Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Hidden life- Death and Suicide rates low in severely underpriveleged groups

I came across this interview as a follow on from a friend's blog. It is rather personal to me as I have lived through a family member's depression and suicidal behavious, and spent much of my time trying to analyse and digest the victim's behaviour. As a parent, one is forever changed when tragedy revolving one's child occurs, and I have no magic answers for dealing with it. It leaves a permanent scar, for which there is no miracle cure, only perhaps amelioration.

Of more widespread interest is the fact that suicide occurs less in impoverished circumstances, as opposed to those who have resources and perhaps comfortable socio-ecomonic circumstances. Something to ponder over:

"I think you can say that when there is a suicide the entire family becomes totally unhinged. And even though we all seem to go back to normalcy, something has been broken forever. In my own case, having been abandoned by my father in a way – he never was much of a father,and then having being abandoned by Jim. The only person who never abandoned me except when he died was Johan Oosterveld, the farmer inthe Upstairs Room, the man who saved my life. He was always there forme. He even left a closet, in his attic, with a hole that you couldcrawl into, where I had hidden from the Germans. Because he alwayssaid: ‘You never know - it might come in handy again, and then Annieyou can come back from Neuf York and you can get right back in there." Johanna Reiss, author of a Hidden Life.

click here to read more

I think this is a really important thing to remember in prevention of suicide.... the sufferer is not alone, is not abandoned.

Johanna Reiss explains it in a better way than I could:

"the middle class and the upper class are much more likely to commitsuicide than those who have to find their daily bread, so to speak. (In) Elie Wiesel’s book. I had read... In concentration camps, the biggest goal for most of them was to get the next crust of bread. And they were already being punished by the Nazisand so they didn’t think they had to punish themselves too. And so there were very few suicides in concentration camps, which is strange when you think about it, it surely seems like a place you’d want to get away from.

And the other thing about suicide is that if you feel that somebody totally needs you, you manage to hang in there.

There has to be a reason for people to stay alive, there has to be hope, and there has to be somebody or something that is so important that you couldn’t possibly leave it. Elie Wiesel wrote--he was a boy in a camp--that he was considering running into the barbed wire once, but he didn’t because his father needed him. And that’s the only time he mentions the allure of suicide."

Can this be a key that will save lives and give them hope where there is none?

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