Robin Williams: Suicide is not necessarily preventable

08/13/2014 4:08 PM

08/15/2014 6:06 PM

Re "Robin Williams' death a teachable moment about preventing suicide" (Editorial, Aug. 13): To say suicide is preventable is adding the possibility of more guilty feelings on the part of friends, relatives and caregivers. I have gone to a workshop on depression and suicide and the messages included things one should and could do to prevent suicide but also the message that it is not always preventable.

Also, I have been involved in the care of people who were suffering from depression and though they received the very best treatment, they succeeded in committing suicide. One person was Ernest Hemingway being treated at a famous institution- The Mayo Clinic- and shortly after he returned to his home, he killed himself. Another was a teenager in St. Louis at St. Anthony's Hospital, and another was a man at Veteran's Hospital in St. Louis.

Relatives and friends must cope with feelings of guilt and with the tendency to blame others. Be careful in judgments.

-- Joan Nelson, Roseville

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