A recent headline states that "Suicides Among U.S. Kids, Young Adults Jumped 57% in Past Decade".
I think that it should be considered that this trend of increased suicide may be influenced by the increase in how much we as a society talk about suicide. In a way, suicide may have become normalized by the increase in public campaigns to stop it.
Think about it. Many young people who may have never considered the idea of taking their life may have been introduced to the idea of suicide as an option by the very campaigns which attempt to stop it.
It makes sense to me. Nobody is popularizing the idea that suicide is something that people do more than the campaigns that attempt to bring awareness to suicide prevention.
By bringing awareness to suicide prevention, suicide prevention campaings are inadvertently increasing awareness of people's option to commit suicide.
I know it doesn't sound right to accuse the people who are attempting to prevent suicide of possibily increasing suicide numbers, but I think everyone should consider that the idea of suicide would not be as prevalent in society without the efforts of those anti-suicide campaigns.
Do you think that what I'm saying sounds presposterous? Do you think that I'm crazy for saying that public efforts to reduce suicide might be the cause for an increase in suicide?
Well then you might want to consider how some believe that anti-drug efforts like DARE fail based on the same reasoning.
German Lopez wrote in a Vox article about how anti-drug campaings have backfired a similar finding about drugs as I am suggesting about suicide:
Research shows that some anti-drug messages can even lead to more drug use. A small study from researchers at Ohio University and Pennsylvania State University suggested that anti-drug advertisements may foster curiosity about drug use, although the study couldn't find a clear explanation as to why.
Think about it. Mentioned in that article about efforts to decrease drug use among teens is an opinion of Michael Slater, an anti-drug campaign expert at Ohio State University, who expresses the same reasoning I propose as a possibile reason that anti-suicide efforts may increase suicide as the possible reason why anti-drug campaigns fail:
....part of the issue with these approaches might be that they "normalize" drug use. By doing that, some anti-drug campaigns inadvertently remove some of the stigma attached to illicit substances.
With all the increased pressure to talk to our kids about drugs, depression, and suicide, maybe we're making kids more likely to do drugs, be depressed, and commit suicide.
Furthermore, my children for example are increasingly exposed to ideas about suicide from their school. My children have been given surveys from the school asking about their attitudes regarding suicide. The guidance counselor has asked my son about suicide. Even at their yearly doctor's appointment they are asked if they are feeling suicidal or feel like hurting themselves.
And I wonder if anyone who is behind all of today's increased suicide prevention efforts has given good consideration to the possibility that asking so many questions about suicide and talking to kids so much about preventing suicide is actually normalizing the idea of suicide and making it seem like a common option for dealing with problems in life.
Every question, like when we ask people if they are feeling suicidal, is not simply a question. A question is also suggestive. When a person is asked if they are suicidal, they are being prompted not to just answer the question, but to also consider the idea of suicide even if they had never thought about it before.