Re: “WSU’s strong voice against college suicide,” (TNT editorial, 1/31).
Every day, as a psychologist, I sit across from survivors of suicide attempts. The common element: They survived.
A suicide attempt is often the first entry into mental health treatment. I sit across from those who hung themselves and those who overdosed. I have never sat across from someone who used a gun.
Several years back a mother of boy I treated for ADHD called asking me to see her son urgently. The gangly freshman was in a PE class, and a senior boy, a football star, came over and showed him tips on lifting weights. That evening the football player shot himself after a breakup.
My patient could not understand it. How do you explain the unexplainable? But there is an explanation from those who survive.
A Swedish study followed 34,219 hospitalized survivors of suicide for up to nine years; only 1,182 went on to die by suicide, and these were the ones with the most serious mental illness.
Survivors can tell us the method used is important to surviving and getting treated. An estimated 24,000 Americans suicide by gun every year.
Institutions such as WSU need to use their voice to address a glaring gap in data on gun access and suicide.