Letter to the Editor – suicide no laughing matter

Cartoon triggers concern and feedback from readers

Staff cartoon that was the subject of concern.

Dallas College Counseling and Psychological Services received several contacts and feedback regarding the cartoon featured in the December 6th, 2022 edition of the Richland Chronicle. The picture depicts two subjects, one appearing to prepare to place a noose around their neck, with the caption, “Final exams not going well?” As a result of this, and as I have the honor of leading the team that received these concerns, I’d like to offer my response.
I understand the feedback and concern expressed. According to the CDC, suicide is the twelfth leading cause of death in the US across all ages, the third leading cause in ages 15-24 behind accidents and homicide, and the second leading cause behind accidents in ages 25-34. As licensed, professional therapists, we recognize that media plays a critical role in helping to minimize risk and prevent suicide. We recognize that media portrayal of suicide, self-harm, or mental health concerns can encourage OR discourage help-seeking behavior, contribute to stigma OR convey messages of recovery or hopefulness, bring up activating or triggering responses to media portrayal of mental health concerns, or start a conversation on mental health in spaces where conversation may never had occurred before.
Concurrently, freedom of speech and of the press is a critical right. Further, the fact that this freedom and creative expression has brought up this discourse – that means the media has done its job!
Nonetheless, we want readers to know that mental health concerns, self-harm, and suicide are public health issues that will affect almost every one of us – whether ourselves or through someone we care about. As such, it is important to know that there are resources available to help you or someone you care for, shared below:


  • Dallas College CAPS provides free, confidential mental health counseling to registered Dallas College students ages 18+ – contact us at [email protected] if you’d like to make an appointment
  • Dallas College CAPS frequently hosts Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and AS+K Suicide Gatekeeper trainings – take a look at the Dallas College Calendar to find an upcoming training and learn more about how to spot warning signs, risk factors, and ways to help someone who may be experiencing declining mental health or thoughts of suicide
  • The 988 Suicide and Crisis Line is available 24/7/365, simply by dialing 988 from any phone
  • The National Crisis Text line is also available 24/7/365 by texting HOME to 741741
  • CAPS is in your corner and passionate about supporting our students along their journey. Be kind to yourself and others and take good care. 


    Kaitlin S. Hill, MS, LPC-S, NCC Associate Dean – Counseling and Psychological Services [email protected]