Reacting to Suicide in the Media

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?


4 thoughts on “Reacting to Suicide in the Media

  1. TheOriginalPhoenix

    Using the word commit also relates to Catholic sin which isn’t very helpful. It’s better to use terms such as “attempt” and “complete.” That’s what I learned in my QPR training for suicide. I was appalled by people calling him selfish and that one singer who went so far as to say he’s a coward. So disrespectful. None of them knew what he was going through and I wish he could have got more help so it didn’t end this way. I just don’t know how I can listen to Linkin Park’s music again knowing that it’s inaccurate now….I just don’t know how to feel.

    1. battlinglife Post author

      It is a difficult thing to contemplate and take in and I am still forming thoughts on it in my head. I dont have the words to express my thoughts fully on what has happened. I think that will take a long time. But I needed to address the initial shock and the responses and reports I read.

  2. Brendan Birth

    Ironically, many who seem to consider or commit suicide think that the earth or their loved ones would be better off without them. In other words, many think that suicide is one of the LEAST selfish things to do.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s