Many of today’s generation will think the title of this post inappropriate, uncaring, insensitive or any variations on this theme but in fact it paraphrases a song from generations ago (the seventies), “Suicide Is Painless”. It may be heard nowadays as the the theme for the oft-rerun TV series, M.A.S.H..
This an article written by Doug Golightly, Radio and TV sports journalist, and I reproduce it here in the hope that it will help get the message out- suicide is not a matter to be joked about, nor treated flippantly. I agree with what Golightly says here, and I hope you do, too.
“No doubt there will be plenty of New Year’s resolutions, goals and objectives set as we look forward to 2014. I’d like to think we’ll start to take New Zealand’s suicide epidemic seriously.
In the year to June around 540 people had taken their own lives and, sadly, the statistics suggest the figures will be around that number again.
I’m often asked “But what can we do?” As a bloke where sport has been an integral part of my life I’d like to think that references to suicide made in a sporting context will be, and can be, given the red card. It happened the other day during the Ashes test when Shane Warne commented that a run-out had been “suicidal”. Not quite Shane but it’s sickening how often the term is used in this context.
At the Rugby Awards last month referee of the year Chris Pollock flippantly said that Ireland coach Joe Schmidt looked as though he’d “hang himself” after the last minute win by the All Blacks in Dublin. It showed a lack of understanding, compassion and common-sense but the throwaway comment illustrates how this issue is, by and large, taken for granted here.
So when you hear anyone say something similar then pull them up on it.
Ask them why they used the term and whether it’s appropriate?
If you hear it on radio or TV then note it on FB, Twitter or some other social media platform.
Same goes for the term “political suicide” to describe some indiscretion or stuff-up made by one of our many politicians.
It’s not appropriate or relevant.
I would like to think my colleagues in the media would take a stand on this. We have to make a difference.
Happy New Year to you. Enjoy 2014.”
Thanks, Doug Golightly.