The state is rolling out a new campaign to get people talking about a topic they typically avoid: suicide.
In 2013, there were more than suicides in Connecticut. According to the state, it's a number that has stayed relatively constant over time, and it's also a number that's lower than the national average. On the one hand, that's good news. On the other, fewer suicides would be even better.
If things had gone according to his plan, Kevin Hines would have been dead for the last 14 years and therefore, not appearing on today's show.
In September 2000, he jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, the second most popular suicide site in the world. Somewhere around 1,600 people have jumped to their deaths from that bridge since it opened in 1937. The rate seems to be rising.
But, this isn't really a show about that location. It's about what we learn from a person who survives a very serious suicide attempt.
The recent death of actor Robin Williams left many people shocked, and it re-started the conversation about suicide, its warning signs, and ways to get help. We revisit a show we did about the illness last year.
We also hear a moving story about depression from author Andrew Solomon, who shared it at The Connecticut Forum earlier this year.
Originally published on Tue August 12, 2014 11:16 am
For many years, Robin Williams seemed like a talent who had no off switch.
From his standup comedy work to TV roles to talk show appearances to Oscar-caliber movies and performances on Broadway, Williams was a dervish of comedy — tossing off one-liners, biting asides and sidesplitting routines in a blizzard of accents, attitudes and goodhearted energy.
Suicide remains a leading cause of death in the United States, especially among teenagers and young adults. Anything that could reduce the toll would be good.
But asking everyone who goes to the doctor if he is considering suicide isn't the answer, according to a federal panel that evaluated the effectiveness of existing screening tools for suicide. They found there wasn't enough evidence to know whether screening the general public helps or hurts.
A legislative hearing was held Monday on a bill that would allow doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs to the terminally ill. The session brought emotional testimony from those both in favor and opposed.
A Quinnipiac University poll released today shows Connecticut voters 61 to 32 percent support allowing doctors to legally prescribe lethal drugs to help terminally ill patients end their own lives. Voters were closely divided on whether they would ask a doctor to help them take their own life, as 39 percent say no in all cases, while 33 percent say they would if they were terminally ill.
Supporters of legislation that would allow terminally ill patients the right to die gathered at the Capitol Wednesday. The event was sponsored by the advocacy group Compassion & Choices.
Last year's legislation that would have allowed a terminally ill patient to request medication from a doctor that would end his or her life didn't get out of the Public Health Committee. Right-to-die supporters say this year could be different, with a new aid in dying law in Vermont and a recent court action in New Mexico.
The VA estimates 22 veterans commit suicide each day. There’s a stigma that surrounds military suicides. When a loved one dies in this manner, grieving family and friends often don’t talk about it openly. But Joanna Gallup Eldridge of Waterford says their stories need to be heard.
Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 5:09 am
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
This is a stunning number. Every day in this country, an estimated 22 veterans take their own lives. Often military families suffer these tragedies privately. But the recent death of a Connecticut veteran is very much out in the open.
Lucy Nalpathanchil from member station, WNPR has the story.
A Greenwich High School student committed suicide this week, just hours after his first day of classes. A preliminary investigation revealed that 15-year old Bart Palosz died Tuesday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Greenwich Police Lieutenant Craig Gray told WTNH that Palosz used a weapon that was stored inside a gun locker at his home. "The firearm was a family firearm, and it had been secured inside a gun safe," said Gray.
Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 3:49 pm
It’s estimated that more than 20 veterans kill themselves every day. A new survey of men and women who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan shows that mental health is the most important issue they face.
Homer Bell was 54 years old when he killed himself in April in a very public way — he laid down his head in front of a stopped bus in his hometown of Hartford, Conn. It was the last act in a life filled with struggle, as Bell and his family endured his schizophrenia.
At a time when there are calls to strengthen the mental health system, Bell's story shows how hard coping with mental illness can be.
Suicide rates have risen dramatically for middle-aged Americans in the last 10 years. The highest jump is for men aged 50-54. In a report released last week, the CDC says that more people aged 35-64 die from suicide than from car accidents, and they have been since 2009.
This hour, we look at what might be behind this trend, and what resources are available for Connecticut residents struggling with mental health issues.
Asian Americans have been dealing with the "model minority" myth for decades. And it's playing a role in high suicide rates. The idea of Asians as a model minority dates back to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Scholars began publishing articles that argued against themes of social reform.
The legislature’s Public Health Committee heard testimony Wednesday from supporters and opponents of a bill that would legalize physician-assisted suicide in Connecticut.
The legislation would allow a physician to prescribe medication to a patient who has six months or less to live, and has been deemed mentally competent. The patient could then take the drug to end their life.
Critics says Connecticut’s bill lacks adequate safeguards and could lead to abuse of the disabled and elderly.
Every day an estimated twenty-two veterans kill themselves in the U.S. and most of them will use a gun to do so according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs. This trend mirrors the general population where more people kill themselves with guns than with all other methods combined. The VA is trying to help with a program that offers gun locks to veterans for free. The thinking is that if they lock their guns up they might not reach for them in the spur of the moment.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has called on military leaders to explore a "epidemic" of suicide among active duty servicemembers and veterans. Each day, 18 veterans kill themselves according to the federal Department of Veterans Affairs. In Connecticut, 30 veterans have died this way since 2009, but those are only the suicides that the VA knows about.
A lot of attention has been paid lately to troops coming home from Iraq now that the war is over.
But thousands of soldiers who have served post 9-11 are home already and many continue to struggle in civilian life. One of these struggles is combating suicidal thoughts.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs finds that eighteen veterans die by suicide each day. In Connecticut, Commissioner of Veterans Affairs, Linda Schwartz says in the last year, an estimated fourteen veterans in the state committed suicide. But she stresses suicide is often underreported.
A recent rash of suicides among Connecticut police officers has law enforcement leaders concerned. Tomorrow at Central Connecticut State University the nonprofit Connecticut Alliance to Benefit Law Enforcement welcomes some 300 police officers, dispatchers, counselors and others to a conference that looks at the issue of suicide prevention for police officers. Joining us by phone is Sergeant Troy Anderson, he is a CT state Trooper and is State Coordinator for the State Troopers Offering Peer Support or STOPS Program.
Just a few days ago, the First Two Ladies on the United States, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden announced a national initiative called Joining Forces. The idea is to combine as many elements of society as possible -- communities, individuals, nonprofits and businesses -- to make life a little less stressful for military families.
Over one million people in the world commit suicide every year leaving millions more bereft.
Harvard psychiatrist Nancy Rappaport, author of the memoir In Her Wake: A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother's Suicide, was haunted for most of her life by her mother's suicide at the age of 34 that left her, and her five siblings, motherless. Her mom left a suicide note and a grocery list when she killed herself in 1963 - the author was just for years old.