letter to youths may help stem thoughts of suicide
DEAR ANN LANDERS:
I am a teen-ager who has been reading your column for as
long as I can remember. It's the part of the paper I grab
first. There are times when I think you are square or
just plain goofy, but deep down, I know you make a lot of sense
and I respect what you say.
A while back, my parents split. Usually when this happens,
the kids are torn up because they don't know which parent to
go with. In my case, neither my mom nor my dad wanted
I became depressed and decided to kill myself. Then I
read a letter in your column about teen-age suicides.
It changed my mind. Will you please print it again?
A FAN FOREVER IN BOSTON
You bet. It was originally a letter to the editor
of the Arkansas Gazette. Here it is:
Every year, we lose several young people in our community to
suicide. We keep hoping it will stop, but it hasn't.
Every 90 minutes, a teen-ager in this country commits suicide.
This message is for every young person who is considering ending
his or her life.
You haven't seen much of the world that exists outside your
family. Soon, you will be on your own, and then, you will
understand what is important and what is not.
What you don't know is that 15 minutes after you decided to
kill yourself, you might have felt better. Or two hours
later, or two days.
What you don't know is that you are stronger than you think.
You can find another girlfriend (or boyfriend), you can stand
being embarrassed or shamed more than you realize. Failing
in school or getting into trouble with the law maybe painful,
but you can get over it. You can fix it. Don't be
killing yourself over events that you may barely remember 10
years from now. What you don't know is that there is nothing
romantic or cool about killing yourself. It is a god-awful
mess for your family that you can never understand until you
have kids of your own.
What you don't know is that suicide is sneaky and spiteful and
filled with anger. If you are thinking about suicide,
you are furious with somebody. You can be furious without
killing yourself or thinking you need the punishment of death.
What you also don't realize is that suicide is forever, and
nobody, not your parents or your doctor, can fix it. You
won't be around for the funeral. And you won't be coming
So get smart. Join the Marines. Go to California.
Find a therapist. Lapse into sickness. Become mad
as the dickens. Do your time in jail. But get off
the suicide kick. It's a dead end.
TOM HEISLER, WYNNE, ARK.
"Poignant letter to youths may help stem thoughts of suicide."
South Bend Tribune, September 5, 1996.
For additional information:
to Helping Someone Who is Suicidal