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Casey Graham Memorial Page
A couple more conferences:
On the weekend of April 15, the Parents of Suicides and Friends & Families of Suicides internet communities will sponsor their 5th annual retreat in Pavo, Georgia. The retreat is open to all survivors (membership in POS/FFOS is not a requirement). For details and registration information:
The Compassionate Friends USA will be holding their 28th national conference July 1-3 in Boston, Massachusetts (this is separate from the International Compassionate Friends gathering in Vancouver in August which was the subject of our previous message). Compassionate Friends is for all bereaved parents, and although not specific to suicide, the conference will include nearly 100 workshops, some of which will address the loss of a child to suicide. There will also be activities for siblings, grandparents, friends and others who are interested, as well as a pre-conference Professionals Day to help educate professionals who interact with bereaved families following the death of a child. For more information and to register:
Suicide is not a victimless crime.
His pain is gone, but we do the time.
Loved ones are given the victim role.
The pain and the grief take their toll.
Trapped in our memories
Lost in our grief.
We search for answers.
But, He is at peace.
The life we had known ended that day.
Our faith is tested as we pray.
The life we thought normal is no longer.
It's true:with absence the heart grows fonder.
With questions we kneel at a grave and cry
Without answers we attempt to say good-bye.
To a loved one who felt this was his only way out.
To my Daddy who didn't know he could just cry out.
Alone in his pain; alone in his death.
I wish I could have been there when he went to rest.
He died alone, which hurts so much more.
He died alone, whatever for?
To his doctors he spoke of pain without end.
TO us he did not mention what was happening within.
His body began to fail long before his mind.
He chose to end his life long before his time.
Alone without comfort my family still grieves.
Separated by miles, but not by our needs.
We long to hold him, kiss him, and speak to him once more.
Just a last word to say as he walked out life's door.
Now we must move on with life's great journey.
We must breathe in and breathe out while inside we're hurting.
We must continue for our family, for us.
We must continue, like it or not, we must.
By Stephanie MacLellan - The Chronicle-Journal
March 13, 2005
Suicide is no longer a criminal act, but the word
still carries a legacy of
shame that can stop people from getting help.
Dr. Paul Mulzer, a psychiatrist at Lakehead
Psychiatric Hospital, thinks it
has to do with the stigma that surrounds mental
illness in general.
"People don't refer to diabetes as a failure of the pancreas, but they refer
to depression as a failure of will-power or self-discipline," he said.
"It's a real misinterpretation, and seeing it as a non-medical condition when, in
fact, it's very medical."
Brenda Simpson, a social worker in suicide
prevention for more than a decade,
sees an attitude of silence around suicide in
particular. She thinks it's left over from the days in which
suicide was considered a sin, and a cause
for shame for the family. She notes that to this day,
coroners won't always report suicide as a cause of death,
instead calling the death an accident.
'If someone says, "We're not going to say it's suicide to protect
you," it shows there's a reason to be protected," she said.
There are also assumptions about the type of person that commits suicide.
For instance, it's well known that suicide rates are tragically high
among the aboriginal population.
But Simpson cautions against assuming it's a native problem.
"Then you don't have to own it (if you're not native)," she said.
It's very similar to the AIDS epidemic when it first started.
"Oh, it's the gay community. . . And we didn't have to worry about it affecting us.
This can also stop people from finding help for
others who may be suicidal,
if they don't fit any of the most common categories, Simpson said.
Another problem is that suicide is seen as a
behaviour that must be stopped,
rather than a feeling that can be talked about and
It is terrifying . . . when someone tells you they're thinking about dying.
But at the same time, it doesn't mean they're going to die.
It's just something they're feeling," she said.
"If we think about it as a feeling, it's not scary, and a feeling needs to be talked about. . . .
Once it's a behaviour, it's beyond talking about."
She'd like to see more people discuss suicide, and not just in emergencies.
If people know their friends and family are comfortable talking about it,
they'll be more likely to bring it up if they need help.
"You need to talk to your teenagers about suicide when they're happy,"
she said. If you can just put it on the table and talk about it generally,
you let them know that door is open.
Or even among adult friends - how often do we talk about it?
The LPH has been working with family doctors to prevent suicide, partly
because people are often more comfortable in their doctor's office.
The shared care program has family doctors identify patients who might be at risk,
and then psychiatrists assess the patients in the more comfortable confines of the doctor's office.
The Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital is steeped in a
lot of history, and that's worrisome to people," Mulzer said.
We find even with our shared care model,
when we go out to a family practice office, there are people we see
there who we wouldn't see here.
The hospital is also working with non-medical
professions to raise awareness,
so teachers, employers and co-workers can see the
warning signs and get help for the people who need it.
"I think it does make it more open," he said.
'People are more comfortable with it,
and not as likely to say, "It's not my responsibility.'"
Comments on this story: Tell us what you think about this story.
Mental illness shouldn't be stigmatized! It should be treated just like any other disease. You see an opthamologist if you eyes are bothering you, an internist if stomach problems persist, so go see a psychiatrist if you have something on your mind. (This is not self advertising, I am a CPA). For Chrissakes, if Katie Couric can stick a camera up her colon on national TV, why can't we see mental illness as an illness and not as a character defect?
Depression is a cancer, if untreated it will grow and can be fatal.
Understand the signs of depression, and if you see any these in yourself or those you care about, get help!
More links to follow.
The Dove of Peace flies from site to site,
through as many countries as possible.
It does not belong to ANY belief
system. Please help it make a line
around the globe by taking it with
you to your site, by giving it
to someone for their site, by passing it on to
another continent, or to the conflict
areas of the world.
Thanks for taking a look!