We live in a society that is dominated by technology. An average human being will at least check some social media platform once a day. It keeps us connected and helps as gain knowledge into subjects we may not be familiar with. Or so it seems. We are living in the middle of a 'meme' culture in this generation. Except lately my social media feed has been driven by harmful, cruel and inconsiderate memes making mockery of something close to home to me, Suicide. I must talk about this and how we as a community need to try keep people safe from the repercussions of a Suicide. We also need to raise awareness so people can think twice before they comment on what may seem to them a 'harmless and light hearted' meme.
Now dont get me wrong, I have an open mind and a good sense of humour. I often laugh at a few tagged meme's here and there. I guess they are the harmless joys of the interwebs. You could be having a flat day and your friend will send you something you can relate to quite hard to remind you its just water of a ducks back (or how ever the saying goes). I get it. Its all fun and games. But there is some things we shouldn't joke about, Suicide being one of them. Just like we shouldn't joke about racism (I still see that happening in my news feed as well). I know I cannot control the behaviours people choose to engage in, but I can change their way of thinking by educating them on my experience with Suicide and mental illness.
Here are some examples of meme's on the internet you shouldn't be joking about. I will break them down for you and pin point the exact reason it can be harmful/offensive/shameful towards people with lived experience.
Self harm is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly. People self harm for different reasons, the main one is to cope with the amount of distressing emotions they may be experiencing through out an episode. This meme has totally disregarded the seriousness of self harm, with a 'I dont care and it doesn't directly impact me' attitude. It totally invalidates how the person is feeling. Teenagers also turn to self harm when young as a way to cope with bullying. There is nothing funny about this meme at all.
Another meme that may seem harmless to others. The way someone ends their life should not be a laughing matter. This also encourages methods that are used when someone suicides. There is no 'starter pack' for someone who wants to hurt themselves horrifically. We should be preventing Suicide, not making mockery of the methods people use.
This meme assumes that everyone who is Suicidal, resorts to killing themselves when a problem arises. Everyone's experience with Suicide is different. This meme is highly damaging as the picture 'jokes' about the employee wanting to hang himself because a difficult task may be presented. Suicide doesn't solve any problems, Suicide costs people their lives.
This one probably seems really harmless to everyone on the internet right now. 13 Reasons Why is a popular Netflix series where the main character Hannah makes 13 tapes to explain the reasoning behind why she took her own life. These memes assume that Hannah's feelings were invalid and she took her life 'for no reason'. If you watch the show in great detail, you will see there are specific traumatic events built up and triggered Hannah into a Suicide. What may seem small to you may be someone else's hell. We cannot poke fun at how someone plans or narrates a Suicide. Everyone's experiences are different. It can take a tiny thing like that to push someone who is mentally ill/impaired over the edge.
These meme's are just a handful of the 1000's readily available that poke fun at Suicide/Suicide ideations. Anyone who has ever been in that frame of mind needs support and validation. You cant just shrug off the seriousness of death. You wouldn't make fun of any other death occurring, why is Suicide different?