This article and associated podcast episode deals heavily with the topics of suicide and depression. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, don’t hesitate to reach out to someone you trust, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. You are never alone.
Joe and Christian Massa are the brothers and filmmakers who created My Suicide Story, an ongoing web series featuring survivors of attempted suicide who share their powerful stories of survival and how each of them now passionately advocates for suicide prevention. Through the impact of the powerful docu-series, the Massa brothers hope to spread awareness for those struggling with depression or suicidal ideation.
Their 2016 silent short film, Pressure, was about a young man battling dark thoughts and suicidal ideations. After seeing the film, the brothers’ friend Kenny reached out and shared that he’d attempted to take his own life a few years prior. Kenny’s story was the beginning of My Suicide Story, which later turned into a series after an influx of support from viewers and other survivors.
In this globalized era, there are countless factors that may lead someone to spiral toward depressive thoughts. While depression is not always brought on by external factors or events, it certainly can be, and it’s important that people suffering in these experiences know they aren’t alone and that it’s never too late to seek support.
The Negative Impact of Social Media
Kids and teens are experiencing “astronomical” rising rates of depression and suicidal thoughts in the last few years, and experts point to social media as one of the top culprits. Suicide is listed as the second leading cause of death in young people aged 10 to 24, and suicide rates have tripled in kids aged 10 to 14 since 2007. 67% of teens in 2015 felt that social media made them feel worse about their own lives.
Social media can pull anyone into a spiral of negative comparison, especially vulnerable youth and teens. Adults are susceptible to the negative effects of social media as well. In an age where everyone on the internet is carefully curating their online selves to appear happy, fit, and successful, it’s not surprising so many people experience hopelessness and self-esteem issues after too many hours online. However, it’s important to remember that everyone experiences lows and bad days– it’s just that they’re rarely shared on the internet. You’re never alone.
2020 was an upside-down year for businesses all over the world. The United States is experiencing unprecedented tumultuous waves in its economy, for better or for worse. No wonder entrepreneurs and small business owners report increased stress and distress after the last twelve months. There are many related factors that could lead to despair in the business world, from stressing about the bottom line, to lost investments, to comparing yourself to the competition.
Joe and Christian share that from their experiences listening to survivors’ stories, men in particular seem more inclined to suffer in silence because of societal pressures to appear “masculine.” But the reality is that plenty of men and boys struggle with depression and suicidal ideation, especially those in the business and entrepreneurial world. Don’t let the constant grind for success prevent you from reaching out and getting lifesaving support. You’re never alone.
Pressure in Isolation
Depression has also been on the rise in the past year due to the lengthy quarantine brought on by the pandemic. Unable to socialize or leave their homes, more and more people have reported thoughts of hopelessness, depression, or suicidal ideation.
However, many businesses have shared reports about increased morale, productivity, work-life balance, and employee mental health since adapting to remote work environments. In most cases, what employees miss about on-site work is interacting with each other. People are craving interaction and socialization after feeling isolated and helpless for so long. You are not alone.
Whatever the Reason, You’re Not Alone
The Massa brothers also share that many people struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts will go out of their way to hide any warning signs or symptoms because they don’t want anyone to know they’re suffering; they don’t want to burden anyone with their despair. Sometimes, it’s your happy, funny, outgoing friends that are silently suffering because they use humor to mask their despair.
Regardless of the catalyst that sends someone into a depressive spiral (if there was a catalyst at all), it’s important to listen and hold compassionate space for anyone in your life that may be struggling. Joe and Christian’s powerful and intimate docu-series can help folks feel understood and less alone, but the most important thing is to set aside judgment and simply listen.