Suicide Pandemic

The following two comments are from readers of my blog and the Huffington Post.

First, let me say how very sorry I am over the death of your son, Andrew. I lost my dear,sweet dad to suicide exactly a year ago this week, so I’ve a special appreciation for the work that you’re doing and the particular grief that whipsaws survivors of suicide.

Like you, I am left deeply saddened by the suicide of Alexander McQueen and how quickly his story has been swept to the bottom of the list of celebrity news. There are many more suicides than murders every year in this country and yet people are shocked when I tell them. There seems to be a “whistling past the graveyard” deniability. “This will surely never happen to me and it’s so depressing, lets talk about something else, okay?

Like you, I was also surprised at the number of people that I knew who had a suicide in their immediate family. And the number of famous people: Sen. Harry Reid, Danielle Steel, Judy Collins, Mary Tyler Moore, who had suicides in their family. I was shocked, after reading countless books on the subject at how little the psychiatric world truly understands about suicide, or how to treat survivors.

If you have any questions or comments for me, feel free to respond. This year has taught me much and I’d be glad to share what I know for sure.

All the best to you, my friend.

In a period of two short years, my father lost three male friends to suicide–all financially/professionally successful and between the ages of 55-60. They all committed suicide by shooting themselves, as well. One had so many friends that speakers were put outside the large Catholic church where his funeral was held in order for the overflow of attendees to hear the service, for literally thousands of people came to his funeral, and all the attendees could not fit in the church. You would think with each of these men that he had everything to live for. Suicide is misunderstood, and I completely agree with you that it needs to be talked about and brought out into the open. My heart goes out to you and your attempting to do this with the memory of your son.

Mom from Texas

I am publishing the two comments above, because they reinforce the message that I am working to convey as far and as wide as I can; suicide is PANDEMIC.
I am not saying this so that we get our knickers in a twist, but as a society we should stop and reflect. Amongst the questions we should ask ourselves, the following would be good to start with:

Are we in the Western world, with all our money, apparent freedom, technology, MacMansions, food, endless choice of clothes, entertainment, tourist destinations and on and on; are we happy? Are we happier than those in the third world without our material riches? Are we healthy/healthier?
Is there peace in the world?
Are we at Peace with Nature and is Nature at Peace with us?
Are we at Peace with ourselves?

We need to slow down, we need to stop running away from ourselves and need to learn to listen.
Suicide and all the other modern dis-eases, all of them on the increase, they all come from the same cancer of the soul.


8 thoughts on “Suicide Pandemic

  1. While I, too, yearn to live in a peaceful world (and have been a peace activist and have adopted some Quaker and Buddhist practices), I hope that in addition to striving toward that goal, we will help people stop “whistling past the graveyard” and help those considering killing themselves find a way to want to live. But how can that happen when the subject is taboo for so many people? Suicide is a very complex subject that needs greater understanding and very open discussions.

  2. Suicide is something that those of us left alive never forget about a friend who kills himself, I have three friends who did it and my wife attempted it last year, I feel your pain and offer my support and love…

    • Thank you for your support and love, and my love and support to you too. How is your wife now? Please read my article Suicide at Bobst. I am convinced that if my son had not been able to get to the 10th floor of the library at 4:30 A.M. he would still be alive today. After the previous suicides from the same exact spot from where my son jumped, NYU did not allow access beyond the 2nd floor of the library after 11 p.m. BUT, the elevators kept running, no supervision; my son walked right in and rode right up and now he is dead.
      What you say about your wife proves that it is possible to move away from a suicide crises.
      I am sorry about your three friends, that is beyond words. When I talk about a pandemic, I am right.
      Please tell me more about your wife if you are to it.
      Hug, Esmeralda

      • She’s OK, but I worry 24/7, I can’t say how terrible an ordeal it was, she was at our home in Florida and I was in New York, I flew to see her thinking she had succeeded, but, miraculously four days later she came round, I think it made her realize that it is not as easy as it sounds…the people at the Hospital told me that the Emergency Rooms all over the Country are full of failed suicide attempts, mainly due to the economy, the word pandemic is absolutely right…as for my three friends, I still feel bad about them, even nearly thirty years later in one case, the idea of him with a plastic bag over his head still haunts me…

  3. I understand ‘pandemic’ to mean a world-wide epidemic. In many countries it is among the top killers of young people. There is much evidence to show that stress, especially economic stress is a major cause. Suicide rates are much higher for indigenous minorities, and go up dramatically during recessions. But there are other causes of stress. Consider that more young Americans die at their own hands than are casualties of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Consider that on the other side of those wars, suicide bombers are the most common weapon. On one side suicide must mean complete despair of escaping war, on the other, complete euphoria that one is giving ones’ life for the cause. These two opposite forms of suicide prove that we have to look for causes in society, find them, and root them out.

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