Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

Tag: suicide

March
6th

SUICIDE: Parents need to see signs in teens

Public schools should inform the guardians of middle school children about the importance of depression, as well as its signs. Many parents either don’t realize the gravity of the situation or think it is just a phase.

A friend of mine has been fighting depression for more than five years, but his parents refuse to recognize his condition and get him help. If the public schools spoke to parents about how severe depression is with teenagers, then more people would get help for their child.

Teens with depression tend to use alcohol and drugs to numb the pain. This could lead

Read more »

Feb.
17th

SUICIDE: Educate yourself and others on depression

It was with great sadness that I read that yet another life was lost due to suicide, in this case a final leap from the Tacoma Narrows Bridge Monday. It was also on Monday that Deborah Morton’s reader column was published. She reflects upon the suicide of her son’s boss and the darkness and despair that lead people down the “path of no return.”

While I am not an expert on depression or suicide, I can relate to the harsh reality and grief that the survivors of suicide endure afterwards. After having three close relatives commit suicide, I can

Read more »

Nov.
5th

GUNS: I-594 a step in the right direction

Washington state has taken a step in the right direction towards having a serious conversation about the escalation of gun violence in our country. We lead the world in gun violence causing the deaths of children and teens. In 2010, 2,694 youth lost their lives and 15,576 were critically injured by gun violence – the leading cause of death among African American youth and the second leading cause of death for children of any race. Our kids are 17 times more likely to be killed by a firearm than teens in other countries and are 10 times more likely to

Read more »

Aug.
14th

SUICIDE: Be sensitive to demons of depression

For those who decry Robin Williams’ suicide as an act of selfishness or cowardice, I pity your friends and family for your being so insensitive. You obviously have never had any personal dealings with the demons of depression.

As one who has experienced depression personally and professionally, I can tell you that once you are in the seemingly bottomless pit of despair, there appears to be no way back to the surface. You can’t even see the opening of the hole above, no light at the end of the tunnel.

So how is one to get out of a situation

Read more »

May
3rd

SUICIDE: Those are people behind the statistics

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced that the suicide rate among middle-aged Americans climbed 28 percent between 1999 and 2010 (TNT, 5-3).

Having lost my brother three years ago, it is important to remember that these numbers represent real people and real families. When I lost my brother I wasn’t thinking about statistics. Instead, I was overwhelmed by a thousand questions, many of which began with “Why?”

When I became a volunteer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, I learned that 90 percent of people who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness, often undiagnosed depression,

Read more »

June
22nd

MILITARY: Training needed to prevent suicide

Re: “JBLM committee working to prevent soldier suicides” (TNT, 6-22).

I retired from the Navy as the command chaplain at Submarine Group 9/NSSC Bangor in 2007. Shortly thereafter I was asked to help train Army personnel at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (then Fort Lewis), as a volunteer, in Applied Suicide Interventionist Skills Training (ASIST) alongside Gary Ouellette. I did this for about two years.

My observations were that while ASIST is a highly effective program, the best in the world, Army units would pull soldiers from the training for multitudes of reasons. Gary and I, along with a temporary assistant,

Read more »

April
16th

SUICIDE: Training teachers could help

I was saddened when I heard about the death of Daffodil princess and Chief Leschi student Alexandria Tyler Cole. I never knew her personally, but Chief Leschi and our school have competed in sports together for as long as I can remember.

When the administration shared with our students the news of her death, the students at my high school were moved with compassion and prayed for Alexandria and her family, and we will continue to pray for them during this time.

I agree with the law being passed in Alaska requiring that teachers and staff be trained to recognize

Read more »

Oct.
31st

MILITARY: Step could reduce suicides

Monday we awoke to a front page with two now common stories: one about two of our Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers killed in Afghanistan, the other about a soldier who died, in part, by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Self-inflicted death amongst our troops is now the more common story. His story is the poster example of the factors most common to military suicide: alcohol, relationship issues, impulsive emotion and quick access to a gun.

I doubt he planned the evening’s outcome as he readied himself for a party. The escalating suicide rate is increasingly frustrating to military leaders and mental

Read more »