Activist’s Suicide Draws Attention to Suicide Risk Among Entrepreneurs

Jan 2013

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.

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