Media and suicide
Wristcutters, a Love Story, a new film by After Dark Films, follows several characters who have killed themselves on a road trip through purgatory. According to After Dark Films co-owner Courtney Solomon, its message is that "love is better than suicide." Given the company's film making history, I am a little leery but who knows. It could be a great, life affirming film.

The proposed ad campaign, however, is definitely a little "over the top." Especially when you consider that in today's media driven culture, you and your children will likely be subjected to it at every turn.
After Dark Films co-owner Courtney Solomon said late Friday that while the film's promotion may feature images of people jumping off a bridge, electrocuting and hanging themselves, they would be displayed as traffic-style stop or yield signs with a barring-style circle and line over the illustrations, along with hearts to reference the film's romantic story line. He said the campaign may change before its mid-July rollout because of the outcry. Hollywood Reporter
The outcry is coming from several suicide prevention groups who worry that the message delivered may romanticize suicide and influence young people negatively.
"You don't see people making fun of other causes of death, but you see it with suicide and mental illness," suicide prevention foundation executive director Robert Gebbia said. AFSP's separate March 9 letter, written to Solomon and After Dark financier Allan Zeman, stated, "(We) know from more than 30 years of scientific research that media portrayals of suicide can be inadvertently harmful to vulnerable individuals, leading to what behavioral scientists call suicide contagion or 'copycat suicide.' Recent research confirms that young people in particular are vulnerable to this effect and can tragically act on depictions of suicide." Ibid.
Solomon graciously expressed that he hoped the signs "don't cause too many accidents."

But of course, a related death or two would dramatically increase the film's visibility and potential profit.

I suppose it is time to get prepared to answer some troubling questions from young children if the campaign goes forward. After all, we wouldn't want to be accused of sheltering our children from the world.

Hat Tip: Education Wonks

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