Students learn complexities of suicide through film
Published: Monday, September 24, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 24, 2012 00:09
Students spent hours on Friday night watching and discussing a film screening of Joy Deitrich’s “Tie A Yellow Ribbon” to understand the complexities of suicide and suicide prevention.
“Tie A Yellow Ribbon” is a narrative film that follows the story of an adopted Korean woman who struggles to come to terms with her damaged past. It gives a rare view into the emotionally complex mindset of young Asian American women.
Symbolizing a variety of different things, tying a yellow ribbon is commonly accepted as a symbol for the absence of a loved one. This is the main idea behind the yellow bandanna that the protagonist of the film, Jenny, carries. Working as a barista in a coffee shop, Jenny is forced to move into another apartment early in the film. Jenny’s new roommate is a college student named Beatrice who spends most of her time modeling for an artist she’s involved with and earning her parents’ approval through good grades. While Jenny is constantly haunted by her past, unable to move forward with her life, Beatrice goes through heartbreak and struggles with her own emotional problems.
Tied in with Suicide Prevention Week, the film demonstrates the high rates of suicide amongst Asian American women as reported by NPR- studies show that U.S. born Asian-American women are more likely to attempt suicide than other groups. The screening was hosted by the Asian American Cultural Center and an in-depth discussion about the film was led by hall director Joliana Yee.
The audience engaged in a character analysis of Beatrice and Jenny, overbearing family values and their effects on Asian Americans, and the signs of suicide attempts. Members shared their personal stories to provide insight and instruction to prevent suicide.
“When you actually think about your own personal past, you never realize who’s suicidal or not,” said 1st-semester allied health major Miguel Asuncion. “Always keep in contact, always talk to them and ask them about their lives. It’s sometimes the things that you least expect that hurt people the most.”
Capitalizing on the fact that isolation is often the major cause of depression, a key topic in the discussion was the many ways to recognize and prevent suicide by using all the resources on campus including Mental Health Services and “Question, Persuade and Refer” classes. Yee encouraged all to learn about suicide and depression, know the signs and immediately get help.
“It’s important to go with your gut and also to never blame yourself,” said Yee. “You also have to remember that there are different spectrums – not one individual with suicidal thoughts is like everyone.”
The film was one of the last events that ended Suicide Prevention Week. However, there are many suicide prevention events throughout the year and another week coming in the upcoming spring semester.