All of the attention on actor Owen Wilson’s attempted suicide this week has worried health experts of depressed fans trying to successfully copy Wilson’s actions. Seeing an admired person with wealth and fame hit rock bottom can inspire them to do the same, especially if they are battling depression. Since suicide attempts are much more prominent than suicide deaths, it is a matter of stopping these people before they even try to attempt, just to reduce the risk of attempts alone.

           Suicides are said to be the 11th cause of death among Americans. A number of factors combined can cause depression and make a person suicidal including mental disorders, substance abuse, and extreme stress. Celebrities are very succeptible to all of these conditions which makes Wilson’s actions both shocking yet understandable. Nobody knows what caused him to do what he did, and at the same time, it isn’t the public’s business to know. However, for the average person, health experts say that it is important for loved ones to find out before they take Wilson’s attempt as a calling to do the same.

           This is not the first time that suicide has struck Hollywood. Some successful attempts have been undergone by Freddie Prinze, Kurt Cobain, and Marilyn Monroe. More recently, professional wrestler Chris Benoit took his own life along with his family.  It seems like every generation has their own celebrity sucide tragedy, and it was only a matter of time before it struck again. The media may not help in lowering the risk of copy cat suicides.  The more information that leaks out, the better a person can copy the act. This was true of many of the 70 copy cats who reinacted Kurt Cobain’s suicide who were able to closely set up the room and position to themselves according to pictures that leaked out of the horrific scene. Of course, sparing the gory details likely won’t keep someone from committing the act if they set their mind to it, and keeping such news out of the media is impossible, but driving them to mimic every detail only makes the action that much more horrific.

           Amazingly, experts also announce that those with the same physical traits as the suicide victim are more prone to mimick their actions. When Marilyn Monroe died, it was reported that 119 blond haired, barbituarate using women took their own lives. They are now worried that young men with blond hair known to be class clowns will be most inspired by Owen Wilson’s attempt. Experts say that communication is the key to preventing suicide, especially when teens are involved. Parents are encouraged to talk about Wilson’s suicide attempt, leaving no stone unturned. Then, they might just be able to prevent a tragedy in their own lives, allowing entertainment media to serve a significant purpose.

For related articles visit http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20500588/site/newsweek/page/1/ and http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-08/30/content_6633538.htm.

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