#parent | #kids | How teens are using the code ‘I had pasta tonight’ to reveal depression

Is your teen secretly struggling with depression? How Gen Z is using the secret code ‘I had pasta tonight’ as a cry for help on on social media when they are feeling depressed or suicidal

  • TikTok users are using seemingly innocent lines such as ‘I had pasta tonight’ and ‘I finished my shampoo and conditioner at the same time’ as cries for help 
  • One Reddit user believes the phrases are derived from Hannah Dains’ poem ‘Don’t Kill Yourself Today,’ which features similar lines   
  • The TikTok videos often show the user looking forlorn and are set to sad music
  • Commenters who understand the codes share kind words with the person and give them reasons to want to live  

TikTok users are using secret codes in their videos and captions to convey they are struggling with depression and possibly contemplating suicide.

Seemingly innocent lines such as ‘I had pasta tonight’ and ‘I finished my shampoo and conditioner at the same time’ are often meant to be seen as a cry for help when posted on social media by teens and young adults.  

One Reddit user believes the phrases are derived from Hannah Dains’ poem ‘Don’t Kill Yourself Today,’ which lists reasons why a suicidal person should choose to stay alive.  

Secret codes: TikTok users are using seemingly innocent lines such as 'I had pasta tonight' and 'I finished my shampoo and conditioner at the same time' as cries for help

Secret codes: TikTok users are using seemingly innocent lines such as ‘I had pasta tonight’ and ‘I finished my shampoo and conditioner at the same time’ as cries for help

Cry for help: The secret codes are meant to convey they are struggling with depression and possibly contemplating suicide

Cry for help: The secret codes are meant to convey they are struggling with depression and possibly contemplating suicide

‘So don’t kill yourself until you finish your shampoo and conditioner at the same time,’ reads one line, while another says: ‘Don’t kill yourself until you tell someone your best pasta recipe.’

TikTok users who are in desperate need of support have been posting variations of the codes in their captions and hashtags, prompting others to flock to the comments section of their videos to share kind words and give them reasons live. 

While some of the posts are actually just about pasta or shampoo, it’s easy to see which videos have a darker meaning. The more serious clips often feature footage of the TikTok user looking forlorn and are set to sad music. 

One young woman shared a video of herself staring into the camera, writing: ‘Told my mom about favorite pasta recipe and she made it for dinner tonight.’ 

Source:? One Reddit user believes the phrases are derived from Hannah Dains' poem 'Don't Kill Yourself Today,' which features similar lines about pasta and shampoo and conditioner

Source:? One Reddit user believes the phrases are derived from Hannah Dains’ poem ‘Don’t Kill Yourself Today,’ which features similar lines about pasta and shampoo and conditioner 

Reaching out: TikTok users who are in desperate need of support have been posting variations of the codes in their captions and hashtags

Reaching out: TikTok users who are in desperate need of support have been posting variations of the codes in their captions and hashtags

Read between the lines: The TikTok videos often show the user looking forlorn and are set to sad music

Read between the lines: The TikTok videos often show the user looking forlorn and are set to sad music

Sending love: Commenters who understand the codes share kind words with the person and give them reasons to want to live

Sending love: Commenters who understand the codes share kind words with the person and give them reasons to want to live

Sending love: Commenters who understand the codes share kind words with the person and give them reasons to want to live

The clip has been viewed 14.8 million times and has received more than 61,000 comments, many of which are encouraging. 

‘Your mom made that pasta because you said it was your favorite. Stay for not only you but for her. You’ve got this,’ one person wrote. 

‘This comment section is my new therapy. Thank you,’ someone else shared. 

Another person shared a video of herself lying down in bed, writing: ‘I’ve given out my favorite pasta recipe and my shampoo and conditioner are almost done.’

‘I’m tired #ihadpastatonight #imtired,’ she captioned the cry for help. 

Spreading the word: People who are aware of the alarming new codes for depression and suicide have been taking to Twitter to warn others in the hope of saving lives

Spreading the word: People who are aware of the alarming new codes for depression and suicide have been taking to Twitter to warn others in the hope of saving lives

Suicide is Gen Z’s second leading cause of death, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates for people aged 10 to 24 increased by 56 per cent between 2007 and 2017.

People who are aware of the alarming new codes for depression and suicide have been taking to Twitter to warn others in the hope of saving lives. 

‘So apparently if someone says or writes “I told someone my favorite pasta recipe”, it means they are contemplating suicide,’ one person shared. ‘Just a PSA, might help someone to help someone else.’

‘Hello, just to let everyone know, if someone ever tells you they’ve told someone their best pasta recipe, it usually means they’re going to try and comnit [sic] suicide,’ someone else tweeted. ‘Just a heads up for everyone. They might just talking about pasta but better to be safe than sorry, right? Yeah.’ 

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 


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