51 thoughts on “Their Son’s Suicide: “We Did Everything Right.”

  • August 12, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    As a parent my heart goes out. The loss of a child is the worse I’ve heard them say. I wonder about two things, can people really miss the signs? Their son really kept it. I would guess. Do teachers look for sign of sadness or depression. The other things is so many make a great living and feel they to the best they can for their kids. Good schools, nice clothes, nice house, vacations, the list goes on. But reality is we are not all the same. Some people’s children do not just want stuff. They want their parents time and love. If you are aways working how can you be with your kids? If your kids are sensitive they will need more of your time. I walk the walk and talk the talk. My children always came ahead of making money. And they have clothes and other material stuff. Just not the name brand junk some people seem to think they need. Not iphones, not $100 sneakers not a 2500sf house either. They know they are loved. And they are told it. I hope this isn’t harsh.

    • August 13, 2016 at 2:43 pm

      That’s an assumption on your part to imply that those parents weren’t doing all the same things you mention as well.

      • August 18, 2016 at 7:20 am

        So true. Assumptions are a frighteningly large part of the stigma that is so insidious and so prevalent in our culture. This is so similar to our own story that I am caught between tears of grief and helpless fury. Our son died by suicide just six weeks ago. For a decade and more, we talked, researched, gathered information, asked questions, suffered through three long years of estrangement, were gifted with three short years of attempts at recovery, and it all resulted in our son taking his own life. The one thing every parent fears the most regardless of their status, financial background or education. Mental illness is an equal opportunity destroyer.
        And by the way, “doing everything right” was referring to all the things proposed by parenting magazines, professionals, and general knowledge. Good home, two parent family, good education, social activities, friends, paying attention and being a part of our kids’ lives–all of that can be accomplished regardless of income, because they can’t be bought. And suicide and mental illness can happen to ANYONE.

      • September 14, 2016 at 6:29 pm

        Im so sorry to hear of your loss. It’s sad but absolutely true that people are way to quick to pass judgement. At a time when someone’s child is tragically taken from their lives, we should all be there with as much support and comfort and love as possible…not trying to blame. It could happen to or touch the lives of anyone at any unforseen time. If it hasnt, then be thankful but not closed minded. As human beings we should all come together in love and try to understand more about this painful, deadly mental illness that too often goes undetected. As a parent myself of a child that suffers from depression, I can only imagine what you must be going through. I am so deeply saddened by your loss of your baby. May somehow, someday you have some comfort and peace. You and all others who have to suffer the pain of a loved one passing, will always be in my thoughts and prayers.
        With Love and light and positive energy….

      • January 31, 2017 at 7:27 pm

        Your response was so heartfelt and is so appreciated. Thank you for your support and kindness. xx

      • April 29, 2017 at 3:11 pm

        Thank you for your profound words & thinking on the subject of suicide. I lost my 15 year old son this year with no warning signs. Everything you said rang so true and I wish we could require everyone to read it. It is people like you who will help change the stigma associated with mental illness and suicide. Kudos!!!

      • September 4, 2017 at 1:40 pm

        I am so sorry for what you are going through. There are no words.
        I am also sorry for all that you will endure from people who don’t understand.
        I know what being suicidal feels like and although I agree that we need to be better equipt to see the signs, I know that even knowing your loved one is suicidal doesn’t mean you can change their course.
        We had a suicide in our family. He and his wife knew he was suicidal for years, worked on it, different kinds of therapy, drugs, loved each other dearly, in the end living was too hard for him and he chose to leave.
        Please come up with a sentence to say to those that don’t understand that will help calm your pain in the face of ignorance. “I know it’s hard for you to understand, and I do hope you never will” is a good one. It is not required that you explain to people if it’s too painful. I believe people just want to believe something was missed that could have been done so they can feel secure that they could prevent it from happening to someone they love.
        My best to you and your family.

    • August 23, 2017 at 1:59 am

      Love has nothing to do with mental health. Can love cure cancer, aids, leukemia. Mental health has to do with your brain chemistry, not how much you are loved or not loved, yes it plays a part but a small part. Do you think people are just conditioned to bipolar, skitsaphrenia, personality disorders, depression, anxiety. People just wake up one day and say, well because I wasn’t loved enough today,I’m going to kill myself, from my own experience with friends, family, aquaintances, they were all around supported people, probably a flock, and it didn’t matter you could love that person till they were blue in the face and it would still not prevented their suicide. I can’t tell you how much I loved my mom and the rest of her 6 children, but that didn’t stop her from slitting her wrist and taking a Ziploc bag full of drugs. I would like to give myself that credit, that it was my fault that I didn’t love her enough, then their would be closure, and this neverending question that circles your mind everyday you wake up, WHY? We don’t know why all we know is there’s a person who you loved dearly is gone. I repeatedly go over and over in this cycle of guilt, like I am in this trapped maze, could of I done something different. Why am I asking myself such complex questions that a doctor who went to school for 10 years could not answer, themselves but to think I’m going to solve suicide is like finding a cure for aids. A sick person with cancer doesn’t go to their loved one and say, fix me. Just like this stigma on suicide should not be the fingers pointed towards the spouse, the parent, the child, the sibling who didn’t do enough. It should be pointed in the same direction as every other sickness, disease, that is fatal, crippling, destroying people’s lives and their loved ones is to find a cure.

      • August 27, 2017 at 5:47 pm

        Hi Suzanne, I’m so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine how painful it must be to lose a mother to suicide. Please do not blame yourself, from your post it is evident you loved your mother very dearly and did everything you could. Maybe it’s not my place to say this, but I venture to say she wouldn’t have wanted her beloved daughter blaming herself for her death. It is NOT your fault.

        I agree with a lot of what you said, but differ on some points. Love is very powerful, and while it cannot cure everything, sometimes it is powerful enough to save a life. And people can commit suicide from not being loved enough. An example would be children who were emotionally neglected by their parents and deprived of love. And I agree with you, a sick person does not go to their loved one and say, fix me. They go for support. For kindness and compassion. Life is hard, and illness makes it harder.

        I agree that we shouldn’t point fingers at family members, who are already suffering a huge loss in their lives. That is kicking someone who is already down. However, family members should not prevent the sick person from receiving help either. Another commenter mentioned on here how her mother blocked her from receiving psychiatric help because of “stigma.” That is the equivalent of preventing someone with cancer from receiving chemotherapy. It is not the family’s job to cure their loved one themselves, but they should also not prevent them from receiving treatment, nor should they make the sick person’s life harder by treating them harshly for their illness.

        The reason I felt compelled to comment on this was because I have been the severely depressed, misunderstood suicidal person. My family neglected me in many ways, blamed me for my illness, and for many years, blocked me from receiving any medical treatment. I suffered a lot. At the same time, I was being severely bullied at school, and was suffering from an embarrassing bowel disorder that went undiagnosed for almost 3 years. My family blamed me for all three.

        When I got bullied and came home crying, they called me weak, said I was a wimp for not being able to defend myself, and said I deserved it for being so weak. When I became depressed from the bowel problems I was having in addition to the bullying, they said I was lying. They said I was perfectly healthy, and was making up excuses as a reason for why I was doing so badly. I started feeling like I was going crazy. I was sick, yet undiagnosed. I had pain and physical symptoms of a bowel disorder, but everyone around me told me I was healthy. Who should I believe? I began doubting myself and everything. It was the worst years of my life. I would get bullied at school, in addition to suffering from an embarrassing bowel disorder I wasn’t receiving treatment for (because no one believed I was sick), would come home, be extremely depressed, and get blamed for it by family members. I was physically and emotionally ill, was getting crap from both school/strangers, and then would come home to get crap from my family. I shouldn’t even be alive, I tried to commit suicide many times. But here I am.

        I never once expected my family to ‘cure’ me. My depression was a result of my chronic bowel issues. All I wanted, was to be believed when I said I was feeling unwell, and was having a hard time, and to get support. That’s all. Not to be called a liar, nor gaslighted. I felt so alone and starved for love. I started having bowel problems and the age of 14, and it continued into my teen years. I just wanted love and support, that’s all. Not for my life to be made hard by people and physical and mental illness. I just wanted to post this comment as a different perspective, from someone in the other side. I do not intend this to be hurtful and cause any pain, and deeply and sincerely apologize if I do. Not so I want anyone to blame themselves. Blame causes problems and depression, and does not help any of us. I just wish communication was better between family and depressed persons.

      • September 5, 2017 at 11:39 am


        You nailed it so perfectly. Love does NOT cure mental illness or prevent suicide. It’s an imbalance of chemicals that alters your thought process, and by altering your thought process it distorts your vision of reality. I’m sure that if the person suffering from mental illness feels that they are ‘not loved’, that someone who really loves them and tells them, might alleviate that one aspect, but it does not alleviate the NEED to end their life when they feel they need to end it, because love has nothing to do with it. When a person who feels they need to end their life needs to end it, they will end it no matter what. You might think you’ve saved them, and you might think you’ve prevented them from ending their life by sharing your feelings with them, however all the “I love you’s” in the world will not stop them. When their mind is made up, it’s made up.

    • September 3, 2017 at 1:05 am

      Your thoughts expressed deeply sadden me. People such as yourself are afraid. After a divorce, a step son’s suicide and other tragic events, I heard many people such as yourself say; well we do this or that differently than those who suffered. Because you want to believe it will not happen to you! You do this, so your spouse will not have an affair, you parent differently, so your child will not take their own life and on and on. Not out of love and compassion for those suffering, but to selfishly protect yourself from believing it could happen to You!! This way of thinking is so destructive and painful to those who have suffered unspeakable loss. I am angry at the ignorance and arrogance expressed by you and many. Have you met a perfect human being that is all knowing? There is no such thing. Mental Illness has been proven by all experts to be a disease, with contributing factors, most of all, chemistry in the brain. No one chooses this for themselves or their child. The parents are left with a million questions, should we have done this or not done that… forever. These are the best of parents. Drug addicts have children who are not ill and succeed in life, and wonderful all loving parents have children that suffer from mental illness and are addicts. We do not understand why? You do not have one answer to this and only contribute to the stigma. Fear driven judgemental statements are so destructive to our growth and compassion. Please educate yourself. Your cruelty is steeped in your fears. Not a care for what others have endured. These parents were so brave to stand up and tell their story to others, especially knowing there are many people like you out there, ready to blame them.

      • September 5, 2017 at 5:53 am

        Hi Grandma’s Thoughts,
        Is your comment in response to mine? I can’t quite tell.

  • August 13, 2016 at 4:17 am

    When I was 18, I viciously cut both my forearms open, from the elbows to the wrists. Then I lay down in a cold, quiet, dark corner of a public park, a block down the road from my house to die. It was late winter, about 4AM Sunday morning.

    I felt so alone, so disconnected from everyone around me, disconnected from the Universe. The pain of living was so overwhelming I just wanted it to stop.

    No-one knew I was depressed. I was the top student at the American International School of Johannesburg, and had just scored the highest SAT scores ever recorded at the school (unknown to me at the time). My IQ was very high, but my EQ was clearly very low.

    I survived the attempt: my body’s response to the cold reduced blood flow to my extremities and an elderly man, out walking his dog early in the morning, found me and called an ambulance. I woke up in the ER, arms stitched. We all just pretended it never happened and tried to get on with our lives. But even today, 27 years later, my forearms ache, and I can still hear the sucking sound of the blood as it pumped out of my ravaged forearms.

    I became a volunteer paramedic for 10 years in my 30’s. I worked the weekend night shift on the Cape Flats. We encountered a lot of mental health patients. Even with our ALS trauma and medical skills we were never really given the skills to deal with mental health issues. I would get frustrated when my colleagues refused to acknowledge a suicide attempt, or an obvious cry for help (self-harm, etc.) But, I realize now that they were just unskilled and afraid.

    My wife was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder a number of years ago. At first, she presented with Borderline Personality Disorder symptoms but after careful observation and note taking on my part, her psychiatrist made the DID diagnoses, induced by childhood trauma. Her Alters gradually revealed themselves and their traumatic histories. On 25-Dec-2015, she walked into the local ER, begging them to help her – she was feeling completely emotionally overwhelmed and terrified. The doctors on duty indicated that she appeared rational and didn’t immediately appear to be a threat to herself or anyone else. They would not admit her for observation.

    So, even the medical profession needs to up-their-game when it comes to recognizing and treating emergency mental health issues.

    Good luck.

    • January 31, 2017 at 6:31 pm

      My heart goes out to you more than you know. The very professionals we trust to fill in the service we as family cannot provide often betray our trust, and we are powerless to fix the inadequacy. My son was discharged from a hospital by the attending psychiatrist following an order for probate because he asked to be treated without using medication. The hospital, despite my contact with them, discharged him to a waiting taxi in order to go to the local bus station to go back to where he lived. He disappeared for the following ten days and we were powerless to file a missing persons report with the police because the Dr discharge indicates to police that a person is no longer a danger to themselves or others. My son died in a city park.
      I send you gentle thoughts, loving prayers for comfort, and the sure knowledge that your loved one is with you whether you know it or not, just as I believe my son is with me. Love does not die.

    • August 23, 2017 at 1:21 am

      I know a couple times I went into a hospital, mental health clinic, in order for them to take you in you had to be suicidal, I was with my Mom, 20 yrs old and depressed and had anxiety disorder, I really didn’t want to die, I just wanted to find out why I felt the way that I did and just wanted help. So yes, I would agree that the mental health institutions need to step up their system. I to lost a very special person to suicide, my Mother, who was bipolar and an addict. So I completely sympothize with all of the others on here.

  • August 13, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    i highly doubt the parents did “everything right.”

    • September 14, 2016 at 6:36 pm

      That was an ignorant, heartless assumption of somebody you don’t even know. Where’s your compassion Mr. High and Mighty?

    • February 1, 2017 at 7:23 am

      The comments are not welcome nor wanted and should be removed.
      People like you need to educate yourself or stay off these sites.

    • April 22, 2017 at 4:24 am

      You’re right, because no one can do “everything” right. Everyone makes mistakes. I, however, do not doubt they did their best, which is all anyone can do. We won’t get anywhere if all we do is judge each other. Compassion always.

  • August 13, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    EXCELLENT blog, Gabe! Thank you!! I’d been thinking just recently how we in the mental health / advocacy / treatment community definitely seem to tip-toe around the subject of suicide. It’s the one topic we seem to shy away from more than any other. I’ve wondered if we don’t worry that ANY discussion might serve as a trigger. Or if, maybe we just don’t know WHAT to say. In any case, it’s an area that I believe needs more dialogue! For deeply personal reasons. (Suicide has impacted my life in major ways.) I really don’t know that “doing everything right” is any more likely to prevent suicide than if the child were mistreated or lived in abject poverty. Suicidal thoughts and/or mental health disorders can be lurking just under the surface of ANY person, so we can never assume that someone / anyone… whether a child, spouse, friend, coworker, etc. might not be susceptible to a suicidal impulse at some point or another. It can so often be triggered by an undetected disorder in brain chemistry, so doing the right thing or providing a loving home is no guarantee it couldn’t happen. Of course, I know that environment can be a big factor, but I want to echo that doing “everything right” is no assurance of mental health and stability. My story: I was born (67 years ago) with some genetic “mutations” (variants)… that I’ve only recently been able to confirm through DNA testing… that made me susceptible to mental illness, bipolar disorder being just one of them. Unfortunately, I was totally unaware of having Bipolar Disorder until just 20 years ago. I was fortunate to have survived that long, as I was having suicidal thoughts by my early teens. Dark thoughts of how I could take my own life that I never shared with anyone. At 25 I made my first “attempt.” A year or so later, I was again struggling with suicidal thoughts, and, like Brett’s wife (in the comment above) I walked into an ER room one night to get help and was turned away! “There’s nobody here that you can talk with,” I was told. Somehow I hung on. Then, at 30, another attempt. Again, I survived. But no help whatsoever from the medical profession. Beyond the attempts, there were so many reckless behaviors that I am quit “lucky” to be here. Finally hospitalized at age 46, I received a diagnosis that helped put me on a path to recovery. But, a few years later, I was hospitalized with a serious issue that required a life-saving surgery… I was kept sedated (out of it!) for 15 days before coming home from the hospital. At home, I still had to deal with almost unbearable pain… to the point that I wanted to “end it all.” But, this time, I did the right thing. I told my wife what I was contemplating… and she stepped up and helped me through it. My doctor now asks me, at the beginning of every three-month check up, “Are you feeling suicidal?” And the answer has been a resounding “no” …because I am no longer troubled with suicidal thoughts or suicidal “ideations.” I seem to have finally conquered that beast! I know that more lives could be saved in there were MORE candid dialogue on this sensitive subject. And I am so impressed and glad to see that you are willing to go there, Gabe. There are still far too many lives lost to suicide… lives that could be saved by bringing this once taboo subject out into the light and talking about it. Intelligently and with compassion. If people who are potentially suicidal felt that it was okay… beyond okay… more like imperative, for them to share their feelings, knowing that they will get a response that is more than “no one here to talk to,” then they could find help before their situation turned into a crisis or tragedy. I was lucky. Blessed. Unfortunately, I’ve lost 5 friends to suicide. Five! And in every instance, these were individuals struggling with mental health issues. Suicide could be preventable in many instances, if there were dialogue: educated professionals and informed family members, medical personnel, etc. who are there… available to talk with; and if there were an awareness among potentially suicidal people that there ARE places to go, people to talk with, people who care, people who can help. That there are better choices and ways to “make the pain go away.” There is still work to be done to reach that place. But it’s so good to see this topic getting traction here. More power to ya’ Gabe… and to PsychCentral! Great blog!! Important stuff!!!

    • January 31, 2017 at 7:25 pm

      I so admire your candor. I remember once in graduate school (Clinical Social Work) when a professor actually said that we “should never introduce the subject of suicide because it might give the client the idea.” Thankfully, we students (I was an older student) quickly forgot that and moved on. I have interviewed countless clients who forthrightly answered honestly that they indeed had considered it. If you cannot or will not ask the question, you as a therapist cannot effectively assess the ideation or evaluate ANYTHING until you do.
      What troubles me, and will until I am further on in my journey through my own grief, is that so, so many professionals who treated my son were able to mouth the words that they welcomed my husband and my involvement and support of our son in his treatment, yet were completely unable to make use of our support in any meaningful way whatsoever. This includes my son’s request for our involvement. There are too many minute details involved for me to further expound without boring you, but suffice it to say that the demand on professionals for bureaucratic busy work and accountability in addition to actually doing the job of engaging with clients seems quite beyond the capabilities of a great many. Technology seems to actually be a detriment to engagement rather than the helpful and efficient timesaver as it seems to be presented to them. As a former therapist at a community agency, I am familiar with accountability for my time with a client v. paperwork devoted to accounting for that time.
      I digress here, but I’m hopeful that you will understand that when my turn came to be present on the part of receiving service, I was stunned and enraged at the dispassionate and sometimes arrogant and disengaged demeanor disguised as professional distance of those in whom my son entrusted his faith. How does one go about emotionally supporting a child while distrusting those who treat him? I never found a clear answer. I took it one day at a time and on a situational basis, praying to just do the next right thing for my son. I tried to maintain my role as his mother, and nothing else. He had scads of professionals –and only one mother– I chose the role I was given by a power greater than me. I have never regretted my choice. However, as the saying goes, you can’t not know what you know. I was disheartened, dismayed, enraged, frustrated, and disappointed that my chosen profession had seemingly attached and entrenched itself so deeply in science and objectivity that compassion and human empathy seemed to have disappeared. Have we become so analytical that emotion seems frivolous? That is how it felt to me as a family member.
      My husband and I have not engaged in any challenge of any agency regarding our son’s treatment. We are taking care of ourselves and our younger son and daughter in law, and our family is grieving and healing. That is our goal at the minute. I had almost daily talks with my son regarding his suicidal ideation, and he talked about with me quite freely although he would not tell me what his plan would be, just that he had one. I attempted to share with his caregivers what he had said-with his approval-and to keep the lines of communication open. His therapists and Dr. NEVER returned my calls despite having releases signed.
      I have no conclusion to my response here to your honesty, other than to thank you for your candid sharing and the opportunity to vent my own frustration as a retired professional who is also a survivor of a suicide of a loved one. I appreciate this place where I do so freely. Your post gave me a forum, and today I must have needed one!

  • September 13, 2016 at 2:09 am

    I very much enjoyed the article. However, I was very disappointed with how the article ended. Although you wrote, “Educate yourself and others. Knowing the warning signs of suicide could literally be the difference between life and death.” you did not end with a link, list, etc., of the warning signs of suicide. While I can certainly search for this information on my own, I am not an expert on credible resources. I don’t want to stumble across someone’s anecdotal list that they have created and assume it is the appropriate, current and accurate information.

  • October 5, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    I am so deeply moved by this post. My son died by suicide just four months ago. As his parents, my husband and I did every single thing we could, from the day our beautiful boy was born and through out his journey through mental illness and recovery. I have long thought, and believe, that NO parents do everything right, but most do as right as they can. We certainly did, and with perhaps more resources than most. The mistake is in thinking that if you do everything right, your child will succeed, and thus you will succeed. Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    Our son was failed by a system that is so shrouded by protections that, upon his death, there was no compassionate Doctor, no empathetic nurses, and the fact is this: the most compassionate people we spoke to were the police detectives who helped us find him and the homicide detective who was present when his body was found.
    I will not bore you with detail, but our son literally fought for his treatment and recovery, and yet he was in turns dismissed, treated as stupid, not given treatment, ordered at one point to take meds and not given attention when he had questions or concerns about the side effects….the list is long. This is a man who read books and journals about his illness, asked questions and was dismissed for asking them. He had an IQ of 140 and he missed being able to think. He missed feeling empowered. He was very, very sick, and he died.
    Nobody does everything right, but to think that the masses of those whose children grow up to become adults had parents who did is a fallacy. The author is correct in saying that ‘luck’ is not a reliable way to consider getting through maturation to adulthood.
    We ALL do the very best we can do as parents. But taking credit for the successful out come of one’s child seems to me to be the very height of egotism. Children are people in their own right, and they are born as such. I respected my son for who he was, who he became (an intelligent, compassionate, and kind man) and what he tried to accomplish. i will never consider his death as my fault. Ever. He was very, very sick. He tried everything he could, and so did we. We did not succeed. Does that make his father and I failures? I don’t think so.
    In loving memory of Ian Edwards Hoffmann: he was loved and admired by those who knew him.

    • July 9, 2017 at 4:14 pm

      Grieving Mom –
      My wife and I are with you…and many others responding to this story. So sorry for all our losses. As a Pediatrician and advocate for parents, as well as fellow medical providers, for over 20 years, I thought I, too, was providing all my son needed and wanted. It turned out we came up very short as a community, and ‘village,’ if you will. It wasn’t that we all didn’t try to get help. He, too, was brought to the sick-care crisis system for help. Our medical system, and society, is so defensive, blinded by ‘cognitive dissonance,’ that it is unable to see how we are failing as a system to help our citizens with mental health conditions; we aren’t listening to the survivors. Our son succumbed to suicide by shot-gun to the heart 10 days after leaving a primary care appointment, giving up on ever being able to get help, yet the medical system never acknowledged it had failed him…and us. The detectives who found him said he was “the most considerate suicide” they’d ever seen, and “must have had wonderful parents” given how apologetic he was about ‘leaving a mess’ behind for others to clean up. We are now writing a book of stories from surviving parents with a new and honest assessment to describe what we all need to do differently to stop this terrible loss of some of the most creative and sensitive people in our population. If you’d like to add your story and analysis of what ‘we’ could have done differently to save your child’s life, please contact me at [email protected] or call 210-833-9152. Your anonymity will be protected as we seek to “call it what it is” and write a new ending for other families before it’s too late.

  • January 30, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    It has been 10 days since I took my 25 year old daughter to the ER for drinking massive amounts of alcohol along with a bottle of hydrocodone in an attempt to take her own life. She was in an acute psychiatric institute for 7 days where she was deemed “stable” and called me to come pick her up with prescriptions for a mood stabalizer and meds to get her through a detox stage. She was given instructions to go to an outpatient drug and alcohol program run by our local state teaching hospital. She came straight home, left and straight to a bar. I have seen her 2 times since I brought her home. Her medications are on the dresser in her room. I have no control. My heart hurts. I am here, she is not. My fear is that will be a permanent absence one day.

    • January 31, 2017 at 7:38 pm

      I have been through something like you are right now. I cannot tell you what to do, but I can tell you what I did to survive it. I have been a member of AlAnon for several years. If you have not tried it, it is easy enough to find by going online to AlAnon.org and finding a meeting near you. Once there, you will find people who understand, who will listen, and who will give you support and show you kindness and even teach you things by sharing what they did. That’s a start.
      I hope you will be willing to just consider it. My heart is with you. I know what it feels like to try to keep panic at bay while you wonder where your child is and if she is safe. xx

  • April 22, 2017 at 3:16 am

    I would like to add to something the writer said: “We need to be just as aware of our mental health as we are about our physical health and, therefore, mental health education should be required curriculum in our schools”.
    As the healthcare industry progresses, there is burgeoning evidence and understanding of mental health affecting physical health and vice versa; they are linked. So in a sense, mental health IS physical health; the two are one.
    I can support this with my own experience with suicidal depression. When going through the worst parts, I developed RSI symptoms and chest pain; physical manifestations of emotional distress; mental health affecting physical health (and physical health affecting mental health, as my depression was based almost entirely on my injuries, chronic pain and feelings of illness/malaise).
    Fortunately I read a book by the name of The Mind Body Prescription by Dr. John E. Sarno, which cured my RSI symptoms. It is a fascinating read, which has cured many of their ailments, including back pain, dermatologic and gastrointestinal issues, to name but a few in the long list.

  • April 22, 2017 at 3:20 am

    Also to the moderators/those running the website, it would be great if there was an option to edit comments. Thank you,

  • April 22, 2017 at 3:25 am

    One more thing: to anyone struggling with depression or looking to help others with it, I strongly suggest Eckhart Tolle’s “a new earth”, as well as to have physical tests performed in an attempt to rule out a physical cause(s) of the depression, such as hormonal disfunction/disease e.g thyroid problems.

  • April 22, 2017 at 3:29 am

    Also, it would be great if the author of the article dated the article at the beginning.

    I would condense these short comments, but can’t due to the lack of a comment editing function on this page (as previously mentioned).

  • April 26, 2017 at 8:42 am

    I’m sure, had I actually committed suicide, my parents could have told a similar story about my smile, caring, etc. But it would have hidden the truth — they were abusers.

    Now I’m not saying the parents in this story are definitely abusers. No. A second hand story contains too little information to make such a claim.

    On the other hand, it also contains too little information to be sure they were caring parents, too.

    That’s why I HATE those kind of “tug at your heart strings” stories. Everyone feels sorry for the survivors, and the dead are, once again, largely forgotten.

    My heart goes out only to the 19 year old, whose life ended too soon.

    • July 12, 2017 at 10:39 am

      Dear anonymous, you put into words exactly what I wanted to say.

    • August 14, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      I remember cutting myself at age 12 and hiding it with long sleeves. Mom refused to consider psychiatric help as – quoting her, “you know how they are…they always blame the parents”. Had I continued slicing my arms, I too could see her saying how she always “did everything right….she was never mean like some mothers…” My grief remains for the dead.

  • April 30, 2017 at 9:49 am

    When I found out I was bipolar 2. I then understood through counseling about why my low points in my early years felt so hopeless. I attempted suicide twice, but thought it was from neglect. My family shrugged it off as a cry for attention. But, I saw it as failure. I slumped deeper into depression. Until I had gotten to the point when my anxiety made it impossible to leave my home my roommate was concerned. I saw a therapist. Explained everything and she said that since I did have manic episodes, but more low times, I was bipolar. This was scary since was such a stigma to it. When my parents went to therapy with me, they were suprised to learn about how I lived the way I do. The reasoning behind my attempts of suicide. Still today at 46, I don’t go out much. My son does. I make sure he does, cause I am fearful he will be like me. I watch for signs. Anything that makes me feel like I see something in him like I would do. I know some signs, and we are open about this..we do have open dialogue. Nothing would be more devastating then suicide.

  • May 5, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    maybe he held his issues in? i did that when i was 5 back in ’05 when i was bullied for social issues
    (never would think of suicide)

    • May 7, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      You were very young to attempt that. Are you getting help

  • May 31, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    I feel so sorry for those people on here who have lost a beloved child or indeed anyone to suicide. I can’t imagine how you must be feeling.

    I have suffered from depression for many years and most times with some counselling (I had to pay for) in the past, managed to cope. I have continual suicidal thoughts though but normally can manage them. Occasionally my mind will spiral down to such an extent that I make plants to end it.

    My negative experiences include a doctor who just diagnosed me with sleep problems and flung a leaflet at me after giving me an annoyed lecture. Taking an overdose and waking up on my own 2 days later. Later I did find a much better doctor. Last time I was this bad I rang up the out of hours service, the man was very impatient with me and said he had to go as he was very busy. This pushed me over the edge and I did end up od’ing. I rang up to tell him he had caused it and he just threatened to call the police unless I called an ambulance. I did. The paramedics were lovely and said I would get help. I ended up slumped in a chair in the hospital in full view of everyone for 4 hours. I was kept in overnight and after a 5 minute chat with a psychiatrist was discharged and was told someone would ring me that weekend to make sure I was ok. The same rude man rang so I told him yes, though I wasn’t.

    I do know if I ever feel like that again I would never try and seek help from the out of hours counsellor, the doctor, nor the hospital. I have learnt they mainly make the situation worse.

    I tried to get NHS counselling last year but was told I am only ‘moderate depression’ and was turned down. I can’t afford private counselling.

    This is why people commit suicide coz there is no one there to help. if I can’t manage on my own then so be it. What’s one life more or less anyway? Sorry if I sound bitter but I can totally emphasise with those who have suffered at the lack of mental health services available to us. It’s a disgrace.

    • August 12, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      Hypercat’s story shows the reality of why there’s little point in recognizing the symptoms – because that’ll just leave you feeling worse because yet again the health service betrayed you. H isn’t the only one who’s been assessed as not depressed enough to get treatment. My partner hanged himself and very nearly died but was first assessed as low risk then upgraded to moderate but had to wait 3 months for treatment with no known date when it would become available. Then it was time limited. Now he’s struggling again with the lack of treatment from the health service but has no therapist to turn to either. They’re all so pleased with themselves that they’ve saved the life of someone who didn’t want to be saved but they’re not prepared to look after them physically or emotionally after the first few weeks.

  • June 8, 2017 at 3:22 am

    I volunteered for the Samaritans a while ago, and they advised us to ask a caller ‘are you feeling suicidal?’ if they felt that was a likely issue. I would also add that the Samaritans have saved my bacon on more than one occasion, when I was at risk of being overwhelmed by my negative emotions on the middle of the night. The prizewinner in that respect was one ‘Valentine’. I called him at 5.30 a.m. on Christmas Day: it was my first Christmas alone after my divorce, and the day before I had tried to give CPR to an old lady in my local shop. She died. Who else can you call at 5.30 on Christmas morning..? Valentine was great: he said “It was probably the old girl’s time to go anyway” – which lightened my mood. Then we got to talking about my divorce. I went back to sleep at 6 a.m., and was woken at 8 by my kids’ excited voices as they opened their presents. The Samaritans are a brilliant port in a storm – I do not know if there is a similar organisation outside the UK, but they are literally life-savers..! Another time I became acutely depressed and ran into the local nurse’s room at my doctor’s surgery in years. The nurse prescribed anti-depressants and set up counselling
    I still check in with her 2 years in, every three months. Her door is always open. I am so lucky to have these hands to lift me up whenever I fall. I wish you peace on the loss of your child. The river of years flows beside the road of life: whenever the river threatens to burst its banks and flood the road, reach out for help. I wish you well. You are very brave.

  • June 14, 2017 at 9:55 am

    A sign can be a smile over one’s face with a tear in one’s eye. I’ve read that when a plan is in place is when the person is at the edge of the abyss. I had a childhood that left me without developed coping skills necessary in life, an impulsivity that caused many legal issues, and a need to be altered by substances. That was five decades ago and that plan is ready to launch. I haven’t tried to commit suicide since November 2016. If my snoopy neighbor hadn’t noticed my absence for days on end which was very unusual as I tended to garden every day. I would have died. It is when I read stories like this, and feel the pain of the parents, I realize I may be a lot of things but selfish I am not. I would never want my children to carry my memory in such a way for the remainder of their lives. I say that with confidence but when I haven’t slept in three days, I tend to foget my values, forget my children and do become more selfish than I profess.

  • June 28, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Even when parents “do everything right”, the interpretation of a child suffering with a mental illness does not perceive things the same way a mentally healthy person does. The lens they are looking through is a filter that modifies and interprets events in a unique way. Their hearing is selective and transforming. Unless you have walked in the shoes of a mentally sick person you have no way of evaluating their interpretation of life. Suicide happens when life becomes too painful to bear. They just want the pain to stop. My condolences to you for your loss of your loved one.

  • June 28, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    Yet another suicide story which focuses pretty much solely on how these parents are going to cope. While it should be (must be) brought up, I would rather think about why and how this situation happened in the first place. I know, mental disorders and all…why caused by what exactly? By a situation or an event which could have been avoided?
    Suicide will never stop happening. But if we want to try and make it a bit more seldom we should focus more on what leads to suicide (and that is, go deeper than blaming depression, which doesn’t mean much in the end as depression is caused by a previous event or situation) rather than on how to cope.
    If it didn’t happen, no one would have to cope…

    • August 2, 2017 at 11:50 pm

      Parents on here are saying depression or other illness caused suicide. Many of us cannot imagine that is so hard for some people to understand the obvious. My heart goes out to the parents. And friends of these victims. (If that is the word, maybe it isn’t) Of course there can be situations that can sadly lead to the worst. Sometimes both happen, mental illness and a horrible situation. It is horrible that mental health providers/psychiatrists couldn’t do more.It can happen in any family but since it doesn’t people don’t understand. The discussion about doing all we can is partly useless. Some have done all they can, that’s it. I would love to know if there is anything that can work for prevention.Sometimes there are signs to look for. How qualified are most psychiatrists? I see that the ER is often not going to see the signs. Prevention meaning knowing the signs, knowing how to act and whatevver else can be done.

  • August 6, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    Suicide affects everyone differently. To break it down into a simple equation, Suicide = Stress > Support. It’s quite simple to understand, but extremely difficult to affect. The stress and support come from both internal and external forces.

    I am 37 years old and came very close to ending my life about 18 months ago. I’m very happy that I didn’t go through with it, but I absolutely wish I didn’t go down that road and, at the time, all I wished was that there was some solution available to me that didn’t involve medications. I called the Suicide Prevention Line a few times, talked it out with many a friend, and looked inward to try to help myself. But nothing seemed to work.

    In the end, I confronted the problem, saw that the problem was not going to fix itself, and found acceptance in my heart for my problem. My problem was my Mom. The problem is still there, but I’m becoming better at ignoring it. She was a source of Support for me, as well as a major point of Stress. Her emotions were like a rollercoaster with fantastic highs and scary lows. But human emotions are not like a rollercoaster ride where the lows balance the highs. They are much more similar to a musical composition where one “bad” note can potentially ruin the entire song. String together enough insidious notes and it will deeply affect your state of being.

    The other, bigger problem I faced was myself. There’s a saying that “Intelligence walks a fine line between genius and insanity.” Some of the things that I think of and come to conclusions about would drive many people crazy. And there are countless people out there that have the same thoughts as me. But suicide doesn’t choose. It doesn’t affect certain types of people. Everyone is different and the circumstances are always unique. However one thing that is always present, whether it was known beforehand or not, is a monumental amount of stress, with less than enough support to overcome the stress.

    I absolutely do not think that his parents did anything wrong. I do think that obviously there could have been more done in the situation to prevent this man from killing himself, but I firmly believe that at this point in history we don’t have the proper tools and techniques to heal mental health issues. The incomplete understanding that psychologists currently have about the field they are studying, our brain, mind, and soul, is akin to the understanding medical doctors had in 1900 when they were prescribing “voodoo” powder and sawing off people’s legs if they had an infection.

    Everyone has a story full of rife and laughter. As beautiful sentient human beings we are able to turn the darkness of stressful experiences, with enough support, into the colors of the rainbow. But if we don’t have the necessary support, that darkness can grow into a black cloud that shadows all of your thoughts.

    At this point, I would love nothing more than to bequeath you with some very specific directions to help alleviate the mental issues that we see within ourselves and in those closest to us. But these tools don’t exist yet, the discovery still awaits.

    I hope that I’ve at least opened some of you up to the idea that there is still work to do, and no one is at fault. “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest her or his patients in the care of the human frame, in a proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” ~Thomas Edison. Hey Thomas, let’s not forget to add in “care of the mind”!

    Much love,

  • August 12, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    suicide = stress > support is a good description and in my experience it’s particularly true when the stress is caused by the lack of support given for something by the people responsible for providing that support. In our case pain relief, sleeping tablets and medical treatment were needed but not given. In many others a lack of financial support because of a broken, corrupt benefits system.

  • September 3, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    All I can say is this.

    Suicide is easily spreadable and contangious, especially in teens. Just think, you are in high school, enjoying life with your best friends and special one. All of you have no issues, far as you know, right?

    Then your best friend or special one killed themself. This makes you wonder what happened and look around you. This can actually break the reality that you have and you can easily spiral into depression after realizing this and unable to handle it.

    There, you can make recovery after years from it, adaptinf, or you take yourself out of the broken reality via suicide.

    Now, I do not have this issue. My reality was broken when I was in grade school due to many reasons. I managed to get by and move one. But even I can easily undo my recovery by just breaking down or not progressing enough. I broke down during my juinor year.

    I went into behavior theraphy for a week.

    Few weeks later, I had to witness my entire family bury my uncle who killed himself because of the memories of Vietnam War he served in. There, my reality was broken, but for better. I watched my family mourn, cursed him out, cried why he do this. I had to watch my grandmother to bury her son. I just stood by and watched with apathic face, knowing that if I had killed myself, this is what will happen at my death.

    That made my reality to at least be better, with the thoughts that I do no longer want to die, if this is result.

    After all, loved ones should never have to watch a mother bury her child before her death.

  • September 13, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    Not enough is being done to prevent suicide. My humble opinion. If it is genetic or chemical more needs to be done. NO matter what I am deeply saddened. I used to feel worse to hear of it when someone is under 20. Now I feel sad no matter what. No parent purposely says things uncalled for or stupid. No one knows what to say. I lost family members and know it is impossible for anyone to know what it’s like > It wasn’t suicide but it still hurts. Forever. I am sorry for your losses. It must be very sad. I miss my parents even though it was different. A loss like this know one should know. I hope you all feel more smiles and love everyday moving forward.

  • September 26, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    As a person laying right now in a hospital bed, i can tell u the signs aren’t always there. Not 4 days ago, i was with my family, laughing and ‘making plans’ for my life to give off the vibe i was ok.. i didnt want to raise any alarms and went about my daily duties like i would any other day.
    If you dont want help, you wont seek it out. I dont want help, and as i lay here in this hospital bed, i research what i did wrong, so next time, there wont be a next time.

  • October 6, 2017 at 10:04 am

    Hello Gabe,
    My daughter was in treatment for 10 years for depression. Problem was, she most likely was bi-polar. She was very adept at hiding her mania from her therapists. In her mind she wasn’t bothered with being labeled depressed, just couldn’t stand the thought of being called—well you know. She was 34 when she hung herself. Mental illness is such a twisted and tangled road. I saw what was happening, spoke my mind, but ultimately could do nothing. I believe what saved you, is your willingness to admit the extent of your illness. I am so glad that you have, may you enjoy a full life in spite of it.

  • November 2, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    When I tried to end it I was in a state of pure terror a being bothered by ‘entities’ and there was no warning beforehand. Except my usual eccentric conversation.

    One thing I want to mention is that ‘therapy’ does not work for everyone. I would be given any treatment I need, and quickly, because of my previous behaviours. But when I try to go to therapy things get far far worse. I start to have two sections in my brain, one is my normal self and one is my ‘therapied’ self. It makes things far worse.

    I’m not sure what to do. Perhaps things will work out. Perhaps I will gain positivity from friends or family or other opportunities. But my reality is that I keep getting worse and worse. I am supported and that is good. But I am getting more and more anxious and unable to do things like prepare myself food and do my laundry.

    Hearing though that others have gone through bad situations and are still fighting through it gives me hope that things can get better for me to. It’s hard to remember when things are dark that people do go through all sorts of unpleasant things and come out on the other side in a good place.

  • March 7, 2018 at 9:23 am

    Why to think that a new life is a “win” and a “dead” is a loss?
    The psychologist is doing his job convincing people to live within the norms of society
    Whatever is out of those norms is “crazy” or a “loss”
    if someone did not want to be part of this circus, he or she had the right to take action without any criticism from the establishment.
    Parents are crying because they feel the pain of not to see their son anymore. Is all about them.
    Why shouldn’ they be happy instead knowing that their son took the decision about his own future.
    Nobody has the “right” to force their norms into others


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