SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Mental Health Stigma
By Jan Cadero


September 14, 2009

This letter is in response to Mykayla Martin's letter regarding too many suicides or attempts. Mykayla, it is really sad that you at the young age of 17, have a strong opinion regarding suicide. And it is a tragic thing that anyone should have to deal with, but you should not say it is an easy way out.

I lost my 28 year old son less than two months ago to suicide. It makes you question so many things in your day to day life, and how you raised this person, and what was going through their minds at the time. My son did leave a note, that really did not answer all our questions, but I also know that it could not have been an easy decision for him. He left behind two beautiful children, a huge family that loved him, as well has a great number of friends, but that was obviously not enough to keep him here.

I think what is important is that there were signs, but at the time you don't see them. After the fact, they all make sense.

What is important is Mental Health. THere is such a stigma regarding Mental Health, like for years there was a stigma with the C word, "Cancer." You probably knew someone that had it, but you didn't talk about it. Well, mental health is like that.

We go to the doctor for a check up on our heart, our lungs, our eyes, our cholesterol level, etc., but how many have a mental health check up. We associate mental health with whacked out people. We are all too proud to say that we have gone to see a mental health doctor or are considering it. We could all use a mental health check up.

My son had many talents and skills, but in the area we live in, and with the economy as it is, was layed off from one job, and unable to find another, he had been unemployed for months, and was doing little odd jobs here and there. He felt he couldn't provide for his family. He was so depressed, and too proud to ask for help.

So please pay attention to what people say to you every day, listen to them, don't give advice, but be there to listen, don't be too busy. Be there for all your friends, and if you think for one moment that this person is in danger of taking their own life, if they won't go seek the help, then find it for them. We have all been raised (at least my generation and older), that you don't ask for help, you make do or you help yourself.

We can all use a mental health check up.

We can't fully understand what makes people do what they do, all I know is that my son was in a lot of pain, and this was his way of dealing with his pain.

Jan Cadero
Port Hadlock, WA

About: "Having just lost a 28 year old son to suicide, I feel compelled to respond to this 17 year olds letter."

Received September 12, 2009 - Published September 14, 2009


Related Viewpoint:

letterI Do Not Assert A Stigma By Harold A. Maio

letter Too many suicides and attempts By Mykayla Martin

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