“….a perfect example of what not to do
if someone is having suicidal thoughts.”
That’s quite a strong statement from Dr. Donna Fargason who returns today to talk about her professional concerns about – and personal exposure to – “13 Reasons Why” , a streaming TV series that targets youth and the issue of suicidality.
Donna and I only scratched the surface in our dialogue on this most important topic of suicidality. Our conversation touches on some of the concerns we share about how certain societal/cultural influences (such as a seemingly harmless media program) can potentially affect in a harmful way the thoughts and actions of vulnerable young persons – and mature adults as well. This is only one example.
After personally viewing the entire program series, Donna realized that she herself has been traumatized by the overtly graphic content of the program.
And while the gravity and impact of the graphic content is perhaps more obvious to some, Donna is quite concerned as well about the more insidious messages that are embedded within the program content – and that parents do not seem to know that children and adolescents are viewing this program,
Media is a tool that wields mighty power upon the formation of thoughts and beliefs about ourselves as human persons (many, many times in ways we are not aware of), and can influence our choices of what might be a good (or not so good) next step when we are experiencing challenges and pain in our lives.
Being aware of that influence as we make our viewing decisions is a vital component of the process of making well-informed decisions that impact our overall joy, life functioning, and relationships. What we choose to consume through all forms of media can have a powerful effect upon our mental and spiritual health.
It’s important to have a dialogue about vital issues such as suicide, no doubt. But what is the content, the essence, and the trajectory of that dialogue? Does it lead ultimately to the dignity and the good of the person?
Unfortunately, not all sources of dialogue and information out in the public arena are meaningful, legitimate, or helpful towards the end goal of the ultimate good for the human person – even though these sources may be well-intentioned. Consuming and acting upon information without careful (and prayerful), prudent consideration, and seeking proper help can lead unintentionally toward more harm and heartache.
WHERE CAN I LOOK FOR HELP?
For immediate need for someone experiencing suicidal thoughts, or exhibiting suicidal/self-harm gestures:
- NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE:
- 800-273-TALK (8225)
- CRISIS TEXT LINE: 741741
- Call your local hospital ER
- Dial 911 to activate Emergency Services
- Contact your child’s Pediatrician or Primary Health Care Provider
- Family Focus, LLC – Dr. Donna Fargason
- 13 Mental Health Questions about “13 Reasons Why” – American Psychiatric Association
- Why We Need to Pay Attention to 13 Reasons Why by Suzanne Jones, MA, LPC-NCC, MSN, PMHNP
- Evangelium Vitae’ by John Paul II, March 25, 1995
- Pope St. John Paul writes about the “Gospel of Life”, and the dignity and gift of our lives and the immense love that God has for each and every human person. Here he also speaks in EV (and in other writings as well) about the roots of the “Culture of Death”, and the many ways it manifests in the world we are living in today. Without knowing who we are as beloved human persons made for communal relationship with Him and each other, we are left bereft and without hope. What believe about who we are as human persons and the purpose for which we exist matters – any distortions from the fullness of truth lead us to harm in infinite ways.
- The Catholic Guide to Depression: How the Saints, the Sacraments, and Psychiatry Can Help You Break its Grip and Find Happiness Again – by Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, MD
- Excellent chapter on “Depression and The Tragedy of Suicide” wherein Dr. Kheriaty discusses the nature of suicidality from a medical/psychiatric standpoint integrated with the Christian understanding of the human person, and how research demonstrates the protectiveness of this bio-psycho-social-spiritual viewpoint.