Suicide awareness in the media

As Suicide Prevention month draws to a close, it’s important to recognize the different books, films and music that seek to support struggling young people

Maggie Blackburn, Assistant Editor, Arts and Culture

The month of September is recognized as National Suicide Prevention Month with the goal of informing people of ways to prevent suicide and regard the warning signs. Suicide awareness and information is in our everyday media, and as we move into October, it’s important to shed more light on the subject, and highlight some books, movies and songs that appropriately represent mental health. 


“All The Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven

“All The Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven is a novel, originally published in 2015, and came out as a movie in 2020. The book is a young adult fiction novel that follows the story of two suicidal teens, Finch and Violet. They work to help each other heal because they are the only ones that truly understand each other. They meet at the top of a bell tower, both with suicidal intentions, although both leave the tower alive and safe. The novel follows the truth of mental illnesses, including depression and bipolar disorder. It portrays the impact of losing someone to suicide can have on a person, being that this was a true story from Niven’s life. 


“Dear Evan Hansen”

Musical and now movie, “Dear Evan Hansen” follows the main character, Evan as he unintentionally gets stuck in a lie about his relationship to a boy who committed suicide. The entire movie expresses the importance of normalizing mental health and how crucial awareness could be to helping someone. In the movie, the song “Anonymous Ones,” sung by actress Amandla Stenberg, who plays the character Alana Black, is a great representation of mental health and how sometimes you never know if someone is struggling. When you really listen to the lyrics they are truly moving. She sings, “All of those anonymous ones who never name that quiet pain they bury.” Not just during September, but all year, we need to make sure to provide safe spaces so no one ever has to feel like they have to hide. Having just one person to talk to could save a life. She also sings, “The parts we can’t tell, we carry them well But that doesn’t mean they’re not heavy.”  It is also important to be attentive to the fact that it’s not always obvious who might be struggling, which is why it’s vital to take notice of early warning signs.


“Sara” by We Three

The musical group, We Three, first debuted on season 13 of “America’s Got Talent,” singing a tribute song to their mother who passed away from cancer. Although they did not win the season, they have continued as a family band, and have consistently produced music. In 2019, they came out with an EP “We’re All Messed up – but It’s Ok” with one of the songs titled “Sara.” It is about a girl named Sara and her struggle with mental health that ultimately ends with her committing suicide. Throughout the song her mental health is deteriorating, while no one notices or understands. One of the lyrics says, “But the truth is you don’t wanna let your secret out ’cause they think it’s wrong for you to take a different route.” Because of the negative stigma against mental health, Sara is scared to express her struggles. The sibling band sings, “All the words you’d written down of why it was time for you to leave” and continues with “’Cause they finally see what was happening underneath their nose and underneath your sleeves.” This lyric shows how people only care or notice once it is too late. They had missed the warning signs, which is why suicide awareness is so crucial in society.

In honor of Suicide Prevention Month, it is important we all take a step back to check on all of our loved ones. Suicide affects everyone in a community, so it is crucial to spread awareness and inform as many people as possible. Mental health is often overlooked, but as the third leading cause of death in teenagers is suicide, it is vital that we have outlets, and get rid of the fear of speaking up about mental health struggles.