A Millennial's View on Suicide

Author: Davorian Ware

The recent suicide of Anthony Bourdain has left much of the nation, and indeed the world, shaken. A man who was one-part caustic and two parts caring, trying to bridge the ultimate gap of culture in the best possible way, through our stomachs. Suicide is not easy to talk about, and no one is immune to it. It doesn’t matter how wealthy you are, how popular or famous you might be, nor does it matter what your ethnicity is. Suicide can hit anyone.

I am considered a millennial. It seems that many news articles, blogs, and other media pieces appear to be about what millennial tends are harming the world. Mental health is another area that we are trending in. Our mental health and risk of suicide has increased steadily over the last decade as recorded by the National Institute of Mental Health. Mental health has always, unfortunately, had a negative stigma. That negative stigma has been exacerbated by some of our politicians’ misrepresentation of mental health (serial killers and mass shooters are sometimes the only ones that have mental health issues in some of their eyes) and by the distorted images we see in the media. Since open dialogue is often eschewed, we only absorb representation from what we see on television or hear in the media. We are at a point in history where life is a display. The things you eat, watch, listen to, the people you hang out with or the people you hate are all posted, or are expected to be posted somewhere it can be seen and judged. 

It seems that because lives are marketed, liked, tweeted, followed, it has pushed all of what causes us distress on center stage. NBC reports, “Researchers at the University of Bath and York St. Johns University have identified extreme levels of "perfectionism" among young people in the U.S., Canada, and Britain, associated with intense levels of depression and anxiety.” Moreover, three studies reported in the Washington Post indicate there is evidence for a strong link to social media and depression. The studies monitored the trend of happiness comparing it to how much time spent on social media. Social media is where many millennials spend a good chunk of their time.

Additionally, as the Center For Disease Control and Prevent (CDC) reports suicide rates have steadily increased to become the second leading cause of death for millennials. Forty percent of the unemployed are millennials, and this is despite the fact that we are also the most educated generation. This also accounts for our increased reports in stress levels due to ballooning student loan debt. A protective factor that helps make people more cohesive in their society is family. Unfortunately, almost fifty percent of millennial parents are single parents. 

On the bright side, with more and more research going into mental health and suicide prevention we see protests, lobbying, and some politicians having open talks about mental health. While we may be the most vulnerable today to be pushed into mental distress, we also have the greatest capacity to fight against the obstacles of getting help. NPR states that millennials are more likely to do self-care like therapy than previous generations. Our generation has done a better job at talking about topics like suicide which was, and partially still is, considered taboo. As a recent Pew Research Center study points out, our generation is more engaged in changing. We are more openminded and ready to make a difference. 

I am asking, nay, begging for anyone, everyone to be more vocal about suicide and other mental health issues. Be more willing to listen, to not simply sympathize but empathize. I feel that we all know someone who was suicidal at some point, or at least we know someone who knows someone. Prevention isn’t about hiding it. It is about accepting what is true and doing everything you can to remedy the situation. There is a lot of help out there and encouragement to get that help. Speak up!

If you want to learn more about suicide, contact Ashleigh Diserio Consulting, and we will do our best to address your needs.

ashleigh diserio suicide.jpg

Ashleigh Diserio Consulting works with individuals and organizations, assisting them in gleaning insight into a person’s life, motivation, and past and future behavior, so certain areas of behavior can be understood with a high degree of accuracy. We provide services in the areas of criminal and intelligence investigations, management support, threat assessment, insider threat support, and education and training.