Suicide jokes are insensitive, not funny


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Despite teen mental health problems increasing at an alarming rate, suicide, and mental health is still joked about.

Stella Maximuk

In recent years, mental health and suicide have become incredibly destigmatized. The once “don’t talk about it and it won’t happen” topic was previously shunned from conversations, however, now the opposite is true. Talk about mental health is encouraged and normalized, but with this change, desensitization of it is also on the rise. 

Phrases such as “I’m going to kill myself,” or “I’m so depressed” are carelessly thrown around by many teenagers in response to common annoyances. Typically, these phrases are taken very seriously; however it’s recently become so normalized among teenagers that when said, many just laugh and agree. 

In reality, suicide and mental health problems aren’t a joke. According to the Centers for Disease Control, teenage mental health problems are rising at an alarming rate, especially for teenage girls and minorities. In 2021, 57% of girls were reported to feel persistently sad or hopeless, a 60% increase from 2011. Even more concerning, one out of three teenage girls seriously consider attempting suicide.

So why joke about it? 

Suicide is unbelievably tragic, and it leaves dark stains on those it’s touched, often affecting them for their entire lives. For someone to want to die, they have to be in unimaginable pain; completely hopeless and alone in their struggles. Does that intense pain and suffering amount to a few inconveniences, such as annoying homework or a bad test grade? It doesn’t.

It may seem funny for students to say they’d rather jump out a window than go to class or get hit by a car before they have to go work, but these statements aren’t just a joke. Humorizing suicide is not only insensitive to the tens of thousands of people that kill themselves per year and their devasted family and friends, but it can make actually suicidal people less inclined to speak up about their mental health problems. If suicide is joked about, chances are some people will treat suicide as a joke and not as the serious problem it is.  

Suicide is a complex topic, but typically, people do not actually want to die. They do, however, want to end their intense emotional pain and don’t always have the resources to do so. This pain can be so influential and tormenting that their decision-making skills and rationality is severely limited, causing suicide to appear to be the best option. 

In a quick life or death scenario, when people aren’t thinking rationally, help can go a long way and death can be prevented. However, this will only happen if suicide and talk of it is treated very seriously. When a mass amount of students joke about killing themselves, it can be harder to know who is joking and who is genuinely suicidal. In a generation where mental health problems are rampant and growing every year, these jokes can be extremely dangerous. Is it dark humor or a call for help? Suicide jokes will not help answer questions. 

Discussions on mental health is necessary, and it’s amazing that talk of suicide is no longer a taboo. However, what is happening now is the opposite extreme. Students are joking about a horribly sad topic and normalizing suicide when it should never be normalized. In 2021, one person died from suicide every 11 minutes in the U.S. Next time students make a joke about suicide, they need to think about the implications of their statements. Is saying you’re going to kill yourself over homework really funny?