Please be trigger aware when reading this piece.
I’m writing this piece after hearing about the suicide of Chester Bennington, the lead singer of Linkin Park. I’ve seen a lot of different reports and posts about his death and have felt really affected by it all so thought I would discuss how I feel and some things to consider when dealing with this kind of news.
My first emotion on reading about Chester’s death by suicide was absolute shock and disbelief. I couldn’t take it in. He was such an icon and part of my life through his music. And seeing the out pouring of love for him made me feel sad that he couldn’t see it in himself. It also made me think about my own attempts on my life and if I’d been successful. It also triggered me slightly.
The next thing that bothered me was the way some of the reports were written and some of the language that was being used. Before I go on I must point out that both Time to Change and the Samaritans offer guidelines to reporting suicide. These I found really interesting to read. Especially as some reporters quite obviously haven’t read these. A major thing that needs to be pointed out was the number of people still using the term ‘commit’ suicide instead of died by suicide. This is important as the term commit suicide relates to when suicide was still a crime. This hasn’t been the case for many years yet the term is still seen consistently. This needs to change and can only be done by holding people to account of their reporting style and language.
Another thing that bothered me was the reporting of the method of suicide. I found this particularly triggering and I don’t think I am alone in this. A guideline I would like to see added would be for trigger warnings to be added to these posts to help people like myself. Or for methods not to be mentioned at all.
The last thing I want to tackle is the people who have called Chester selfish. I know for people who have not been there it is hard to understand but suicide is one of the least selfish acts. Each person has their own reasons but I am sure they have considered others before acting. They may have spent days going over everything. Considering everyone. Please don’t judge. You have no idea of the pain.
So those are a few of my reactions to suicide in the media including social media. I hope it can help people understand and change the way they portray suicide in the media and on their social media. What are your thoughts?