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Letter to Editor: Suicide is an issue we don't talk about


April 10, 2013
Thank you for exposing what a lot of people simply don't talk about. I'm sure you will hear a lot of stories. One of my daughter's best friends committed suicide at 18. She and her family seemed to have it all. I still remember her bubbling personality as I drove them to a dance when they were in the ninth grade.

It really affected my daughter. When you take your child to the emergency room due to an overdose of depression meds, they leave with chains on their ankles, handcuffs and taken to a facility to be monitored until the doctors think they are safe. My daughter had already been accepted to the four colleges she applied to and still put so much pressure on herself that she signed up for five AP classes her senior year, when all she really needed to do was finish high school and go on to Georgia Tech, her choice of schools. She is 26 now, still lives at home, which is a good thing at this point, has been accepted to nursing school and is working.

Those last two came in the last three months. There is a full bottle of depression meds in the kitchen cabinet that haven't been opened. All the doctors and counseling and medications, we're not sure any of them helped. About six months ago, she decided to attend a small group from North Point Church and that seems to have been the best thing so far.

Just after my son graduated high school, one of his friends who lived four houses up the street from us committed suicide. He and my son were the kids that always were building something in the backyard. When they both got their cars, they ended up in our garage and driveway tearing them apart to see how they worked. They even worked together at the mall.

I'll never forget one day he knocked on our door and I told him my son wasn't home. He said that he came down to see my wife and me, so I invited him in. I don't remember what we talked about, but I do know he must have been making his rounds to talk to people before he committed suicide.

About a year later, my son went over to meet some friends to go to a race. When he got there, one of his friends was sitting in their car in front of the house. My son walked up to the car and his friend told him that John (not his real name) shot himself and was dead. My son, in disbelief, ran into the house to find the aftermath. So my son has lost two friends to suicide. Another one of his friends' brothers was run over and killed on I-85. Another one of our neighbor's kids hit a tractor trailer head on and both burst into flames and he passed.

All this doesn't really do anything to help anyone. I don't know that we could have changed the kid's mind that came to just talk to us. That may have been the only shot we'll have in life to help someone, and we missed it. We just thought he came to talk to us out of kindness.

Meds, doctors and hospitals are all fine, but I don't know if it has helped our daughter. It may not be fixable. It may be something we just have to learn to live with and thank God for every day we as a family are all together. I can say that once my daughter joined a small group at church, things took a turn. And trust me, it's not perfect. There is too much superficial out there, but with that they are together and have deep discussions sharing with each other. Hopefully if one of them thinks about suicide they feel comfortable enough to share it with the other girls so they can get help.

My wife has a friend that had a son that committed suicide. You can check out her cause at www.thejohnnyfoundation.org. Awareness seems to be one of the best answers. There are a lot of pockets of people trying to do something but until it touches you in one way or another it doesn't seem to be very high on the list. Young people rely on their smartphone and texting so much that it's hard to communicate with them sometimes. My son will answer a text from me before he'll answer the phone. He'll text me, but not call me. With apps being the big thing these days, maybe someone could create an app and call it something like Life Line so people that are in despair could communicate with someone that could help them. It's obvious that people thinking about suicide don't always communicate with family or friends. Maybe an outside source would help. I'm just thinking out loud.

Thanks again for exposing this in your publication. On the lighter side, my wife and I love the Forsyth Herald. We look forward to getting it each week. The content is real stuff. The first time it was delivered to us we contacted the office and let them know we appreciated it and to keep it coming.

(name removed per request)

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