“A Cure for Wellness” meditation ads promote suicide

Neutral visuals balance harmful messages during meditation sessions. Photo courtesy of WpaperHD.com.

By Kimmie Semiday

A&E Editor

On Feb. 17, “A Cure Wellness” hit theaters as the newest psychological thriller on the market. Director Gore Verbinski of “The Ring” surprised audiences not only with this newest film, but also with his promotional advertisement.

“A Cure For Wellness” takes place in the Swiss Alps when a young man played by Dane DeHaan is asked to bring back his CEO from a secluded “spa” where people are fleeing to receive a cure. The movie takes many twists and turns, leaving the viewers on the edge of their seats.

However, while many psychological thrillers have hit theaters, none have caused the waves of controversy like this movie does. One of the mains sources of advertisements for the film comes in the form of a website, “acureforwellness.com.” On this site, the viewer is able to partake in “meditations” that center around air, water and Earth.

During the meditations visuals of mountain ranges and trees form on the screen and a low methodical voice begins a three-minute long session. The speaker tells you to relax your mind and take deep breaths, like a regular meditation session would, but as the video progresses, the message that the listener is receiving is centered around one thing: committing suicide.

Depending on what element of life you choose, air, water or Earth, depends on what way the speaker prompts you to end your life. For air this includes succumbing to hopelessness and jumping off of a mountain. In the case of Earth, the meditation tells you to allow yourself to rest in darkness of a self-dug grave, and for water it includes accepting your own mortality and choosing to drown.

While this may seem like a tactical advertisement, there is no actual mention of the movie throughout the video. The main image fills up the entire computer or phone screen with arrows to move from left to right, and only if you look hard enough will you see the movie’s name and release date.

The reason why this movie is actively choosing to use suicidal themed advertising as a way to bring in viewers is problematic, not only because it is poor taste, but also because it is a potential trigger to its viewers. For those suffering from a mental illness, or those recovering from a suicidal attempt, hearing these damaging messages can be the cause of real harm, and should not be looked upon light heartedly.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in 2016, every 12.3 minutes an individual tried to commit suicide. Along with this, 1.6 million people lose their life every year to suicide, making suicide the second leading cause of death of Americans under the age of 44.

Evidently this is a national issue that is affecting thousands of people; therefore, it should not be acceptable to tolerate this kind of insensitivity toward a majority of the population. Of course it can be argued that it’s just a movie, and no harm was meant in the creation of these meditation videos, but that doesn’t make it okay.

Whether someone has a sound mind or is struggling from mental illness, it is never okay to make light of the situation by creating something as potentially harmful as “A Cure for Wellness” has. Suicide is not a clever advertisement; suicide is never a joke.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from suicidal thoughts please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Trained professionals are available to talk 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Leave a Reply