Alexander McQueen kills himself…why do so many people take their lives?

World renowned fashion designer Alexander McQueen died yesterday. Being in London, it was big news here and I’m sure it made bulletins around the world. He apparently hanged himself, which is very sad news.

McQueen had Twittered recently that he was struggling to get his life back on track after his mum died earlier this month. He was due to showcase his next collection at London Fashion Week in March and it is a mystery as to why a man so successful and loved would want to do this to himself.

In England it is okay to report on suicide, even if the person isn’t famous, as long as the journalist does not release specific details. For example, reporters are allowed to say that the deceased died from an overdose, but are not allowed to state what drugs were swallowed and in what quantities. This is meant to prevent copycats from carrying out the same act.

In Australia, the ethical laws surrounding suicide are taken one step further. Unless it is a prominent person who killed themselves, it is not allowed to be reported. However, if the suicide story was something unusual then it may be talked about in the media. Something ‘unusual’ includes double suicides or suicides that injure someone else in the process.

I think that in Australia suicide needs to be discussed more. I’m not sure if I’m a firm believer in copycat scenarios – if someone wants to kill themselves they’ll do it, no matter the circumstance. I believe that by not discussing suicide it allows many Australians to turn a blind eye to the problem.

In Australia, more people die from suicide than in car accidents. This is a shocking statistic, yet it is one that is known by few. Certainly, when I was growing up I knew more people who had killed themselves than who had died in a car accident. It was tragic.

Why is there such a problem with depression in Australia? I’m not sure. All I know is that more awareness needs to be created around the issue, so that solutions can be found for suicide prevention. What do you think?

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3 Responses to “Alexander McQueen kills himself…why do so many people take their lives?”

  1. Kim Fisher Says:

    i think you need to take into account people “committing suicide” when they are really ending their lives in a dignified way. Not all suicides are “committed” (I hate that term) by people who are young and depressed. It seems a bit simplistic to focus on it that way.

    Also, McQueen’s story highlights the ridiculous notion that if you are famous or well respected, you can’t possibly be depressed. Perhaps he did seek help? Many well meaning people dismiss depression because they person seems to have it so good or are so successful etc. If it was taken more seriously, and seen as an illness, I really think the rates would drop.

    sorry for the long reply!

  2. carmentheaussie Says:

    No, I agree. But sometimes people who choose to die do it via euthanasia and I am all for that. Especially if they are suffering and in pain.

    I don’t think the term committed means anything other than the fact that they are ‘committed’ to the act. And if you kill yourself, I assume you must be. What do you think?

    No, I think many famous people are depressed, as depression doesn’t discriminate between the rich and poor. However, I just meant that he seemed happy and for those on the outside looking in, it came as a nasty shock.

    Yes, I think that people definately need to take the issue more seriously, which is one of the reasons why I’d like for it to be reported in the press more, rather than simply ignored.

  3. Kim Fisher Says:

    from what i’ve read, “committing” suicide comes from the old days when it was very very taboo and it was indeed against the law, hence the committing part, like it was a crime. it meant that people who suicided weren’t entitled to normal burial rights, especially if the church was involved. thankfully times have changed 🙂

    and yep, i wish euthanasia was legal. to die with dignity and choice should be a right.

    you’re right, it is a very sticky situation. i definitely agree with you that it should be reported on, i just wouldn’t trust many papers to do so in a sympathetic way, rather than following ‘if it bleeds, it leads’ and getting all sensational. jeez i’m cynical!

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