media literacy

What I Wish I’d Known About Suicide and Grief with Kristi Hugstad

In This Episode…

  • Kristi's story (2:21)
  • Recognizing depression and mental illness (15:35)
  • Asking the question, "Are you OK?" (20:51)
  • The problems with the Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, about teen suicide (23:04)
  • The stigma of crying in front of people (28:40)
  • The time it takes to grieve and the "get over it" sentiment (31:44)
  • The stages of grief myth (33:24)
  • What Kristi wishes she had known (35:19)

Ways to Listen to this Episode:

  1. Use the player above to listen/download the episode from this page
  2. Listen on Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Google Play Music or Stitcher Radio (don't forget to rate, review and subscribe!)


Key Points


Depression is not just sadness. Depression is a prolonged feeling that lasts more than two weeks where it seems like a dark cloud is following you around and you have no desire to do things that you to do, including things you've enjoyed doing–even if things in your life are going well.
Depression is not a choice. Like other forms of mental illness, it results from a chemical imbalance in the brain. Risk factors include:
  • Sleeping too much, or too little (insomnia)
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Self-loathing
  • Family history of depression, suicide (including attempted suicide)
Crying is a healthy way to release stress. You feel better after a good cry. And it's not a sign of weakness. Often, if you hold in your emotions, sooner or later you will explode in anger. 
You will not "get over" a debilitating loss, especially someone who you loved.  Eventually you can discover a new normal. Instead of calling the grieving process "the stages of grief," Kristi refers to them as "common responses" to grief. These do not happen in a linear fashion; some things will repeat like a roller coaster, others may be skipped depending on your personal response.
Kristi wrote a Huffington Post blog where she explains that the Netflix show, 13 Reasons Why, while powerful, yet offered no hope, tools or resources to teen viewers, the main character's depression was not addressed, and the show glamourized suicide.

"Pain and growth can co-exist. Grief is not your enemy; grief is your teacher."

– Kristi Hugstad


What You Can Do


Pay attention to the warning signs listed above. Don't try to fix these issues on your own.  Mental illnesses must be treated by trained professional therapists and psychiatrists.
Do not end psychiatric medicine cold turkey; always follow the instructions of your prescribing doctor.
If you are grieving, understand that time does not heal all wounds. You must take action to help yourself heal.

Connect with My Guest

Kristi Hugstad, Speaker, Author

Website and Podcast





Links and Resources

R U OK? (a book for teens) 
13 Reasons Why Not (blog on Huffington Post)

Ask and Share!

Ask questions and share your feedback:

  1. Comment on the show notes (below this post)
  2. Tweet me @DareeAllen quoting #KickinitwithDaree
  3. Email Kickinit [at] DareeAllen [dot] com

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Searching for Significance in Social Media


In This Episode…

  • How to manage social media, self-esteem, selfies and shaming
  • How to protect ourselves and prevent our children from pain in the aftermath of sexting and revenge porn

Ways to Listen to this Episode:

  1. Use the player to listen/download the episode from this page
  2. Listen on iTunes or Stitcher (don’t forget to rate, review and subscribe!)


Key Points

Sometimes selfies are not narcissistic, but just a display of random, happy moments in life.  There might be an obsession going on if you have to take a thousand version of the selfie just to post one.

Trying to keep up with the trends and appearances of popular reality shows and Instagram photos, constantly aiming for perfection, and comparing themselves to celebrities and each other, contributes to the eroding of young people’s self-esteem.  Bullying doesn’t end when they get off the school bus—they continue to deal with it online based on their appearance and their popularity (e.g., the number of likes on their social media posts).

Parenting and discipline should be done in the home—putting your discipline online, especially public shaming, is inappropriate and detrimental to your overall relationship with your child.  It stems not first from the need to discipline, but from a need for the parent to show off and get attention (e.g., possible notoriety from a viral video).  Things you post online can live there forever. So consider how your child will feel long after the rest of the world has forgotten about the video and the long-term damage it could do.  The parent that posts a video disciplining their child is the narcissist.  Discipline is to correct an temporary issue, not to have it live forever online.

Every poor choice has a consequence.


What You Can Do

Keep an open line of communication with your child. Regularly and randomly check their phone and their accounts.

Teach your children about the consequences of posting inappropriate photos and other material online. If you instill your values in them, you must trust that they will remember what you have taught—even if they choose not to follow your wishes (and thus experience the negative consequences).



Connect with My Guest

Shan Thomas, Creative Marketing Specialist at EntrepreNewHER

Links and Resources

Artist Sells Other People’s Instagram Pics for $90K but You Can Make Money Off Your Selfies by Ann Brown

The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty

Facebook Therapy? Why Do People Share Self-Relevant Content Online? by Jonah A. Berger and Eva Buechel

Internet Outrage, Public Shaming and Modern-Day Pharisees by Scott Sauls

Is It Really Necessary To Discipline A Child By Publicly Humiliating Them On Social Media? By Clutch

Izabel Laxaman Suicide

Misrepresentation in Online Personas by Daree Allen

The Science Behind Your Social Media Addiction by Charlotte Hilden Andersen

Sexting scandal: 20 students charged at New Jersey high school by Rebecca Ruiz

Target tells women: love your bodies

Back Seat Freak?

Bill O'Reilly Interviews Russell Simmons on March 12, 2014

Bill O’Reilly Interviews Russell Simmons on March 12, 2014

I was a guest on Real Talk with Michael McFadden this week to talk about my new book, Ending the Blame Game. One of the first things he asked is what I thought about Bill O’Reilly’s interview with Russell Simmons when he commented about Beyoncé’s Partition video (which, like so many others, has strong sexual content), saying that she was not a good role model for young girls.

Usually people first start with parental responsibility. I agree that parents should be the ultimate role models for children even though this is often not the case for periods or not modeling the best behavior. Well, Beyoncé has been steadily upping and oozing her sexuality since about 1998 at the ripe old age of 16. Most of her career she was single, and her parents had a major say in her business deals and phenomenal rise in the industry– her dad was her manager up until a few years ago! Now that she’s a wife and mother in her 30’s (in that order I will add), what’s inappropriate for teens and tweens is not so inappropriate for her.

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