Anyone who has watched the news or listened to the radio over the past few weeks would have heard of the inquest into the death of Channel Ten newsreader Charmaine Dragun, who committed suicide at the Gap in 2007.

Every day between six and seven Australians die from suicide.

From all reports Charmaine was an intelligent and bright young woman who had a promising career ahead of her as a television broadcaster. However, she was troubled and ultimately this became too much for her to bear.

Charmaine’s career was in the electronic media, an industry with its own special pressures, egos and preference for perfection.  The media is competitive – absurdly so – and I imagine it was unlikely anyone dealing with self doubt and anxiety would feel comfortable discussing their situation and reaching out to a colleague for support.

My background is in the law - another competitive field.

I worked at two big firms and I found my roles rewarding, competitive and demanding. 

Law firms continue to be places of excellence, achievement and competition, and often, they can be places where lawyers – especially young people - find themselves under enormous pressure.

But the profession is addressing the issue and this week they launched a program called Resiliance@Law, a collaboration that aims to shine a light on mental illness in the legal workplace and help young lawyers deal with issues.

The point of highlighting this initiative is that combating mental illness requires building awareness and resilience, identifying and reaching out to those in need and providing pathways to treatment.

Mental illness is one of the most common and significant factors behind suicide in Australia.

In fact, every day, six to seven Australian die by suicide and for every person lost by suicide, there are approximately 30 others who have made an attempt.

These figures are 40% higher than deaths caused on our roads – a figure I find completely unacceptable. And in Australia, it is young men who are most frequently lost to suicide.

Consider the plan of Sydney’s Woollahra Council to upgrade facilities around the Gap to help prevent suicides.

The Federal Government recently approved funding for CCTV cameras -  a small part of the plan - after long delays. The cameras will enable police to respond more quickly to incidents at the Gap. 

But a key part of the plan, a new fence, motion sensor lights and a free 24-hour emergency phone, remain unfunded despite advocacy from the community, from council and from parliamentarians.

The Federal Government’s refusal to fund this part of the Gap plan is deeply disappointing, to say the very least.

Somehow they are unable to find a mere $3 million to fund a project, which on any reasonable estimation, will save lives.

I urge NSW Premier Kristina Kenneally to use any influence she has with Federal Labor to secure this funding in the May Budget and, by doing that, help make a real difference in preventing suicide in NSW.

I am passionate about fighting mental illness because I also recognise the profound individual, familial, social and economic costs of such illness.

Take a look at the recently released Intergenerational Report 2010 which details the complex mix of long-term challenges Australia faces — an ageing and growing population and escalating pressures on the health system.

These challenges will place substantial pressure on Australia’s economy, our living standards and on government finances over the next 40 years.

For all these reasons, we need healthy people who, unencumbered by mental illness, will make a strong contribution to our economy.

Demystifying mental illness, combating ignorance and prejudice is a first step to fighting it. This includes identifying and reaching out to those in need; building resilience skills; making treatment options available and providing practical preventative measures.

And then the fight also requires research to understand and address the causes of mental illness.

Why am I campaigning for better understanding of mental health?

The answer is that I am a mother of two children. I want to ensure that the environment my kids grow up in is free of prejudice and stigma towards people dealing with intense but treatable issues, like mental illness. It is that simple.

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57 comments

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    • Eric says:

      06:33am | 25/03/10

      “And in Australia, it is young men who are most frequently lost to suicide.”

      I wonder how much of this might be due to our society’s constant assault on masculinity? Blaming men for all the troubles in the world can only contribute to depression.

    • Just do it says:

      08:03am | 25/03/10

      Well done Eric you’ve managed to turn an article about suicide into “man V woman” if you are so unsatisfied with how men’s issues are dealt with why don’t you stop wasting your time whinging anonymously on blogs and actually take some action to make it better for you like women had to. 

      Go out and make some noise in the real world, start an organisation or take part in a charity surely these things would be more productive to you than purposely going out of your way to make yourself angry by reading articles and trying to turn them into a personal attack on you and your manhood?

    • kel says:

      08:53am | 25/03/10

      @ Just do it, myself and others have made this suggestion with Eric and failed. He seems content to continually drive gender wars, even in response to pieces like this which are about a type of tragedy that affects both sexes.

    • Eric says:

      09:04am | 25/03/10

      Last I heard, male suicides exceeded female suicides by a factor of four to one.

      Sure looks like a gender issue to me.

    • MM says:

      09:34am | 25/03/10

      Even if your stats are true Eric, you’re saying you don’t care about suicide as a whole, or the one in four that are women, just the men who have done it? Pathetic.

    • AFR says:

      09:44am | 25/03/10

      It becomes a gender issue when it suits you, Eric. Please do not use such serious issues as depression and suicide to wage another of your silly gender wars.

    • BTS says:

      09:47am | 25/03/10

      Why isn’t Eric allowed to voice his position, like the rest of you?

      If you don’t like what he has to say, don’t read it and more importantly, if it’s that big an issue to you, don’t reply to it.

      Eric,

      It would only be a gender issue if female suicides outnumbered male suicides 4 to 1.

    • Eric says:

      12:06pm | 25/03/10

      True, BTS. If 4 out of 5 suicides were women, we’d never hear the end of it.

      What’s so wrong about asking for equal consideration?

    • Peter says:

      01:44pm | 25/03/10

      One of the historical reasons for males being more “successful” at suicide than females is choice of method.  Men have traditionally been more likely to use firearms to commit suicide than women.  Women traditionally used prescription drugs.

    • BTS says:

      04:52pm | 25/03/10

      Eric,

      Fundamentally, they don’t want men to have equal consideration.  Humans suffer from selfishness.  What’s in it for me and how much can I get is generally what motivates. 

      You intrude on that concept when you ask for equality and that’s why you draw so much venom.

    • John A Neve says:

      07:25am | 25/03/10

      Just what is wrong with a person taking their own life?
      Provided they don’t injure another person by their actions, surely it is their right?

      I find it strange that it is illegal, if the person is successfull, the law can not harm them, if their attempt fails, the last thing they need is a court case.

      There are far more important issues in our world than suicide.

    • Joe says:

      08:10am | 25/03/10

      Attempting suicide isn’t illegal in Australia

    • Dan says:

      08:14am | 25/03/10

      I could be mistaken, but I believe that the reason that suicide is illegal is that it allows the police to intervene. If someone wanted to jump off a bridge, and it was perfectly legal, then the police would have no justification to attempt to stop them. Afterall, the person isn’t committing a crime. However, because suicide is technically illegal, the police would be able to stop them and then provide them with the help they need.

      That said, I think that prevention of suicide, and treatment of mental illness, is one of the most important issues in the world. Civil liberties are one thing, but as a society we must do everything in our power to treat mental illness and to prevent suicide. If we don’t, what kind of society are we?

    • John A Neve says:

      09:42am | 25/03/10

      Dan,

      I both agree and disagree with your comments. However,suicide and mental health are not synonymous.

      Yes, let’s give those with mental problems all the help we can. But let’s not assume all those that attempt or succeed in suicide are ill.

      If the pressures on a person are so great that they no longer want to live, surely that is their decision?

      Without being careless suicide is natural selection at work, the weak fall by the wayside.

    • BTS says:

      09:49am | 25/03/10

      Committing suicide is not an offence.  Assisting someone to commit suicide is an offence.

      Police have legislated right to prevent a person from committing suicide and that covers their actions legally.

    • Sc says:

      11:07am | 25/03/10

      I was on the brink of suicide a year ago and if I hadn’t received help from my family and a period of hospitalisation and ongoing treatment, I would be dead now.  Sure, it was my right to kill myself, but I’m eternally grateful that someone stepped in to help me.  Now I’m getting back into life and work and while mental illness will always be a shadow that hangs over me, it doesn’t have to mean a death sentence.

      Suicide always injures other people.  It is devastating to the family and friends of the person who has taken their life as they will have to deal, not only with grief, but with the thought, “Could I have stopped it?”.

    • Peter says:

      01:49pm | 25/03/10

      The legality issue is one thing, being a “right” is another.  People with depression who commit suicide are suffering from a chronic illness.  One of the manifestations of that illness is suicide ideation which in some cases leads to actual attempts at suicide.  Putting to one side the voluntary euthanasia context and other specific cases, those who attempt suicide as a result of chronic depressive illness are ill.  There is medical treatment and care for them. Understanding and tolerance is so important.  Beyond the person who commits suicide are their friends and familes who suffer as a result with feelings of guilt.

    • John A Neve says:

      01:53pm | 25/03/10

      Sc,
      “Could I have stopped it (suicide)?”
      If that is the persons wish, who are you to interfere?
      Without knowing what goes on in another persons head, family and friends are in no position to judge.

    • Dan says:

      04:23pm | 25/03/10

      Nice John A Neve. Saying that Without being careless suicide is natural selection at work, the weak fall by the wayside’ shows you don’t really understand the issue. Suicide is not about ‘weak’ people removing themselves fo evolutionary reasons; it is about parents, children, sublings killing themselves. It is a horrible, horrible thing.

    • BTS says:

      04:43pm | 25/03/10

      John A Neve,

      Most times the suicidal person isn’t the right person to judge.  They are usually in such a dark place, they have lost the ability to make sound judgement.  In these circumstances, shouldn’t external influence be acceptable.  I know a few who were grateful they got external help.

    • John A Neve says:

      05:51pm | 25/03/10

      Dan & BTS,

      You both make my point, if a person has “lost the ability to make sound judgement”, they are sick. I have already declared my view on those that are sick, don’t you two read?

      However, not all suicides are sick people, if you both believe that, you are sick.

      I repeat no two people suicide for the same reason, but you two think they do!!!!

    • Dan says:

      07:43pm | 25/03/10

      John A Neve, you obviously need to look up the definiton of the word sick. Saying that the overwhelming majority of suicides are mentally ill (which is true) does not make one sick. Oh, and I’m fully aware of what you think about sick people. You think they are weak and it’s natural selection at play, or some nonsence like that.

    • Chris says:

      08:02pm | 25/03/10

      At law, suicide is a form of homicide. Homicide is the killing of a human being by a human being. Obviously, murder and manslaughter are the biggies you always hear about, but culpable driving, accidental killing (e.g. car or sporting accident) and euthenasia are also forms of homicide. Suicide is another. The Police are empowered and obliged to intervene in homicides if possible, in order to preserve life.

    • BTS says:

      07:42am | 26/03/10

      John A Neve,

      First of all, don’t froth at the mouth at me.  You are placing your interpretation of what I have said, not mine.

      ‘You both make my point, if a person has “lost the ability to make sound judgement”, they are sick. I have already declared my view on those that are sick, don’t you two read?’

      If you really knew anything about suicide, you would know that is an unsustainable supposition.  I said that ‘they are usually in such a dark place, they have lost the ability to make sound judgement.’  You said they are ‘sick’, whatever that means?  Let’s give it the literal meaning.  When you get sick John, should we just have you put down or should we wait in case you get better?  Which is it?  Having influenza is a sickness, so should we exterminate you on this basis.  You really don’t have an understanding of suicide and the effect that it leaves on those left behind.  Fortunately, society has determined, unlike yourself (surprisingly) that the suicidal person should be supported and treated so that they can get through the issues affecting their judgement.  Suicidal people can recover and become active and contribute back again to the community.  Your position denies them that opportunity.

      ‘However, not all suicides are sick people, if you both believe that, you are sick.’

      I didn’t say that anywhere, you did.  You were the one that prescribed ‘sickness’.  I said they were in a dark place.  Take your own example, ‘If the pressures on a person are so great that they no longer want to live, surely that is their decision?’, I didn’t say they were sick, I said they were in a dark place.  Surely you would agree, that if they are feeling pressure so great that they don’t want to be here, then in their mind that must be a dark place.  See you said sickness, you described it as an ‘illness’ - I didn’t.  You are creating interpretations people never said so that you can argue against it with your own point of view. 

      ‘I repeat no two people suicide for the same reason, but you two think they do!!!!’

      No that’s your misinterpretation and your supposition of what was said (and if I add !!!! after my statement, does that reinforce my argument?)

      !!!!!

    • BTS says:

      07:50am | 26/03/10

      Chris,

      It may depend in what State you live, but there certainly are States where suicide is legal, assisting them is not.

    • Jen says:

      09:19am | 26/03/10

      John A Neve,
      Are you saying that we should leave natural selection to take care of things every time somebody has an illness, be it a mental illness or heart disease?

      My guess is that you receive medical treatment when you have an illness (like most people in society). I suggest you either put your money where your mouth is and refuse medical treatment for any illness or stop and think before you type this sort of garbage on a public forum.

      Suicide is serious and we all need to do something. We all need to start by taking the time to let loved ones know that you are always there no matter what.

    • John A Neve says:

      10:42am | 26/03/10

      BTS,

      No where on this site have you acknowleged a persons right to end their life!  I wonder why not?

      You’re right “I don’t really have an understanding of suicide”,  but neither do you. As to “those left behind” are they sorry for the one who has gone or themselves? Based on some of the posts here, I’d say the later.

      Why would you support and treat a person who wants to die? Who are you to say thay are wrong?

      I don’t deny a person any thing, unlike you, who wants to impose their will on others. As to your quaint “dark place” I sleep in one every night, is the a new medical term you have dreamed up?

      Jen,

      In answer to your question regarding natural selection; Yes, if that is the wish of the individual, why not.  There are many medical proceedures I’d refuse.
      “Suicide is serious and we all need to do some thing”, Why?
      This get’s us right back to the start, a person’s life is their and theirs alone, provide they are not hurting others, how they live or die should be their decision. Sadly like Peter you want to impose your will on others, have a guilty conscience do we?

    • BTS says:

      01:55pm | 26/03/10

      John A Neve,

      ‘No where on this site have you acknowleged a persons right to end their life!  I wonder why not?’

      I wasn’t aware that I had to?  Is this another example of you imposing your will on others?

      ‘You’re right “I don’t really have an understanding of suicide”,  but neither do you.’

      How do you know whether I do or not?  Unfortunately, for you, I have studied suicide.  I knew you didn’t, you demonstrate it in what you say.

      ‘As to “those left behind” are they sorry for the one who has gone or themselves?’

      Most people want there loved ones to be alive and in their lives.

      ‘Based on some of the posts here, I’d say the later.’

      We’ve already established, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

      ‘Why would you support and treat a person who wants to die? Who are you to say thay are wrong?’

      People who have been saved and treated have expressed their gratitude that someone else intervened.  It’s a fairly good indicator.

      ‘I don’t deny a person any thing, unlike you, who wants to impose their will on others.’

      I think I have shown fairly clearly, you are the one trying to impose your will here, the rest of us realise that supporting the person who has suicidal ideation is the most appropriate step. 

      No one has told you that you don’t have the right to take your own life (you have imagined that).

      ‘As to your quaint “dark place” I sleep in one every night, is the a new medical term you have dreamed up?’

      No that’s the term most suicidal people feel most usefully reflects their situation and where they have been.  Again, based on study.

    • John A Neve says:

      02:40pm | 26/03/10

      BTS,
      You’re at it again, you either think all suicides are in your “dark place” or you have to accept some people have the right to chose. But no you just blunder on.

      If you are an example of some one who has studied suicide, I am very glad I haven’t.

      “People who have been saved and treated have exressed their gratitude”!! How many haven’t and how many have later still killed themselves?

      Lastly BTS, nowhere have I suggested what people should do, you have all the time. But you probably work in the field, so it’s money in your pocket. Try reading some of you own post BTS and Peter’s while you are at it. Poor old Peter can’t even answer a question, knowledgeable you are not.

    • Zeta says:

      09:01am | 25/03/10

      “...For all these reasons, we need healthy people who, unencumbered by mental illness, will make a strong contribution to our economy.”

      I’m sure Charmaine Dragun would have turned away from the edge if someone had have reminded her that if she died, she’d never buy another useless trinket again, never paid off another credit card, never worked another day in her life and fed the perpetual money machine, the tax roundabout, never trickled down her profits, never consumed another resource. I’m sure that’s what was going through her head at that moment. And I’m sure it would have comforted her to know the elites of the world, the cloying suicide prevention sentimentalists in their nice big offices and their board memberships with Beyond Blue want to save her so she could have kept on being a productive member of their society. I really want to swear at you. But instead I’ll pray for you.

      “Thou art a subject of the divine, created in the image of man, by the masses, for the masses. Let us be thankful we have an occupation to fill. Work hard, increase production, prevent accidents and be happy.”  Let us be thankful we have commerce. Buy more. Buy more now. Buy. And be happy.”

    • Peter says:

      01:57pm | 25/03/10

      Zeta, in the vast majority of cases, suicide attempts are as a result of depressive illness, not some existential ennui.

    • John A Neve says:

      02:06pm | 25/03/10

      Peter,

      How can you say “in the vast majority of cases, suicide attempts are as a result of depressive illness”?

      You cannot talk to those that succeed and those that fail are sick. Please don’t put you views on others. You don’t know why people attempt suicide and I suspect no two people do it for the same reason.

    • Zeta says:

      02:08pm | 25/03/10

      The psychological establishment says it’s depressive illness. If they said it was existential ennui, would you believe it then?

      And I didn’t say she wasn’t depressed, just that Gabrille Upton is a special kind of evil for saying suicide is problematic because it might eliminate more consumers from the marketplace.

      As someone who’s suffered what the psychological establishment calls depression my entire life, I don’t see a difference between a medical label, and the crushing realisation that life is meaningless. The label, ‘depression’ gives pharmaceutical companies an excuse to peddle harmful products to vulnerable people. Answering existential questions helps people overcome depression without resort to suicide or drug addiction. Therefore, I think treating depression as an existential problem is probably more beneficial in the long run.

    • Peter says:

      02:20pm | 25/03/10

      A report by the Wesley Missions contains the following paragraph:

      There is strong evidence that mental health problems are major contributors to suicidal behaviours in people of all ages. Various studies, both in Australia and overseas have shown that more than 90% of people who committed suicide were suffering from some form of mental illness. This was the case across all age groups. Indeed, people with recognised mental illness are 10 times more likely to take their own lives than the general population.66 It has also been estimated that 15% of people suffering serious mental illness will eventually commit suicide.67 Sufferers of schizophrenia are particularly vulnerable, with up to 10% taking their own lives.68

    • John A Neve says:

      06:04pm | 25/03/10

      Peter,

      The Wesley Mission has religious overtones, based on the actions of many seminary trained people, of many nationalities, over many years,
      I would suggest most of us have some form of mental illness.

      One of the worst forms of mental illness, is, in my view, when we try to impose our view on others. To tell some one they don’t really want to die, when in fact they do. Is a classic example.

      Sorry Peter, but my life is my life, don’t you ever tell me we I can or cannot end it.

    • BTS says:

      08:12am | 26/03/10

      John A Neve,

      6.51pm 25/03/10
      ‘You both make my point, if a person has “lost the ability to make sound judgement”, they are sick.  However, not all suicides are sick people, if you both believe that, you are sick.’

      07:04pm | 25/03/10
      ‘One of the worst forms of mental illness, is, in my view, when we try to impose our view on others.

      So, is it still mental illness when you try to impose your view on others?

    • BTS says:

      08:42am | 26/03/10

      Peter / John A Neve,

      The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders- Fourth Edition (American Psychiatric Association, 1994) is the current reference used by mental health professionals and physicians to diagnose mental disorders.

      Borderline Personality Disorder DSM IV Criteria:

      A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following: 

        1. frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.

        2. a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.

        3. identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.

        4. impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.

        5. recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior

        6. affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).

        7. chronic feelings of emptiness

        8. inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)

        9. transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms


      ‘More than 90 percent of people who kill themselves have a diagnosable mental disorder, most commonly a depressive disorder or a substance abuse disorder.’

      (Source Conwell Y, Brent D. Suicide and aging I: patterns of psychiatric diagnosis. International Psychogeriatrics, 1995; 7(2): 149-64.)

      The original source of the Wesley Missions statement, religion or no relgion, it is fact.

    • BTS says:

      08:49am | 26/03/10

      John A Neve,

      ‘Sorry Peter, but my life is my life, don’t you ever tell me we I can or cannot end it.’

      Peter, never said that, you did.

      Would that be another ‘one of the worst forms of mental illness, is, in my view, when we try to impose our view on others’?

    • John A Neve says:

      10:55am | 26/03/10

      Bts,

      How could any one possibly know “More than 90% of people who kill themselves have a diagnosable mental disorder”.  Tell us BTS, how could any one possibly know that?  They interviewd them after death, or is the supporsition on the writers part?

    • BTS says:

      01:35pm | 26/03/10

      John A Neve,

      Maybe they were being treated prior to committing suicide.  Maybe they researched the number who committed suicide in a given period and discovered through their medical files it was a known issue already.  This is actually based on University study, a clinical study.

    • John A Neve says:

      02:27pm | 26/03/10

      BTS,

      Now we are getting to the truth, you just don’t know do you?
      “Maybe they were being treated prior to committing suicide”.
      “Maybe they researched the number wo committed suicide in a given period”.
      You just don’t know, what about all those that weren’t on file, or those outside the “given period”, don’t they count?

      What utter rubbish, to think you claim to have studied this issue!!
      Pathetic, you just don’t know.

    • BTS says:

      05:02pm | 26/03/10

      John,

      Clearly the ability to have a rational discussion escapes you, so I won’t.

    • Fran says:

      10:44am | 25/03/10

      I support someones right to suicide, weather it be a physical or a mental illness we should respect someone choice to take thier own life. Why do terminally ill people have more rights to claim thier own life? People who have no illness what so ever should have the right as well. Its descrimination not to let any body take control of thier own body, it your body not the governments, not any body elese.

    • Bob H says:

      11:11am | 25/03/10

      My objection is that it becomes a coffee table issue when someone in the media carks it.  Great media we have here - inspired by looking round the office, suicide and depression are serious subjects and should be dealt with accordingly and not a “celebrity gone wrong” article

    • Ebony says:

      12:32pm | 25/03/10

      My only sister committed suicide, the impact on the family left behind is horrific. Its difficult subject for me to do discuss, having been through it, I can you now I don’t know the answers. Keep those you love near to you and remind them of how much you love them. No-one can see the inside of another person so it difficult for lay people to gauge, and depression seems to be much glossed over and ignored topic.Lets hope for some positive change

    • Peter says:

      01:52pm | 25/03/10

      Fran, you are assuming it was a rational choice.  It is as a result of an illness in the vast majority of cases - an illness that can be treated.

    • Peter says:

      04:49pm | 25/03/10

      ...and that is why I said in the vast majority of cases.  Can I understand someone suffering from excrutiating pain from inoperable cancer, rationally considering all of their options?  Yes. The difference with depression and mental illness is that it is a symptom and manifestation of the illness itself that those who suffer are subject to suicidal thoughts.  That is the difference.

    • Deborah says:

      03:01pm | 25/03/10

      Sorry Fran, but that’s callous. My nephew suicided too, and then so did his best friend. I will NEVER forget witnessing his mother’s pain at the funeral, shaking all over and then collapsing after she spoke, her knees literally buckling as she stepped away from the podium. This isn’t about rights, it’s about caring.

    • Fran says:

      03:48pm | 25/03/10

      My grandfather was terminally ill and basically overdosed on drugs and ended his life. My mother was also very upset and reacted the same way as your example of the families grief. Why does age or mental illness have to stop people doing what they want. Some times life is too hard, too rough and there is simply no future, do what is best for you not any body else.

    • BTS says:

      05:32pm | 25/03/10

      With the suicide of the Police Officer involved in the unfolding email scandal in Victoria, I wonder what reviews will be undertaken to ensure that those officers under investigation are ‘viable’ and not abandoned by the employer.  Surely, this is negligent action under Workplace Health and Safety?

    • Ellen says:

      05:58pm | 25/03/10

      To John A Neve.  Re suicide weeding out the weak.  A lot of yuppies and stockbrokers killed themselves after the crash of ‘87 and also after other financial meltdowns.  Is this what you’re talking about?

      To Fran.  Your comments are very simplistic.  Suicide intervention services can intervene and restore hope for people.  It could happen to you one day.  Not all suicides can be prevented but most can.  I know someone who survived a suicide attempt 30 years ago and has gone on to have a productive life, and is well-loved.

      Re: Male suicide rates.  Life is hard everywhere in the world and different factors drive people to suicide in different countries and at different times.  I suspect in this macho society, the rigours of trying to be big and tough and not show emotion probably work against a lot of men - they just are unable to open up to anyone because they don’t know how, or who to open up to.

    • dignity says:

      09:17pm | 25/03/10

      As a society we would be more intelligent if people who have not been directly affected by this issue had the restraint to pause, reflect and try on empathy rather than arguing their individual opinion as if they alone held the truth rather than just a petty piece of the disturbing puzzle.

    • Timmo says:

      04:43am | 26/03/10

      Modern Societies demand too much of people and people can only take so much,so in a way suicide becomes just another failure of society to provide an alternative to the insanity that life has become today. Sure there is help available to people, but depression is such a bad animal that many people who have given up are not interested in listening. As we all know people kill themselves for many a reason and some take their lives all of a sudden for no apparent reason and friends and family may not even notice that they are depressed, there may or may not be signs that come forth. It is a great tradegy that some of us cannot feel that this life we have is worthwhile for some reason or another. We all have a right to a life and we are born into certain situations. Some are born into privelege others not, but suicide comes from both sides of society. Many people suffer from depression in certain degrees and probably the best way is to talk at least to a senior family member or spouse and express it before it becomes unbearable. And also society has to understand that their so called perfect system does not cater for everyone in a positive light. It is really a state of hopelessness that one feels. This has to change and maybe the government could eventually do something to make it easier to cope by reducing the pressures on people. Me, been there many times, every day sometimes but haven’t done that yet. It is not a good experience for people to go there and yet it is a choice to stay or to go. We need to ease up on ourselves a bit and realise that we are all worthwhile and should be true to ourselves for a change. We don’t have to carry the world on our shoulders we can also have a simple life, maybe that’s a way of coping more easily with the pressures that come to bear.

    • Kate says:

      08:01pm | 27/03/10

      Personally I don’t see mental illness as any different from the conditions people use to justify euthanasia, such as inoperable cancer. I have obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression, and I’ve attempted suicide. My decision to do so was based on the fact that there is no known cure for my conditions, and I didn’t want to live a life not being able to enjoy the happy times I did have because I would know that another period of serious depression is just around the corner.

      My life was saved by paramedics. I can’t say I’m entirely grateful. I definitely can’t say I wouldn’t attempt suicide again. I spend every single day completing rituals I know make no sense, and am frequently depressed, despite being on medication and in therapy. While there remains no cure for mental illness, the only ‘cure’ for the suffering of the mentally ill is death. I would argue that funding needs to be directed not into suicide prevention, but into curing the illnesses that cause suicide to look like a good idea. Don’t waste time trying to tell us how to live with our illnesses - help us get rid of them.

    • Cameron Dodds says:

      03:52pm | 29/03/10

      OK gay and lesbian kids are far more likely to attempt and commit suicide but I never see this in the hand wrining about suicide. Interests groups say that 90% of people who kill themselves are depressed (which probably appeared once in some journal and everyone thought, “yeah I like that figure”) like it just came from nowhere. Many suicides are a result of something, too much booze or drugs, relationship breakups, loss of jobs, or society supporting groups that are permitted to say you are an abomination. This depression label is thrown around far too much and what does it mean?

    • Marita says:

      09:27pm | 19/04/10

      It seems to me that a number of people are commenting on this issue when they have no idea in the slightest, of what mental illness really is or what it feels like to suffer from a depressive illness.

      I also think that some of you need to think, and re-read others’ comments (several times if necessary) before you make comment yourself.

      Those of you who are saying it’s the person’s right to kill themselves if that’s what they want, are assuming that someone who is contemplating suicide is of sound mind and is making this decision in a rational & perhaps even calm manner, as though they are deciding to buy a house, or a car!!!

      Do you really think that someone who is contemplating killing themselves is really thinking clearly?? Why would anyone WANT to kill themselves?
      Even a person who does not ‘suffer’ a mental illness (someone who isn’t ‘sick’), surely is not thinking rationally at the time they decide to kill themselves.

      An attempt at ending their own life is, in a lot of cases, more of a cry for help by someone who is too afraid (or is reluctant) to verbalise their need for help, love & understanding. A lot of people do actually WANT to be stopped from going through with their suicide bid - they DON’T want to end their life, but they DO want to end their mental pain, anguish & suffering!

      A mental illness is so-called because it effects the brain! It effects the processes of the brain, including the ability to rationalise their thinking. Anyone who does not suffer a mentall illness CANNOT, no matter how hard they try, ever fully understand what it’s like, and should NOT presume to be able to. Nor should anyone presume to know what goes through another person’s mind, at ANY time!!

      Sufferers of mental illnesses find different ways to cope & deal with their individual circumstances, but that doesn’t mean that one way is better than another, it depends on the individual and what suits them. If a sufferer chooses not to take medication or seek therapy, that doesn’t make them any better, smarter or stronger than someone who does. Nor does it mean that someone who does take medication is a drug-addict!

      Yes, I suffer from chronic depression & anxiety, and yes, I take anti-depressives! I choose to speak out about mental-illness in order to combat some of the negativity and stigma surrounding this condition! I wish that more sufferers would do the same, so that “normal” people may gain some insight and perhaps a little understanding!

    • Amy says:

      05:01pm | 18/06/11

      To All Interested Parties on the Subject of Suicide!  I found Mr. John A. Neve’s comments are the “most reliable and honorable” among other comments replying to Mr. Neve’s views, values, and understanding about “personal freedom, personal dignity, and personal rights” including the “Right to End Your Own Sufferings and Tortures by Ending Your Own Life” whether the sufferings are physical or mental or both.  It is indeed a personal right to die and if dying is indeed the only and best way to end your life sufferings, then, let the person have this “last right and last wish in life!”  So, there is no reason for others including friends or family, especially the police force and the court to interfere or prevent this wounded person from dying “if he or she has no way out” should this person is making a sound decision in the interest of his or her welfares when the “sufferings simply became Inhumane and Unbearable!”  I am a person who acknowledges and supports the “Right to Die with Dignity” and I am also a member of the Final Exit Network (members of the World Federation the Right to Die Societies.)  The right to die truly honors the wounded person’s wishes and needs to die because their personal sufferings are indeed too much for them to bear.  The wounded person has been “violated” and “harmed” by life and by so many things that he or she treasures and wishes for in life, but could not, had not, & would not have them in life.   


      Incidentally, many of us assumed that whenever a person wants or ended its own life always have “mental illness” when mental illness usually is not & had not play a role in a person’s involuntary action to die.  The truth is many of us have been suffering unnecessarily and tremendously, especially the the human induced sufferings.  It is the honor & the right to honor this wounded person’s right and wishes when he or she acknowledges that life has truly has failed him or her despite having the diligence and faith to live a better life, but could not and will not.  It is not right for us to say to another person, “No, you cannot die!” & “No, you should not die!” when this person has been through hell year after year and so far, nothing has changed for the good for this wounded person.  So, where is our respect, compassion, & empathy for this wounded person?  If we truly care about this wounded person, should not we at least listen to what this person has to say to us & try to put ourselves in this person’s shoes, so, we’d know why, when, & how did this wounded person came to a stage in making an involuntary decision to have to end their physical, daily, & mental sufferings by dying?  I understand the essence of wounds, injustices, mistreatments, abuse, tortures, violation of personal rights, dignity, freedom, and desires because I am compassionate, empathetic, and authentic!  Mr. Neve also seemed to understand the essence of personal freedom & personal dignity.  Yet, many of us do not nor even try to respect the wounded person’s wishes & desires.  If we really wanted to help, we need to start to take a look at ourselves in front of the mirror & recollect how well & how right we treat our fellow human beings.  If we feel there are ways to improve our conducts when it comes to treating one another i.e. at work, public settings, personal relationships—friends, family, relatives, business relationships, etc., then, please start to change for your own sake & for the sake of your loved ones & your fellow human beings!  In time, I am sure there will be a lot less incidents in suicide because by then we would finally learn how to treat one another & treated each other with respect & dignity.  The truth is it is human mistreatments & tortures had turned people ending their lives rather than a person’s mental illness.  The people with mental illness are not sound enough to have the courage & strengths to end their lives.  This is my understanding & observation from everything I have learned in life, everything I learned from qualified experts, & everything I have learned as Graduate Student in the “Healthcare Science Programs!”


      Yet, many of us have nerve to “put all the blame on the person that wants or has committed suicide” & accused the the wounded person with mental illness; this not right & not just, & not compassionate toward the wounded person or the deceased.  What is the true definition of Mental Illness?  “Whenever we have been mistreated & abused by our fellow human beings, “an infection and a virus” already implanted into our mind, our body, our heart, our spirit, & our soul.  Please “do not be” one of the ignorant, apathetic, self-induced blindness, deafness, &  heartless individuals on earth; but be a product of Construction and Beauty to Society!

 

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