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Talking about a taboo

Posted: May 15, 2014 - 7:16pm

Living can sometimes take more courage than dying.

It’s hard to fully understand the drive of someone who takes themselves to the edge, daring to jump off — unless you happen to be someone who has been down in that lonely road.

But, while we know very little about the motivations of a person who chooses to commit suicide, each year about 4,600 people nationwide pick a permanent end to their daily struggles.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the suicide rate on the Kenai Peninsula was about 23 per 100,000 people in 2007-2009, the most recent year for which numbers are posted. While we may not know exactly how many people have died by their own hand here, we know that it is too many. State data shows that Alaska’s suicide rate is nearly twice that of the national average and the leading cause of death in Alaska for people between the ages of 15 and 24.

We’re willing to bet that means you know someone whose life has been altered by the sudden loss of a loved one.

People are uncomfortable talking about it, keeping those who suffer from suicidal thoughts hidden in the dark with their pain. But, the thing is, talking about suicide with friends, neighbors, teachers or anyone else willing to listen might be the key to reaching someone who feels invisible.

Feeling hopeless should never be a private shame. Being bullied into the ultimate submission should never be the only way. Depression, anxiety, hopelessness and low self-esteem are all treatable — a successful suicide is not.

It is the responsibility of the community to recognize that the importance of speaking openly about suicide — especially in situations where the subject has been in the public eye — far outweighs the uncomfortable feelings it produces.

At least one local chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is working to reduce the spread of suicide in the area and their Soldotna Out of the Darkness Walk will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Soldotna Regional Sports Center, 538 Arena Ave. The money funds suicide research and educational programs to increase awareness. Check out for more details.

We urge you to be mindful of the pain of others as you go about your life. Don’t be afraid to reach out — it may just make someone’s life worth living.

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RaySouthwell 05/16/14 - 11:33 am
Give me a break.

For over five years I have been talking about the end result of Bullying behavior, violence. Now the Clarion wants to have a discussion on this "Taboo."

Our government bullies nations around the planet. When individual commit suicide to get even, we only want to talk about the innocent victims and never ask why the violence. (the destruction of the Twin Towers).

When a 19 year old shoots two police officers in the back, we only want to talk about the victims and never ask why the violence.

And now the Clarion wants to have a discussion.

I will give them credit for this statement.
"Being bullied into the ultimate submission should never be the only way. Depression, anxiety, hopelessness and low self-esteem are all treatable — a successful suicide is not."

Oh, we will talk of suicide in limited fashion. But "suicide by cop." or expanding violence from "Depression, anxiety, hopelessness and low self-esteem" will be ignored as usual.

After all, only crazy people become violent. And bullying is accepted in our culture.

Never ask why. You may not want to know the answer.

beaverlooper 05/16/14 - 04:10 pm
Suicide is the most selfish

Suicide is the most selfish thing a person could possibly do.
It permanently harms everybody that cared for that person,they are never the same after.
I've personally known 2 people have killed themselves.
One had a son that killed himself a year,to the day,in the same place in the same way.
The other was an aunt of mine and two of her sons, my cousins, also died by their own hand.

Raoulduke 05/16/14 - 07:51 pm
Discussing suicide

There is ONE sentence with ONE word" bullied" in the whole editorial.I can not see.Where this is a door opening to discuss bullying.It was a door opening for the community to openly discuss "SUICIDE".

RaySouthwell 05/17/14 - 08:17 am
Suicide is a violent act

Suicide is a violent act. My dear old mom attempted suicide when I was a child. I still remember at 8 years old attempting to wake her up from her OD of pills. Now at 86 she lives with my wife and I. People are fragile and must be handled with care, gentleness and justice. Calling the behavior selfish is not helpful. Yes Raoulduke the community will ignore the suicide by those who have been bullied. It is far too difficult to look at all causes of "Depression, anxiety, hopelessness and low self-esteem."

Rather, lets find a magic pill to give them to tolerate the bullying.

beaverlooper 05/17/14 - 09:38 am
You've proven my point

You've proven my point. Your Mom wasn't successful in her attempt and you still have what sounds like a vivid memory of the event, even though you were only 8. How many other things can you remember from that far back? Do you not think you would have been permanently scared finding your Mother dead?
I do agree that suicide is a violent act. My Aunt hung herself in their garage and my cousin was the one that found her,he was 19.
Not helpful? Maybe ,maybe not . It might help someone get out of themselves long enough not to go through with a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

RaySouthwell 05/17/14 - 09:52 am
I misunderstood

I thought you said suicide was selfish behavior. My father thought suicide took great courage to attempt or accomplish.

I believe neither. Suicide is a violent act by a desperate individual. I do agree with you that it affects all loved ones.

Believing the behavior is selfish or courageous does not help deal with the underlying causes of the desperation.

Suss 05/17/14 - 01:38 pm
25 to 1 ratio

For every suicide there were 25 attempted suicides. That is a very sobering statistic and amplifies the problem greatly.

The U.S comes in at 33rd place in suicides globally.

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