Heavy Metal Bands Advocating for Suicide Prevention

This article originally appeared on a now defunct website named Komorebi Post.

While suicide is a difficult topic, we need to talk about it now more than ever. 

Man with head in his hands, sitting in a field. Photo by Francisco Gonzalez on Unsplash. Heavy Metal bands advocating for suicide prevention, www.marianamcdougall.com

Worldwide, almost 800,000 people die by suicide each year. That’s one person every 40 seconds. Mental illness, especially depression, is often cited as one of the major factors leading to suicide. But over the years, other things have been blamed for our rising suicide rates. Some believe video games play a part. Others point fingers at absent parents. Yet others suggest some TV shows aren’t helping. But perhaps the cultural phenomenon that receives the most blame for suicide deaths is heavy metal music.

Heavy metal’s long and difficult history as a scapegoat for suicide

Grieving parents, confused scholars, and shocked communities have often blamed heavy metal music for individual suicide cases. Singers and bands such as Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest, Slayer, and more have even been taken to court as families try to come to terms with tragedy.

In 1985, Ozzy Osbourne’s music was blamed for the suicide of a California teenager. Although the case was thrown out in 1986, there are still those who believe Osbourne’s music encourages fans to take their own lives. In 1990, two families sued the band Judas Priest after two fans took their lives. The young men had been listening to the band’s albums before committing suicide. 

The arguments that heavy metal bands drive fans—especially teenage fans—to suicide continue, even when the evidence is scarce. And it’s no wonder. When tragedy occurs, laying blame is often easier than dealing with our difficult emotions, and it provides a focus outside of our conflicted thoughts about loss. But blaming music for the death of loved ones is neither productive nor well-informed. And while the scapegoating continues, some heavy metal bands are using their platforms to do the exact opposite of what they’re often blamed for: they’re working to prevent suicide deaths.

 

Heavy Metal Bands advocating for suicide prevention. www.marianamcdougall.com. Photo of a hand in an ocean. Photo by Ian Espinosa on Unsplash

Heavy Metal Bands and Suicide Prevention

While some believe that violent lyrics can influence already confused young people, Disturbed fans would beg to differ. That’s because David Draiman, the lead singer of the band, has been personally affected by suicide. It took several years, but he finally worked through his pain with the song “Inside the Fire.”

In the song, he recounts the image he had when he was staring at the coffin of his ex-girlfriend, who took her own life. And in the video for the song, Draiman gets personal. In an introduction before the video begins, he explain his experience dealing with tragedy, and provides the number for the Suicide Prevention Hotline.

Another band working to help prevent suicide is Five Finger Death Punch. With the song “Coming Down,” the band offers the perspective of someone struggling to stay “away from the ledge.” In the poignant video for the song, two teenager’s painful experiences are recounted, and by the end of the song, a simple act is shown that prevents their suicide. The video ends with the words “One friend can save a life,” and the suicide prevention hotline number is shown on the screen.

 

Some will always need a scapegoat for the tragedy of suicide, and heavy metal bands, with their often violent lyrics, provide an easy target. However, these two bands are proving that while exercising their right to creativity, they can also make positive change in the world.

Emotional Eating Is a Form of Self-Harm

Emotional eating. Behavioural Eating. Disordered Eating. Food Addiction. There are so many names for it, but no one ever calls it what it is.

Self-harm.

Emotional eating is a form of self-harm. And most people who engage in this behaviour, myself included, don’t see it. We see it as comforting ourselves. Even when it just makes us feel worse. It’s time we call our own selves out on it.

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My Mess Threshold: When Chaos Makes You Anxious

Chaos can make you anxious – even if you’re someone who’s used to chaos.

Creative people tend to have a reputation for being messy and disorganized. Until very recently, I didn’t fit the mold for that stereotype. I used to be a hyper-organized person. I even spent 7 years as a military clerk. You can’t get much more organized than a military administrative professional. But having children changed everything. It’s much harder to be organized when there’s several people in a household and where there are a million things that all have to get done at once. I went from hyper-organized to hyper-messy. And, because I’m brave (or stupid), I’ve decided to let you in on my dirty little secret: I’m a messy person. And I’m even going to let you in on how messy I’ve really become. Despite my attempts to have my most organized year ever, my house currently looks like this:

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Put the fork down – you’ve had enough.

This post originally appeared on The Huffington Post.

You’re sitting at the table, looking at the wonderfully delicious piece of chocolate cake you’re about to devour for dessert. It smells and looks just as wonderful as it’ll probably taste. But as you look down, you see the muffin top coming out of your jeans, and you start having second thoughts.

Put the fork down. You’ve had enough.

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