Posted in Mental Health, Reflections

Does the world need to know details of a suicide?

© Clr Wishing for advancement in mental illness
© Clr Wishing for advancement in mental illness

I was watching a news video from California yesterday detailing how Robin Williams took his life. The more graphic the person got, the more my mouth opened in shock! Why must anyone hear these details? I don’t think I have ever heard news reported in such an intrusive and detailed way here at home, but then again, I try to stay away from the news.

I was looking for lists of movies and comedy shows to watch and be reminding of Robin Williams’ LIFE and not how he ended it.

The WORLD is WATCHING and listening to these details, young and old, vulnerable people in excruciating pain are watching too. I find this terribly inappropriate and extremely invasive on his life. I can’t even imagine how close friends and family feel about this. Why make a circus out of this tragedy?

Do you know how close thousands of people come “this”  to succeeding in taking their lives? I only speak to a handful of people compared to the world that suffers from various degrees of mental illness. I hear youths give me details and I weep at the image of this at the same time am thankful an angel led him or her to phone our service.

In the old days, we did not say if a person had taken their life and I had mixed feelings about that. Of course it is no one’s business who did not know a person personally, but for family at least, that truth needs to be dealt with, the grief, the guilt and agony of knowing how much their loved one was suffering. So I thought, “Well, we do need to talk about it. It does happen. But WHY the details?”

I don’t get the purpose if not only for the media to sensationalize AGAIN and profit from this tragedy. Shame on YOU!

I was sad two days ago driving home hearing of this tragic death; I searched the net for movies and sitcoms and fired up my Netflix to watch a few clips and laughed. It felt good for I don’t think he would have wanted the world to remember how he ended his life but more HOW HE LIVED IT and what he gave to the world.

I cringe thinking the negative impact the media is giving to those who suffer day after day…when that thought lingers for many ALWAYS at the back of their minds. And all I can say is please don’t give in to that gnawing thought…as a youth, you can reach out in Canada to Kids Help Phone 1 800 668 6868,(24 hours, anonymous service)  which also offers Live Chat Thursday to Sunday from 18:00 to midnight. For adults there are many resources but since this blog reaches all over the world, I am not going to add any except for 911.  If anyone wants to add, feel free.

I have always called the youths who call here my heroes for they have the strength to reach out for help and I can only imagine how difficult that must be.  The true heroes all over the world are those who fight their battle of mental illness that drive them to such darkness we cannot comprehend and still manage to get through yet, another day…many times it is one hour at a time.  They are true heroes.

© Clr 14-08-13



A little bit about moi: I am a mom, a nana, a sister, a woman, a friend, a human being…a youth counsellor, Family Life Educator. I have been working in the helping profession for over 25 years and volunteered in various capacities from youths to seniors. Tournesol is my nom de plume for haiku and other Japanese form poetry here at Tournesoldansunjardin I hope you enjoy reading through my daily waka. I also have another blog "Stop the Stigma" where I may stand on my soapbox now and then and hope it will become a place to drop in and share or comment on issues important to you. In that vein this could be a great way to learn from each other. Namaste!

24 thoughts on “Does the world need to know details of a suicide?

      1. You’re absolutely right! Media serves mostly media’s needs: it sells fear, hate, and amusement, not reality. Ratings are God to media, not any useful social function. Viewers own responsibility too, by giving ratings without good judegment.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Absolutely, television and social networks need to be monitored better for especially young children and teens…not to censor but to protect them…and know what they are reading to help them and sometimes to help parents understand the world of their youths just a bit better.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. We don’t need the details, what we need is being told “here is a place where someone who is also suffering can gain help. and I wish that this great man had been able to do it.”

    The first I heard of his death in the same article we were asked to be respectful of him and his family. Is it so hard to give someone the same care you would want back?


  2. What shocked me (well I haven’t seen the news as I am in travelling in China) but read that how terrible and mean people were in leaving comments on his daughter’s twitter account. Life being so public and accessible doesn’t give the right to say mean things to a computer… remember a real person is on the other end grieving a loss of a parent. 😦 It sickens me to think how people can be so cruel, thoughtless and forgetting that important point.


    1. Totally agree. People feel entitled to give their opinions when they are anonymous:( I read something Zelda, his daughter, said that for those saying bad things to her family, she is sending pigeons to poop on their houses.:)


  3. I very much agree with you about the media’s sensationalization of tragic news stories. In this instance I haven’t heard them, because I haven’t had the t.v. on, but I’m not surprised by what you say. The couple of times I heard reports on the radio they were focusing on the importance of talking to someone when you are depressed and giving out the crisis line information. I’m glad I missed the circus they turned his death into. Like you, that is not how I want to remember him.

    Thank you for writing this post.


  4. I agree completely. No one needs to know the details surrounding this tragic situation. Media plasters this everywhere for the world to see. Then not only does that continually haunt the family and friends of this person, but it also gives those with depression ideas for suicide and maybe even the “okay”. It’s not okay and it shouldn’t be plastered everywhere for all to see. Media can be a very dangerous thing.


  5. I absolutely agree with you regarding the details. Have the media NO conscious left? Like you, I cannot even begin thinking how his family is reeling under all this tragedy, and having to deal with the details the media are spreading all over the place. I cried for 2 days when I found out about Robin, but like you I want to remember him for his brilliancy! Like you I say SHAME ON THOSE who are revealing such personal horrors. Is there no decency left? xx Amy


  6. I completely agree with you! In the olde traditions, people did not speak badly of the dead, or criticized. It was considered very bad for the living people and family who loved someone. We do not speak bad of the day, we remember their light, as their light lives on in our memories and in our hearts. This is the way, to be respectful. I am not against saying how a person died tho’, truth needs to be out there, but it is terrible to go into such detail! Robin Williams life accounted to more than how he died. He gave considerably to shelters for the poor, and helped so many people with his volunteer work. He shared his light on stage and in film, he gave of himself in his performances. He was a true person, Why cannot the media focus on his beauty? Death is but a moment in a life….


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