Your son is holed up in his room rocking his heavy metal heart out. Sure, the lyrics are dark -- and sometimes even refer to suicide -- but are your son's musical tastes putting him at risk for suicide? No. There's simply not a link between listening to rock music and suicide. The same goes for country, alternative, folk or any other genre.
Although heavy metal could affect an already emotionally disturbed teen struggling with feelings of alienation, for most teens the tunes have a more positive effect. Researchers find that by listening to their heavy metal heroes, teens are purging residual anger and managing anxieties.
There's even debate about whether newspaper and television coverage (not to mention Internet buzz) glamorizes teens who have taken their own lives. But writing about suicide doesn't cause it, anymore than listening to music or reading books. If reported carefully by taking the time to detail the longstanding repercussions of a rash decision, suicide coverage can open a valuable dialogue within communities and families.