More important than giant chickens, more susceptible to compassionate solutions than North Korea, and more worthy of our consideration than Debbie Wasserman Schultz because anything is, the teen suicide problem generated excelled responses to a post about it here, and was, as topics are so often, quickly buried by other controversies and events.
Lets’ discuss this a bit longer, shall we? It’s worth it. A good way is to recall one of the best comments the post about the Netflix series dramatizing a fictional teen’s suicide and its effect on her friends. Here is Rip’s Comment of the Day on the post, Ethics Quiz: “13 Reasons Why”:
OK— this issue is one I have spent years delving into. I spent the better part of a decade doing volunteer work; developing interviewing techniques at Georgetown hospital with student actors to help train pediatric medical students on how to find youth that are engaging in or thinking about behaviors that put themselves at risk.Doctors Abrams and Hawkins have done amazing work on developing tools to reach at risk adolescents
I hope to return to this at some point, but my volunteer work is currently on hold. Here is what I know.
75% of teen deaths, including suicides, in this country are avoidable if there is intervention in time. Suicide is the second leading cause of youth death, and LGBT youth are 4 to 6 times more likely to commit the act. Thank god for the Trevor Project and It Gets Better campaigns: they help. In the 90s when I tried to create suicide prevention programs through theater, I was told by administrators that we could not do this, as it might give the kids “ideas.”
Ugh. The statistics show they already have the ideas.
If we do not bring the problem out into the open and talk about it, we cannot examine, understand it and prevent it. I have been meaning to watch the series, but with the other things going on in my life I have not had time. But I know this show how has opened the discussion: good. The idiots who what to hide the reality are killing our kids. Is that Ethical?
As a theater educator I have had a hand in getting three troubled kids help when I discovered their pain. I do not often talk about it, as it is their choice if they want to share their survival stories. Growing up as a gay kid with Aspergers and a weight problem, I knew bullies, and I had those dark thoughts, but I also had a deep faith that helped me through the challenges and pain. (Yes! Gay people can be people of faith!) Besides, I was not going to give my bullies the satisfaction of beating me down. Though I cried myself to sleep most every night of my senior year of high school, I survived. Let’s talk about it! I will always fight to survive!
Graphic: Psychology Today