I am deeply concerned that the advert for Homovember in Southern Star Observer (issue 155) and its subsequent use as a picture in two news articles online depicts successful suicide to a community known to have an excessive rate of suicide.
The federal Government’s guidelines Mindframe, Reporting Mental Illness and Suicide, indicate that research shows that such depictions may lead to ‘copycat’ attempts by those who are vulnerable, or may encourage them to see suicide as an acceptable way of dealing with a problem.
The image of the feet of someone who has suicided, tells mentally unwell GLBTI people that other people feel like them, but they have suicide. Unfortunately, this depiction was in the context of perceived neglect of our community by Movember and beyondblue; such perception of neglect tends to drain hope all by itself.
Coming on the eve of Mental Health Week we need to know the future is in understanding hands and I believe the Star can lead the way. I call on all community organisations, media, advertisers, activists and individuals alike to affirm the principles of Mindframe, to join the StigmaWatch program of SANE Australia and to institute a pro-mental health policy. First do no more harm.