Romanticizing Suicide and Mental Health


Lea Flavier

Today, topics surrounding mental health are rapidly easing their way into mainstream media despite being a long-stigmatized and taboo topic in all parts of the world. Because of the hardships and strains it causes to affected persons, it would be hard to picture a future where it is especially glorified. Unfortunately, with the open conversations regarding mental health in recent years inevitably becomes its misrepresentation in mass media.

More often than none, mental illnesses have been alarmingly presented to the masses with the harmful imagery of finding beauty in tragedy. This has been the case in music, books, television shows, and many other forms of media. The sudden popularity it gained means there is a steadily growing community that treats it more as an accessory attached to a certain personality they desire to perceive – an aesthetic to conform to. Terminologies such as manic pixie dream girl, femcel, and heroin chic all perpetuate harmful stereotypes with the pretense of trendiness; an exceptionally prevalent problem in social media, especially in spaces targeted toward a young audience. 

While its normalization is greatly encouraged, it should be emphasized that it is not something that should be celebrated. Inaccurately depicting and needlessly glamorizing mental illnesses does nothing to contribute to their destigmatization and only furthers misinformation about a topic that shouldn’t be taken lightly. In 2020 alone, 45,979 Americans died from suicide with an estimated 1.20 million suicide attempts. Moving forward, it should be our responsibility to demand accurate portrayals of mental disorders, and hold media outlets accountable for their harmful dramatizations and sensationalizing of such a grave topic.