Thursday, 21 September 2017

Mainstream media and suicide

When it comes to mainstream media and the topic of suicide, unless you're a paid professional or have a high public profile, being heard is pretty much impossible.

When I decided on a release date for my book Suicide; Aftermath and Beyond I sent emails to every mainstream media house I could think of.
Some of them I attempted to contact multiple times.
The response was a resounding silence. Nothing. Nothing at all.
All I wanted was someone to do a small article on my book and outline the reasons why I wrote it and why I believe it can help a few people.
But, alas, nobody was the slightest bit interested.
Not even enough to reply to tell me to go away.

Except for one.
When I contacted Duncan Garner some time ago to inquire about getting on his AM show to tell a different side of the story to what's usually told via his usual guest stars, I was initially met with silence and when I kept inquiring I was met with a response that told me 'I would get you on the show but frankly you're coming across as a bit aggressive' and it finished up pretty much telling me to 'fuck off'.
And so it goes.
But hey, at least he took the time to tell me to fuck off, nobody else did!
So, in that moment the high regard in which I held Duncan instantly became the opposite.

Until another famous person dies by suicide, all the mainstream media will be interested in are suicide stories about conflict.
Stories that sell newspapers or bait people to click links using sensational headlines.
They may even run the odd story here and there featuring the same person/people saying the same old stuff while advocating for change. 

I've now completely quit trying to get any mainstream media outlet interested in anything I have to say.
My book is not for profit, it's all been funded out of my own pocket and all I don't really care if I don't even cover the cost of it all, it's not about that.
I just want people to see a different side of the suicide story, one that doesn't start and finish with the mental health system and how it's failing everyone. 
A story that's not one of depression and mental illness, but about suicide through the eyes of an ordinary New Zealander, not a celebrity.

My book, through some great advice and some effort, is starting to make it's way into public libraries which gives me confidence that it will be read and it might even help a few people.
I'm waiting to hear back from a couple of distributors too, hopefully someone wants to run with it.

So, mainstream media, this is where you and I part ways.
I will not make any more approaches, because despite what you all portray, you don't actually care.
If it doesn't increase your ratings, sell a paper, or get a click you don't care.

If any media person reads this, feel free to make contact.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

World Suicide Prevention Day. 10th September 2017

10th September is world suicide prevention day.
If I'm honest, I really don't know what that means.
Nobody really seems to care, unless it affects them directly.

I haven't written a blog post for a couple of weeks, since I posted about the latest (abysmal) New Zealand suicide statistics which were released at the end of August.
As I suspected, now the dust has settled a bit, the mainstream media have pretty much dropped that subject in favour of other stuff which is more palatable to a starving public.
It seems that the media aren't interested in anything that isn't either sensational, criminal, celebrity, sporting or political.
Sadly, when it comes to suicide, unless it's a celebrity who died, a celebrity talking about it, a political argument, a failing system or something to do with money, the mainstream media won't touch it.
The media thrive on conflict rather than solution/resolution.

So, suicide prevention.
What is it?
There seems to be a common misconception that it involves the pulling of a person back from the edge, wrestling the gun from their hands, taking the rope off them or somehow preventing the person from going through with it at that moment.
I believe that could be why people shy away from talking about it.
That's not what it means.
Suicide prevention in my humble, unqualified, uneducated opinion, can be much simpler.
What if you could do something months or even years before a person reaches the point where they no longer want to live - would you do it?
What if you could do something but it meant you would never, ever know whether it had a positive influence on a persons thinking, would you do it?
What if you could do something that would see you receive absolutely no reward for doing it, but it might have a positive influence on another person for years to come, would you be able to do that?
Or are you too selfish?

The most simple form of suicide prevention is within reach of everyone.
Just be a decent person, show a little kindness and expect nothing in return.
A smile, a nod. A back slap.
Simple acts of kindness can be all a person who doesn't see much of it needs.

Tomorrow, 10th September will be a day of reflection for me, the last couple of weeks have been draining for me mentally.
With the book Suicide; Aftermath and Beyond becoming available, the 4th anniversary of Brett's suicide and one of our employees Dad taking his own life in the UK all falling on 1st September, it's fair to say I was overloaded emotionally.

I have a few ideas rattling around in my head and once the election is over and the political landscape in New Zealand becomes whatever it is to become, I will decide which direction I go in.
I suspect we are going to see some major political upheaval after 23rd September and the formation of the new government may not be as clear cut as it should be.

If I go in any direction at all.