September 24, 2019

Kilmartin Interviewed About Suicide and Other Trauma in the Media

Professor Emeritus of Psychology Christopher Kilmartin

Professor Emeritus of Psychology Christopher Kilmartin

Professor Emeritus of Psychology Christopher Kilmartin was interviewed about Netflix’s decision to remove a suicide scene from its popular show “13 Reasons Why.”

“People can be affected by any kind of disturbing content in media,” Kilmartin said. “An astounding number of U.S. college students report that they have experienced mild traumatic symptoms such as sleeplessness, anxiety, and intrusive thoughts as the result of seeing violence or other forms of horror in movies. I think that suicidal thoughts are tremendously upsetting and seeing a graphic dramatization of a suicide can be especially traumatic for them.”

“Also, many people have loved ones who have attempted or committed suicide and these scenes could trigger acute grief reactions and/or survivor guilt,” he continued. “When a person decides to watch something, it becomes difficult to turn back immediately upon seeing or hearing a disclaimer.  Moreover, they may not even pay attention to it.”

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