This is why I wish the media had never jumped on the band wagon of repeatedly covering these horrible suicides. By turning those teens into martyrs, we are unfortunately encouraging more teens to do the same.
The same applies to the lawsuits against the schools. If those parents win those lawsuits, teens could see this as a way to help their families make ends meet.
(Philadelphia) The experts call it “contagion” when a suicide or rash of suicides inspires others to follow in an attempt at martyrdom or solidarity in death.
Most people would call them copycat suicides. Whatever the name, it appears to have been at play in at least one suicide since Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi’s highly publicized jump off the George Washington Bridge. And experts fear that other recent suicides might fit the mold or that more are ahead.
That creates a conundrum for advocates who want to stop teenage bullying and their related suicides, as well as for the media outlets that cover them: how to spread the word without romanticizing the problem or unwittingly encouraging vulnerable teenagers to choose death.
“They may see this as a somewhat glamorous ending – that the youth got lots of attention, lots of sympathy, lots of national concern that they never got in life,” said Anara Guard, a senior adviser at the Boston-based Suicide Prevention Resource Center. “The second possible factor is that vulnerable youth may feel like, ‘If they couldn’t cut it, neither can I.’”