Archive for January, 2013

Can Random Acts of Kindness Prevent Suicide?

According to a recent article, some anti-suicide crusaders are trying a novel approach to help prevent suicide deaths. The effort, which takes place in Boston, is called “Happier Boston.” It involves a widespread campaign to cut down on suicide deaths by cheering people up and encouraging people to share their feelings.

Our Dallas suicide attorneys are always in support of every effort to help reduce the number of suicide victims and save people’s lives. While it will be impossible to measure the success of the Happier Boston campaign, such efforts cannot hurt the cause and may encourage more people to open up about the sadness or depression they are experiencing.

The Anti-Suicide Campaign of Kindness

Those in Boston engaged in the anti-suicide campaign are trying a number of tactics including:

  • Organizing flash mobs to greet commuters
  • Engaging in random acts of kindness
  • Performing “blues” songs about common problems
  • Encouraging people to record their own blues song on an interactive website.
  • Hosting dance parties for people ages 18 and over

The local Mayor supports these efforts as a way to bring attention to mental health concerns and to hopefully provide some cheer to those who are depressed.

Fighting Suicide One Step at a Time

Unfortunately, suicide in many cases occurs as a result of major psychiatric illnesses such as severe depression, anxiety or chemical imbalances in the brain. These chemical imbalances can cause a person to believe they have unsolvable problems.  A dance party or a random act of kindness is unlikely to deter someone who is strongly considering suicide. Still, these efforts might make the difference in encouraging someone to get help from a counselor or mental health provider whose job it is to recognize signs of suicide, to treat the patient and to take action if someone is considering suicide.  If a person struggling with suicide sees a glimmer of hope or sees that someone is reaching out, this can be a turning point that encourages going to a counselor for advice. Getting counseling and proper mental health assistance is the best way to curb suicidal thinking, as long as the counselors do their jobs and are able to recognize that a patient is in need.

Further, by drawing attention to the problem of suicide, more people may be reminded by the Happy Boston campaign that there are others out there who are struggling too, and that they aren’t alone. These individuals, who see people trying to help, may be more inclined to seek out help, especially if they realize that with more people talking openly about suicide, their suicidal thoughts aren’t as stigmatized. Further, if there are people who are suffering from depression that is not severe, the efforts of the anti-suicide crusaders may be effective at helping them to improve their outlook on life or at least in taking the first steps to feel better.

In any case, the bottom line is that the viability of stopping suicides by random acts of kindness is far from a proven science, but the efforts cannot possibly hurt and can only help the cause of fighting suicide.

If you lost a loved  one to suicide, contact the Dallas Law Offices of Skip Simpson.  Call  214-618-822.

Activist’s Suicide Draws Attention to Suicide Risk Among Entrepreneurs

In January of 2013, 26-year-old Aaron Swartz took his own life. His death made headlines because he was a well-known Internet entrepreneur associated with developing the RSS language and with a company that became Reddit. According to CNN, his death is also sparking a combination about the risks of suicide among entrepreneurs.

Our Dallas suicide attorneys know that anyone suffering from a psychiatric illness is potentially at risk of taking their own life, regardless of how famous or successful they seem to be. When a person is depressed or feels out-of-control, they may look to suicide as an answer to their problems. Since business owners often face a lot of stress and pressure, it makes sense that they may be vulnerable to taking their own lives.

Suicide Risks Among Entrepreneurs

Following Swartz’s death, CNN has started a discussion with some other tech experts and business owners. According to their article, the CEO of the Cheezburger websites wrote publicly about being depressed when his first start-up company failed.  In addition, in 2011, a co-founder of a social networking site took his own life, reportedly due to his ongoing struggles with depression coupled with the pressures of building his company.

Swartz himself had admitted publicly that he struggled with depression and had written about it in the past. His suicide may also have been prompted by the fact that he was facing criminal charges for illegally downloading materials using the MIT network. However, even without this catalyst, it is possible he would have lost the battle with his ongoing depression and taken his own life if not properly treated and protected by competent mental health clinicians.

When a person is struggling with depression, he or she needs to get help from qualified professionals to learn how to manage their emotions. In many cases, proper behavioral or talk therapy are viable options for those considering suicide. If the depression is chemical, as it so often is, a counselor may prescribe drug therapy to help fight the bad feelings. Regardless of how treatment is administered, those with severe depression or who are thinking suicidal thoughts will need to get help and the counselors need to respond appropriately to their state of mind.

Mr. Skip Simpson and his professional colleagues, all nationally prominent suicidologists, are striving to train and equip clinicians to improve their competency in assessing suicide. Unfortunately, as CNN discussed in their article on the death of Aaron Swartz, many entrepreneurs and business owners do not feel comfortable admitting they are depressed or opening up about their problems. They may be concerned about the reactions of their employees, customers or investors and may not want to make themselves vulnerable by speaking out.

This feeling that they have to maintain a stoic exterior or that they cannot talk about their depression can make things even worse. This is unfortunate as it can lead to social withdrawal, make one feel like he or she is a burden to coworkers and loved ones, and increase the risk of an attempted suicide.

Tragically, if a person won’t get help, then that individual is more likely to attempt suicide. As the CNN article writes, however, the death of Aaron Swartz is sparking important conversations about the suicide problems among entrepreneurs. These conversations may be a good step in making it possible for all depressed people to get the help they need. A good first step is to obtain “The Suicide Lawyers: Exposing Lethal Secrets” by C.C. Risenhoover. In this book Mr. Risenhoover interviews Skip Simpson on what family members and co-workers can do to protect their loved ones and friends.

If you lost a loved  one to suicide, contact the Dallas Law Offices of Skip Simpson, dedicated to holding mental health counselors accountable. Call  214-618-8222.