final, over, and your friends and family can’t call you: there is no 3G in heaven…
To the family and friends of those who took their lives, you are so brave. You have offered your suffering in a desperately needed act of community service. I hope improved suicide prevention methods will be developed and lives will be saved as a result.
Watch program here