When celebrities take their lives that makes the news. Some page one people have included Robin Williams (age 63), Kurt Cobain (27), Junior Seau (43), Marilyn Monroe (36), Vincent Van Gogh (37), Hunter Thompson (67), Sylvia Plath (30), Virginia Woolf (59), Ernest Hemingway (61), and others we have known and admired. Their loss is public, and often hard to comprehend.
But what the celebrity list does not include are the over 42,000 people who die from suicide, that we know of, annually in this country. That exceeds deaths from breast cancer, motor vehicle accidents and is double the number of homicides in the US. Do you know someone who died from suicide, perhaps someone close to you?
Suicide is among the 10 most common preventable causes of death, and the only one that has increased over the past 10 years, where the rate has increased by over 20 percent.
I recall some years ago, as a psychiatrist and public health doctor, the approach I took to trying to save a person from taking their own life. Continue Reading