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Hadley Freeman @HadleyFreeman
, 9 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
It’s almost like telling people that unless they do exactly as activists say children will kill themselves is a profoundly unhelpful, unprofessional and untrue tactic
Truly, not since Dead Poets Society (let your child be an actor! OR THEY WILL KILL THEMSELVES) has the horrific threat of adolescent suicide been lobbed about so casually
It feels like a lot of people are talking about suicide and suicidal tendencies in adolescents, after last night's screening of Butterfly, and whether the way media can cause young people to feel suicidal. I have a bit of experience with this so I thought I'd say some things.
Suicide and suicidal feelings are very common among young anorexics. In fact, suicide is a major cause of death in what is still the mental illness with the highest rate of morbidity. During my 3.5yrs in hospital as a teenager I knew 3 young people who killed themselves
So I do not talk about teenage suicide lightly. And because of that, I know how complex it is, and how irresponsible it is when people use dodgy statistic or, worse, use the threat of kids killing themselves to shut down discussions.
No one denies that the media can create a climate or stigma. But it is outrageous to use teen suicide as a means to make people doas you say. I don't know any anorexic who uses the threat of suicide to make people talk about eating disorders as they see fit.
As the Samaritans say, no one thing causes suicide, and in the case of teen suicide it is disgraceful to suggest otherwise, as the parents will then inevitably blame themselves even more than they already do. Anyone who has known a teenager who killed themselves will know that
Anyway, it is very weird to me - someone who spent a lot of time in psychiatric hospitals as a kid - to see the threat of suicide bandied around so lightly as it is now in discussions about trans kids. I have never seen this in regards to any other adolescent demographic
Even teen anorexics who have relatively v high rates of suicidal tendencies. No one ever said to my parents, "If you don't do exactly this she will kill herself." Because that would have been disgraceful. And kids are individuals who have different needs and reactions. END
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