Depression Treatment: Coping With Suicide and Social Media
Therapists across the US have experienced an increase in phone calls from individuals seeking depression treatment, especially in the last few months. In fact, in June it was reported that suicide rates have risen nearly 30% since 1999, making this a national crisis. Awareness of suicides appears to also be on the rise due to coverage in the news and on social media. Nearly every U.S. state, since the late 1990s, has been effected and suicide now claims over 45,000 lives a year.
The recent deaths of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, 61, and fashion designer Kate Spade, 55, underscore the growing suicide rate among an unexpected group: middle-aged adults. Suicide does not discriminate; it is not a “celebrity” situation. People of all walks of life are seeking depression treatment to cope with suicidal thoughts or loss due to suicide. Those who struggle with loss, depression and suicidal thoughts may feel overwhelmed, frightened, alone, because suicide carries a full spectrum of judgment and criticism, both internally and externally.
The information age has changed the way in which we live and communicate. Almost daily, through social media, we see posts from those expressing feelings of loss and confusion as a result of suicide. Social platforms are usually the first place people turn because it brings the most immediate response. Within minutes of posting, “I wish this would all just go away”, “I wonder how many would miss me if I were gone”, “I’m so angry with her for quitting life”, and the like – others offer likes, love, prayers, condolences, validation, support, etc. These posts open up the judgment and opinions of their social peers. Although it is not difficult to understand the damage a judgmental, harsh comment can do to an already delicate situation/psyche; less obvious is the implied harm of well-intentioned words on a large population of depressed individuals.
Terri has worked with many on the effects of social media and peer groups on depression. When a person is feeling isolated and overwhelmed, one harsh comment can cut deeply. Likewise, there may be quite a few of the tens of hundreds who may see the post and the harsh and kind words, who are not as comfortable sharing their feelings of depression/grief.
Consider the potentially damaging effects of even kind condolences could have in this scenario:
Middle-aged woman struggling with suicidal thoughts, finds herself wondering if her life is worth living. Feeling depressed is overwhelming and she feels she has no one to turn to for support; no one who understands her. She is on Facebook and she sees a friend from high school expressing her grief over her son’s suicide. She hits “comment” to add her condolences and the comment above hers says, “He is in a much better place.”
Those words may seem comforting; however, to the depressed those words may actually seem like a viable solution. Terri wants you to know there are other solutions which provide help and suicide is not the answer.
Social media is a great way to stay connected, on some level, with friends and family without the limits of location; however, social media is not recommended for those seeking a safe forum for healing. Depression treatment is designed to help both those with suicidal thoughts and those who may be coping with the effects of loss due to the suicide of someone close, through one-on-one contact in a safe, judgment-free, setting.
Terri Clinton Dichiser, a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in Kansas and Missouri, believes healing and understanding go together. With depression treatment, most of life’s issues can be managed and maintained through a consistent, commitment to you. Terri provides a safe, comfortable environment that allows you to put your thoughts and feeling into words, without fear of criticism or judgment. Call Terri Clinton Dichiser at Take Charge, Inc. at 913-239-8255 to schedule an appointment.
Crisis resources include the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at 800-273-8255 or text CONNECT to 741741 in the U.S.
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