The heart-wrenching conversation about suicide and suicide prevention continues, as it must. This silent epidemic is only going to continue to grow and affect more lives if the conversation stops. On September 12 2019, Peggy Wehmeyer shares her story about her husband’s suicide in the article What Lies in Suicide’s Wake. Having to push past the overwhelming feeling of guilt, the constant question of what more could have been done and the constant reminders of the event are struggles not only Peggy has dealt with but many others. It is advocated in the article that Peggy’s husband’s suicide was the result of personal issue that required help.The love of one person simply isn’t enough and can fix something so deep in someone else. Understanding how common mental illness and suicide is might get the message across to fully know why it is so important to be informed of it.
The suicide rate is only growing. From 1998 to 2016 suicide rates revealed an increase of 25% nationwide and in recent years increased more than 30% in over half the U.S. states. Stereotypical assumptions that women are more likely to commit suicide over men have been proven otherwise. From ages 10 to 34 suicide is the second leading cause of death in America. Of 121 people who commit suicide each day 93 of them are men. Although women are more likely to have suicidal thoughts it is imperative to understand the fact that either way, mental illness has no restrictions.
No matter the race, religion, color, creed or sexual orientation everyone is capable of developing and suffering from a mental illness. If this is something that is limited to no one the problem must be known and ways to help must be presented. The National Suicided Prevention Lifeline is a hotline you can call or online chat with to speak about issues someone may be dealing with. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is another organization one can turn to in order to seek help. Expand your knowledge on depression or other mental illnesses to save a life. By knowing the medical history behind someone’s family is a way one could essentially look out for someone’s mental health. If a person’s family medical background involves things like depression or bi-polar disorder over at higher risk to develop these illnesses. Another way to help a friend out who’s struggling with a mental disorder is to be a shoulder that they know they can lean on. Make them feel as though they won’t be judged if they come to you. The next best thing you could do to help someone struggling is to know when they are struggling. Know the early signs. Things like low confidence, keeping to themselves, loss of appetite, constantly tired, constantly being nervous or irritated are all signs of depression.
You’ve added some platitudinal advice on how to help a person suffering with bad news or depression, Athena, but not been responsive to the Feedback you were provided except to add that material. A much better essay would have brought back a consideration of Peggy’s husband so you could apply what you’ve said about suicide in general to his particular case. Overall good work but plenty of room for improvement. 2-
Athena, I’m getting to your feedback last because you didn’t specify what sort of help you wanted, so I’ll just wing it. Fairly often, left to my own preferences, I don’t get past the first paragraph. If you need more fundamental advice on how well your argument works, whether your evidence provides the proof you seek, or whether your sequencing is effective, you can ask for another round of feedback.
This is an editorial, so I won’t be looking for an actual proof. I will expect an omniscient authorial tone and a moral or ethical imperative. Editorials set out to change the world.
P1. You have an important topic here, Athena. Your editorial position should be evident right away. Apparently you demand that somebody keep talking about suicide.
—Peggy Wehmeyer tells of her husband’s suicide.
—She and others feel guilty that they didn’t prevent the death of their loved ones.
—Peggy’s husband needed help.
—His wife’s love was insufficient to keep him alive.
—Therefore, it is important that someone know mental illness is common?
I completely respect what you’re doing here, Athena, and I understand the attraction of distancing yourself from troubling subject matter, but who else can we count on for straight talk about life and death if not the voice of god? Thou Shalt Not Ignore Mental Illness.
—Peggy Wehmeyer blames herself for her husband’s suicide.
—The love of any person is no match for the mental illness of another.
—Her husband might have been saved by the active intervention of community support and the organized assistance of medical professionals.
—Our reluctance to face the tough conversations about mental illness costs lives.
—And that has got to stop.
Moving on to your 2nd and 3rd paragraphs.
P2. You demonstrate that the suicide rate is increasing, but you don’t advance the argument that deaths might have been prevented by recognizing problems and addressing them.
P3. You say:
—Anyone can suffer a mental illness.
—Help is available.
—Learn about mental illness and save a life.
—Depression or bi-polarity may BECOME? these illnesses?
—Be a shoulder to cry on.
—Recognize the early signs of depression.
So, looking back, would the advice you offer in P3 have helped Peggy Wehmeyer prevent her husband’s suicide? I don’t mean to suggest that suicide prevention is a simple outcome that can be achieved by simple means. But you’re the editorialist, so if you present a problem, your goal, if not your responsibility, is to offer a solution.
Try to be bold, Athena. Your introduction suggests that Peggy alone could not help her husband enough. That means your solution has to involve others. Who’s failing here? Is the culture at fault for not acknowledging that mental illness is an illness? Does the medical community ignore early symptoms? Do healthcare insurers fall down by refusing to reimburse the mentally ill for prevention and treatment?
What do you think, Athena? I would appreciate your response.