Sign Up Please

We were standing in line to go through The Capitol’s security, to rejoin the group at the end of our meetings, when Meredith read on her blackberry that Andrew Kwasniewski, President of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, had taken his life.
When I got home from Washington, I found an email in my inbox telling me that Indie musician Mark Linkons of Sparklehorse, had died of suicide. The following day the same friend who’d been keeping me
“suicide updated,” emailed me again:
“Here goes another one. I’m losing track.” He was referring to actor Corey Haim’s suicide.
Then I found out, and I don’t know how I could have missed it when it happened, that Sam Roweiss, a thirty-seven year-old NYU professor, had jumped to his death from the 16th floor of his NYU apartment in Washington Square Village.
No sooner had I finished reading the New York Post article about Roweiss’s death, than one of my neighbors whose daughter attends Cornell, alerted me via a comment on the blog, about the two latest Cornell deaths.
And then there was British Fashion Designer Alexander McQueen, Walter Koenig’s son Andrew and Michael Blosil all in the last four to five weeks.

To paraphrase an old song, “Suicide Is In The Air.” That’s what it seemed like to me since I became aware of suicide, when Andrew died of it. Almost every other day, it seemed, some prominent person took his/her life.
But given that in the Unites States one person dies of suicide every sixteen minutes, it should come as no surprise that a portion of those suicides makes headlines.
And with each suicide that makes the news, mind-boggling myths, misconceptions, ignorance and bigotry, flood the internet.
When I first read some of the internet comments that followed Andrew’s death, I was appalled, I was hopping mad. Mind you, it was a good thing at the time, for in the absence of a target for my anger, I was able to direct it at those coward, anonymous morons on the internet.
Still, that’s not the point I am trying to make here. No, my point is that amongst the things I’ve learned about suicide since November 3, 2009, is that education is as important a factor in prevention, as are all other measures currently employed (or deployed).
Given also that in the United States one person attempts suicide every minute of every day, an educational movement, similar to that born to combat AIDS, is what is needed.
We need to be present everywhere, on the internet, in the printed media, on television. We need to have regular gatherings, like the one I am trying to organize in Washington Square Park, in Manhattan one week-end day this coming June. It won’t be a fund-raiser, but an awareness-raiser.
I am looking for people to help. We need to lobby the media, alert suicide survivors and their friends, get New York politicians to come and bring the cameras with them. We also need to get permission from the NYC Parks Commissioner.
I see the day as one of education, remembrance, socializing, networking, noise-making, attention-bringing to our cause and our needs.

You can find ways to help even long distance. So, Who’s on? PLEASE SIGN UP HERE.



15 thoughts on “Sign Up Please

  1. I would like to attend. I also have a friend who might be able to help (Cyrus Vance Jr.). I live in Washington state so I will be a long distance planner…

    • Dear Susan, THANK YOU for signing up! We’ll work out who is doing what once we have a few people on Board.
      Hugs, Esmeralda 🙂

    • Hi Susan, could you please see my reply/suggestion to Virginia and if you like the idea, can I give her and RayofSunshine your email address?
      Love, Esmeralda

  2. Esmeralda,
    I’m here in sunny Ca. At the ready for letter-writing etc. I am so amped about what you are doing! Breast cancer used to be a closeted condition. Look at all that has been accomplished by breast-cancer awareness. You are bringing death by suicide out of the closet. I’ll keep posted here on however/whatever I can do to help with gaining media attention for the June event.

    • Dear Virginia, THANK YOU, the sun is welcome too. My husband thinks of Andrew as the Sun. I am thinking that You, Susan and RayofSunshine, could work on Media, write ups…. Rayof Sunshine is giving us the idea of “branding suicide” which is a brilliant idea. Who shall we turn to, to get behind us to create a “Brand”
      I’ve just had an idea, I am going to ask my friend Peter Sis (Google him) to draw the face of suicide, that alone will get attention. He did a drawing of Andrew as he saw him, more of a drawing of Andrew’s essence for the commemorative photograph booklet that Florentina put together for Andrew’s funeral. The Drawing is on one of the November postings. Have a look, perhaps we could even use that. We may be able to have a nascent brand “brand” by the time of the:
      Suicide Awareness and Prevention Fair
      Live, laugh, love… Celebrate Life.
      Virginia, if they agree, can I give the your email address?
      Love, Esmeralda

  3. Thinking aloud and writing it down: “Well then Virginia we have a model to follow!! What have they done to capture our attention and create awareness? How long did it take? I bought lots of pink stuff this year–corporations manufacturing and packaging their products in pink. Relay for Life. AFSP has Out of the Darkness walks. Breast cancer colors are pink. Suicide awareness and prevention has it’s colors–turquoise and purple, I think. I wonder how many women (men?) die from breast cancer per year in the US.”

    • Hi RayofSunshine, can you please see my reply/suggestion to Virginia and if you agree, can I give her and Susan your email address?
      Love, Esmeralda

  4. To answer my own question:
    “-about 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women
    -about 62,280 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
    -about 40,170 women will die from breast cancer

    Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, exceeded only by lung cancer. The chance that breast cancer will be responsible for a woman’s death is about 1 in 35 (about 3%). Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1990, with larger decreases in women younger than 50. These decreases are believed to be the result of earlier detection through screening and increased awareness, as well as improved treatment.”


    Did you catch that? Earlier detection, increased awareness & improved treatment. 

  5. And from Esmeralda’s March 12, 2010 blog entry: (to compare suicide and breast cancer stats)
    Suicide grim’s statistics were reiterated during the Conference on Monday.
    One American dies of Suicide every sixteen minutes, more than 33,000 die by suicide every year.
    Every day, in the United States, 2,300 people attempt to take their life and 90% of suicides have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.
    Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15-24 years old.
    The suicide rate has also increased amongst people who are 65 and older.
    Male Veterans have double the suicide rate of civilians and more Americans die each year by suicide than homicide.

    Those are the numbers and these are the quantifiable costs:

    Suicides in one year cost the U.S. $13 billion in lost earnings.
    1.3 million years of life are lost to suicide annually.
    Suicide attempts requiring hospitalization cost the U.S. $3.8 billion each year.”

    • Is that statistic right? 2,300 people attempt each day (in the US? World?). That’s 2300 x 365 = 839,500 people / year!

      And 33,000 dying (in US? World?).

      That’s pretty grim compared to breast cancer.

      • Actually, we think that the numbers may be higher. In fact one of the items on the agenda for our lawmakers, is money to CDC for a… what’s the word… so that data can be collected from all states in a uniform manner. The numbers we have are from 2006 and we know that rates have gone up. Also, a number of what are classified as traffic accidents are actually suicides. Medical examiners tend to err on the side of caution and classify as inclonclusive a number of actual suicides.

        We are only talking US numbers here

  6. I am interested in assisting. I have survived my own leaving by a miracle that erased my pain and created the freedom to live another day.
    I am a holistic healer. I know of the pain that exists in families when their loved ones leave or pass on. I can assist as a healer or in many other ways as well.

    I do many things including knowledge of staging, audio-visual, lighting, photography and videography.
    I also know sign language too. I have interpreted as well as transliterated many projects from English to ASL

      • I live south of SLC, Utah, I work for an airline. Though NYC is a favorite place to visit!

        I actually have a previous commitment on the day of the fair. Though I can do what ever you would like up until then and I would like to come to future events.

      • How do you think you can help? Can you help spread the word? Can you help get signatures for the petition? can you help write to the media? can you get donations?
        We need yoga mats. Can your airline help with tickets maybe? Do you know anyone who would underwrite 500 t-shirts maybe? I have emailed you separately. Think through any connections resources you have. We all have more connections than we realize.
        I’d love to hear more about your experiences sometime. Thank you for getting in touch. I am so happy that you are well. Hugs, Esmeralda

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