ANTIDEPRESSANT: Man Threatens to Shoot Self: In Stand-Off with Police: …

Paragraph three reads: “She said he is taking medication to combat depression and that he had been drinking. The unnamed man allegedly told his wife he would resist if police responded, according to a news release.”

SSRI Stories Note: The Physicians Desk Reference states that antidepressants can cause a craving for alcohol and alcohol abuse. Also, the liver cannot metabolize the antidepressant and the alcohol simultaneously, thus leading to higher levels of both alcohol and the antidepressant in the human body.

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/hunterdon-county/express-times/index.ssf/2009/08/armed_raritan_township_man_thr.html

Armed Raritan Township man threatens to shoot himself, engages in hour-long standoff with police

by Express-Times staff
Monday August 03, 2009, 6:55 AM
Officials in Raritan Township spent more than an hour Sunday urging an apparently suicidal man to put down his weapons and surrender peacefully.

Raritan Township police were called to a single-family home in the township about 3:30 p.m. after a woman reported her husband had locked himself in the bedroom and was threatening to shoot himself. The woman told police her husband had several guns in the house and that at least two — a pistol and a rifle — were in the bedroom with him.

She said he is taking medication to combat depression and that he had been drinking. The unnamed man allegedly told his wife he would resist if police responded, according to a news release.

Police set up a safe perimeter around the house, evacuated neighboring homes and blocked off the road. Officers called the man, with the assistance of his brother. After an hour on the phone with him, he agreed to surrender. Police recovered two handguns and a rifle from the home.

The man was taken to Hunterdon County Medical Center for an evaluation. Charges against him are pending.

The Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office, Flemington-Raritan First Aid and Rescue Squad and Raritan Township Department of Public Works assisted township police.

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DEPRESSION MED: Suicide: 14 year old girl: Ohio

Paragraphs 13 and 14 read: “After his daughter’s death, Weidlich went through a long bewildering search into why it happened.”

“She’d been on medication and in therapy for depression, but seemed to be responding.”

http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/article/20090729/NEWS01/907290321/1002/NEWS01

Speaker confronts teen suicide, depression
By LINDA MARTZ • News Journal • July 29, 2009

MANSFIELD — James Weidlich is finally comfortable telling strangers about his daughter’s suicide.Advertisement

The family discovered 14-year-old Savannah after she hung herself at home July 15, 2004, after battles with depression.

Weidlich, who once ran a landscaping and contracting business, says this year he committed to a full-time mission to open up public discussion of suicide.

It’s a topic many people find difficult to address, but Weidlich argues people should talk about it. “The cost of promoting the human comfort level is that people are dying,” he said.

“There is a huge amount of secrecy and denial. We have done a really good job of scaring people out of talking about their own mental health,” he said.

Weidlich, of Cambridge, brought his Families on Fire Mental Health Reality Crusade to Citichurch last week.

This Friday, Saturday and Sunday, he’ll offer free public talks at the Quality Inn on Ohio 97, near Bellville.

Weidlich described his daughter as a good kid and an athlete. “My daughter had a very inspiring personality and a sense of humor. Yet she had an illness that took her life.”

Young people come under tremendous pressure, he said. “It is a war zone for children, in our schools, on our playgrounds, in our streets.”

Weidlich believes adults must take responsibility for spotting the signs a young person is contemplating suicide. He also believes adults must take action.

“I never want a parent to say, ‘Just get over it’ or ‘I went through the same thing you’re going through, and I got over it. Just toughen up,’ ” he said.

Severe depression is a physical illness, like diabetes or heart disease, he said. It should be discussed openly and swiftly treated.

After his daughter’s death, Weidlich went through a long bewildering search into why it happened.

She’d been on medication and in therapy for depression, but seemed to be responding.

Weidlich, a single father, eventually found clues that indicated Savannah hadn’t been doing as well as he thought. He doesn’t want others to miss signs or ignore reality.

“That moment, on that night, in our house, is something that you do not want to experience,” he said.

Now, from a “Families on Fire” camper, he spreads his message. He strikes up conversations about suicide in coffee shops and churches statewide. Making ends meet is difficult given his mission, but he’s sticking to it.

“Depression-related suicide is the number one killer of our children. You absolutely have no excuse not to come and learn something.”

lmartz@nncogannett.com

419-521-7729

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ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Mother Kills Daughter’s Rapist: Spain

First paragraph reads: “A MUM who killed her daughter’s rapist by throwing petrol over him and setting him alight has been jailed for nine years. Maria del Carmen Garcia Espinosa’s daughter Veronica was raped by a man from their home town, Benejuzar, in 1998 when she was just 13. Veronica’s mother has been in counselling and on anti-depressants ever since. But in June 2005, the rapist was on weekend leave from prison, where he was serving a nine-year sentence, and Maria del Carmen saw him in the family’s local bar.”

http://www.euroweeklynews.com/2009073061426/news/costa-blanca/jail-for-mum-who-killed-her-daughters-rapist.html

Thu, 30 July 16:33 2009

Jail for mum who killed her daughter’s rapist

BENEJUZAR

The deceased ‘provoked and intimidated’ the mother, who had been depressed since the rape

A MUM who killed her daughter’s rapist by throwing petrol over him and setting him alight has been jailed for nine years. Maria del Carmen Garcia Espinosa’s daughter Veronica was raped by a man from their home town, Benejuzar, in 1998 when she was just 13. Veronica’s mother has been in counselling and on anti-depressants ever since. But in June 2005, the rapist was on weekend leave from prison, where he was serving a nine-year sentence, and Maria del Carmen saw him in the family’s local bar.

The bar was next to the stop where Veronica caught her bus every day, leading her mother to believe his presence in the area was aimed at provoking and intimidating the family. Antonio Velasco is said to have approached Maria del Carmen and asked her how her daughter was in order to scare her. A distraught Maria del Carmen returned home and fetched a vat of petrol, a court heard. She then went back to the bar where she doused her daughter’s rapist in fuel and set him alight.

The woman was then found hours later in Alicante ‘in a disoriented state’, police say. Meanwhile, the man died in Valencia’s La Fe hospital from third-degree burns affecting 60 per cent of his body. Family members of the arrested woman say the deceased’s relatives had sold their assets to avoid having to pay compensation owed to Veronica, now 24. But Veronica’s mother has now been ordered to pay them 140,000 euros. She has also been sentenced to nine years in prison.

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ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Police Officer Dead: Shooter Dies Also: shooter was o…

Headline reads:
Coroner: “Shooter was prescribed antidepressants.”
Paragraph four reads: “The shooting left Sgt. David Kinterknecht dead, along with the suspect, Dennis Gurney, who lived at the home.”

http://www.montrosepress.com/articles/2009/07/30/news/doc4a71057ebf681398337489.txt

Injured officers face lengthy recovery

Coroner: Shooter was prescribed antidepressants

Print this story Post a Comment ShareThis

By Katharhynn Heidelberg
Daily Press Senior Writer
Published/Last Modified on Thursday, July 30, 2009 4:11 AM MDT

MONTROSE ­ Two officers shot Saturday can expect an extensive recovery process, the chief of police said.

Montrose Police officers Larry Witte and Rodney Ragsdale were hit in the legs with shotgun blasts while responding to a domestic violence call in the Cobble Creek area.

“I think it’s going to be weeks to months before we see them back to work,” Police Chief Tom Chinn said.

The shooting left Sgt. David Kinterknecht dead, along with the suspect, Dennis Gurney, who lived at the home.

Witte was released from Montrose Memorial Hospital Tuesday, to a hero’s welcome from other officers. Ragsdale’s release from St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction was expected today, Chinn said.

He said both men will need extensive rehab.

­­­

The above is an excerpt from the story that appeared in today’s print edition. The excerpts, usually the first few paragraphs, may not reflect all relevant information that was reported. We encourage readers to obtain the full story by reading the print edition or our e-edition, To subscribe, call (970) 252-7081 or click on the subscription link on the main page.

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ANTIDEPRESSANTS: 52% of Women Who Committed Suicide in 2006 Were taking a…

Paragraph three reads: “We first looked at antidepressant prescriptions. Of the 776 Scandinavian men in the sample, 259 (32%) (age-adjusted 95% confidence interval [CI]=28.5–35.2) filled a prescription for antidepressants in the 180 days before death. The corresponding figures were 176 of the 333 Scandinavian women in the sample (52%) (CI=46.7–57.5), 32 of the 102 foreign-born men (31%) (CI=21.6–39.5), and 21 of the 44 foreign-born women (43%) (CI=28.7–58.1).”

http://ps.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/59/1/116-a

Psychiatr Serv 59:116-a-117, January 2008
doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.59.1.116-a
© 2008 American Psychiatric Association

Letter

Ethnic Differences in Antidepressant Treatment Preceding Suicide in Sweden
To the Editor: In the October 2007 issue Ray and colleagues (1) observed that the odds of receiving treatments for mood disorders in the year preceding suicide were lower for African Americans. The study of racial-ethnic differences in drug utilization among individuals with severe mood disorders is important. We analyzed whether similar undertreatment is present in Sweden, a country of nine million inhabitants. However, because Sweden has a different racial-ethnic composition than the United States, we analyzed country of birth instead of race.

We analyzed all suicides and deaths from undetermined intent among persons aged 18 to 84 in 2006 (N=1,255, or about 95% of all suicides). We examined use of prescription drugs in the 180 days before death. Persons born in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, representing the Scandinavian countries, were compared with persons born in all other countries.

We first looked at antidepressant prescriptions. Of the 776 Scandinavian men in the sample, 259 (32%) (age-adjusted 95% confidence interval [CI]=28.5–35.2) filled a prescription for antidepressants in the 180 days before death. The corresponding figures were 176 of the 333 Scandinavian women in the sample (52%) (CI=46.7–57.5), 32 of the 102 foreign-born men (31%) (CI=21.6–39.5), and 21 of the 44 foreign-born women (43%) (CI=28.7–58.1).

We also examined use of antipsychotic drugs. Among Scandinavian men, 100 (13%) (CI=10.1–14.5) filled a prescription for an antipsychotic in the 180 days before death. The corresponding figures were 81 of the Scandinavian women (24%) (CI=19.5–28.9), 19 of the foreign-born men (18%) (10.7–25.4), and 16 of the foreign-born women (32%) (CI=19.8–44.6). Use of lithium was 2% or less in all groups.

As a comparison we analyzed use of these drugs among persons aged 18 to 84 years in the Swedish population in 2006 by country of birth. Among Scandinavian men, 6.1% (CI=6.05–6.10) had at least one filled prescription for an antidepressant. The corresponding figure for foreign-born men was 6.5% (CI=6.43–6.59). Among Scandinavian women the figure was 11.7% (CI=11.68–11.76), compared with 11.1% (CI=11.02–11.20) for foreign-born women. We did not analyze differences in inpatient or outpatient admission before suicide, although we have previously commented on postdischarge suicides in Sweden (2).

We have some minor concerns about the study by Ray and colleagues (1). Data used in that study represented suicides in different periods­1986 to 2004. Over those years, at least in Sweden, policies in regard to inpatient care changed. We also suspect that use of antidepressants increased substantially in the United States since the early 1990s as a result of the introduction of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The increase in use of SSRIs in Sweden was sixfold between 1990 and 2004. In the study by Ray and colleagues, the mean age of African Americans who committed suicide was also nearly ten years lower than that of whites, which may indicate socioeconomic or other differences in the underlying white and African-American populations from which the samples were drawn.

Although one might suspect relative undertreatment of psychiatric disorders in the non-Scandinavian population in Sweden, it could not be verified by our analyses because we studied only drug utilization without knowledge of the underlying disease prevalence. However, the rates of prescription were similar for Scandinavians and foreign-born persons in our sample who filled a prescription for an antidepressant in the months before they committed suicide­and who therefore could be said to have been suffering from a severe mood disorder. This, together with the observed similar rates of prescription in the general population, could indicate equal access to drug treatment. The study by Ray and colleagues highlights an important issue in research on socioeconomic inequalities in care. Racial-ethnic differences in the use of medications may result from differences in religious and cultural beliefs that can affect both health-seeking behavior and attitudes toward suicide.

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ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Suicide: Man Out of Prison for 3 Hours: England

Notice from the article below that this fellow had been abruptly discontinued from his antidepressant when incarcerated in November. Then while still in the critical withdrawal stage was re-introduced to the use of an antidepressant – likely a new one since jails and prisons have access to a select few they prescribe. So he likely had three strikes against him leading to his sudden and very determined suicide.

Dr. Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director, International Coalition For Drug Awareness

Paragraph four reads: “The jury inquest at Nottingham Coroner’s Court heard Mr Brown had been at the prison for five weeks and was four days away from being released when he was seen by a psychiatrist and given anti-depressants.”

SSRI Stories note: The most likely time for suicidal behaviors and SSRI antidepressants are: 1. When first starting the drugs: 2. When stopping the drugs. 3. While increasing the dose: 4. While decreasing the dose. 5. When switching from one SSRI to another antidepressant.

http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/homenews/Coroner-criticises-healthcare-Nottingham-Prison/article-1196220-detail/article.html

Coroner criticises healthcare at Nottingham Prison
Monday, July 27, 2009, 07:00

1 reader has commented on this story.
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A CORONER has criticised health services at Nottingham Prison after an inmate committed suicide hours after his release.

Gary Brown, 39, of Cranwell Road, Strelley, drowned on December 24, 2007.

He was seen jumping off Trent Bridge less than three hours after he was released from the prison.

The jury inquest at Nottingham Coroner’s Court heard Mr Brown had been at the prison for five weeks and was four days away from being released when he was seen by a psychiatrist and given anti-depressants.

Notts coroner Dr Nigel Chapman said there was a “huge gap” between Mr Brown seeing a GP on his arrival at the prison and seeing a psychiatrist.

The inquest heard there was a lack of communication between health workers, and one doctor at the prison called it “an entirely haphazard system”.

Mr Brown arrived at Nottingham Prison on November 15, 2007. He saw a GP, Dr Lloyd, the next day, who said Mr Brown was not showing symptoms of mental health problems.

Mr Brown said he had previously been prescribed anti-depressants but Dr Lloyd did not renew the prescription as he could not obtain any previous medical records.

Other members of the health team said they tried to get hold of Mr Brown’s medical records but were unable to trace them.

Dr Julian Kenneth Henry, who also saw Mr Brown, told the inquest the amount of time between the prisoner arriving and seeing a psychiatrist was “unprecedented”.

He said: “Unfortunately, in a prison setting there are an awful lot of people involved and there are failures of communication on a daily basis.

“It’s an entirely haphazard system. It’s a very disjointed system and there is not an excuse for it.”

Mr Brown saw psychiatrist Dr Trevor Boughton on December 20 and was given a prescription for anti-depressants.

Dr Boughton said Mr Brown seemed anxious but not psychotic or suicidal.

He said: “He seemed very eager to be released from prison. He spoke very fondly of his brother, whom he was hoping to spend Christmas with.”

The inquest heard the medication was not likely to have had any effect on Mr Brown by the time he was released four days later.

Senior prison officer Vince McGonigle said Mr Brown was released between 9am and 9.30am on December 24 and seemed “in an agitated state”.

Less than three hours later, at around 11.45am, a member of the public saw him jump from Trent Bridge into the River Trent.

Kyle Charles told the inquest: “I saw a person in the water and tried shouting at him. I managed to get the orange ring off the wall and threw that into the water but he swam away from it.

“When he saw me taking my jacket off he held his nose and then started to push himself under the water. He went down, came back up, went down and never came back up again.”

Mr Brown’s body was pulled from the water at 2.55pm. There was no evidence of any violence and no alcohol found in his system.

The jury returned a verdict of suicide, with a majority of six to two. They said there had been a “severe breakdown” of communication during Mr Brown’s care.

Coroner Dr Chapman said: “Clearly there have been difficulties here and the prison has taken those on board.”

But he said Mr Brown’s time in prison would have been a good opportunity to put him on medication and monitor him.

He added “a simple phone number” for a crisis team would be beneficial for people leaving prison.

samantha.hughes@nottinghameveningpost.co.uk

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ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Pharmacist Kills Robber: Includes False Memories: Oklahoma

Paragraph 8 reads: “‘I can’t ever get rid of that, and so I’m treated with a sleeping medication and anti-depressants to try to get me past that.”

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=12&articleid=20090726_298_0_Apamcs638535

Record of OKC pharmacist involved in shooting in doubt

By NOLAN CLAY NewsOK.com
Published: 7/26/2009 8:00 AM
Last Modified: 7/26/2009 8:02 AM

A pharmacist charged with murder told police he had killed before, while overseas in the first Gulf War. But according to his military records, he was never there.

Instead, Jerome Jay Ers-land spent the war in 1991 as the pharmacy chief at the military hospital at Altus Air Force Base in southwestern Oklahoma, records show.

Ersland fatally shot a robber May 19 at the Reliable Discount Pharmacy in Oklahoma City.

The shooting attracted national attention when prosecutors charged him with first-degree murder, alleging he went too far while defending himself. Military veterans rallied to his support after he described himself as an Army veteran injured during Operation Desert Storm. He told The Oklahoman in May he hurt his back during a mortar attack.

Ersland, 57, of Chickasha, insisted again Friday that he served in Iraq during the war. He said he flew overseas from Altus to supply Army troops with nerve agent antidotes and spent time in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq. He said he was there for about 48 days, both before and after the war started. He said he was in the Air Force but serving as a liaison to the Army. He insisted he was injured while overseas, but didn’t know how bad he was hurt at the time. He said he hid his back injury from the military so “I wouldn’t get kicked out.”

He would not say Friday whether he killed anyone in combat.

“There’s no way to prove it,” Ersland said. “And I found out if you can’t prove it, you can’t say it. … I know now that I have to be able to prove everything on paper. … I can tell you one thing, though. That is: I do have dreams, bad nightmares, about that, every night. … That’s every night. They’re just horrible dreams, about six specific soldiers being dead … lying beside one another and they haven’t been body bagged yet and I knew all of them. And then I always dream about body parts of Iraqis, of people.

“I can’t ever get rid of that, and so I’m treated with a sleeping medication and anti-depressants to try to get me past that.”

The government last week released to The Oklahoman eight pages about Ersland’s military service, first in the Army and then in the Air Force. Reporters also reviewed other records about Ersland’s military service.

Prosecutors doubted Ersland’s accounts about his Gulf War service, and they subpoenaed his military papers from the government to check his statements. Prosecutors received a thick envelope of Ersland’s military papers Thursday.

“They verify exactly what we assumed about … his comments about his military record,” Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said.

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ZOLOFT: Woman Professional Comedian: Bizarre Behavior On Stage: Austra…

Last two paragraphs read: “The mother-of-five also told the disgruntled crowd that she was taking the prescription anti-depressant Zoloft before abusing audience members as they began to file from the theatre.”

“It was pretty disgusting,” one audience member told Confidential

SSRI Stories Note: The Physicians Desk Reference states that antidepressants can cause a craving for alcohol and alcohol abuse. Also, the liver cannot metabolize the antidepressant and the alcohol simultaneously, thus leading to higher levels of both alcohol and the antidepressant in the human body.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25727787-12377,00.html

By Amy Harris | July 03, 2009
Article from: The Courier-Mail

FEMALE comic Fiona O’Loughlin’s admitted to being drunk before collapsing on stage, shocked audience members said.

They told Confidential she also admitted to being on anti-depressants during her bizarre Brisbane performance.

O’Loughlin, who is part of the In Stitches program at QPAC’s Cremorne theatre, was on stage for just 25 minutes before organisers chose to scrap the performance and refund audience admission.

It’s understood the comedienne, who is part of Channel Seven’s Dancing With The Stars lineup, staggered around the stage and slurred her words before admitting she had come from a ‘boozy lunch’ at an Italian restaurant.

The mother-of-five also told the disgruntled crowd that she was taking the prescription anti-depressant Zoloft before abusing audience members as they began to file from the theatre.

“It was pretty disgusting,” one audience member told Confidential

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ANTIDEPRESSANT WITHDRAWAL: Suicide: Recent Withdrawal: Michigan

Often there is the terrible withdrawal associated with the SSRIs. Unless patients are warned to come very slowly off these drugs by shaving minuscule amounts off their pills each day, as opposed to cutting them in half or taking a pill every other day, they can go into terrible withdrawal which is generally delayed several months. This withdrawal includes bouts of overwhelming depression, terrible insomnia and fatigue, and can include life-threatening physical effects, psychosis, or violent outbursts.

Paragraph 7 reads: “Fessenden disputes reports that his son was taking multiple prescription drugs. He said his son recently went off anti-depressants.”

Relatives remember Oceana man as generous person

by Chad D. Lerch | The Muskegon Chronicle
Friday July 03, 2009, 6:41 AM

Roger Fessenden

OCEANA COUNTY — Dale Fessenden says his son, who was found dead June 25 in an Oceana County pond, will be remembered as a caring person who always put others first.

His son, Roger Dale Fessenden, 40, of Rothbury suffered a back injury at work earlier this year when he fell 20 feet while cleaning a storage tank. He underwent back surgery in February, family members said.

Roger Fessenden was reported missing June 23 and was found dead two days later in a pond known by locals as Oceana Lake in Grant Township.

Dale Fessenden said his son often had a difficult time sleeping because of back pain. He said Roger would take prescription sleeping pills and then go for drives in his car. He suspects the sleeping pills affected his son’s judgment.

On the night he went missing, Roger Fessenden likely took sleeping pills before venturing out, his father said.

“He didn’t know what he was doing and just took off,” he said. “I’m convinced that’s what happened to him.”

Fessenden disputes reports that his son was taking multiple prescription drugs. He said his son recently went off anti-depressants.

Family members said they want Roger Fessenden to be remembered as someone with a generous heart.

Dale Fessenden said his son once went shopping for a stranger in the hospital — just because he wanted to help.

“That’s the kind of person my son was,” he said. “He was the most polite person in my life.”

Oceana County Sheriff Bob Farber said a toxicology report is pending in the investigation into Roger Fessenden’s death. The report could return from the lab in the next two weeks.

But in the meantime, the county coroner has ruled the cause of death as drowning. It remains unclear how Fessenden ended up in the pond.

Fessenden, a longtime resident of Ferry, is survived by his wife, Blanco Suarez, two stepchildren and his parents.

E-mail Chad D. Lerch at clerch@muskegonchronicle.com

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DEPRESSION MED: 15 Year Old Hangs Himself: Illinois

FDA ‘black-box’ warning – In 2003, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began warning of an increased risk of suicidal thoughts among youths taking anti-depressants. In 2004, the agency required a new, more stringent label when antidepressants were prescribed to those under 18.

Between 2003-04 the youth suicide rate jumped 14 percent
– the steepest increase ever seen – while the number of antidepressant prescriptions for youths dramatically dropped during the same period: 20 percent for children 10 and under, 12 percent for 11-to-14-year-olds and 10 percent for 15-to-19-year-olds.

Paragraphs 29 & 30 read: “He stopped going to school and began attending an outpatient program, seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist and taking medication for depression and anxiety. He tried returning to school on a half-day basis, but soon became overwhelmed with makeup work and inquiries from classmates who heard rumors he had tried to kill himself. After a few days in school, Iain asked to be readmitted to the hospital, where he stayed for a week, his parents said.”

“But as summer approached, he began showing signs of improvement. He was easier to communicate with, did his chores when asked and his doctors believed they had found the right balance in his medication, his father said.”

Paragraph 32 reads: “Lain’s parents and friends say they do not know of any incidents that might have triggered what happened June 3, when his father found him in the basement. His death was ruled a suicide by hanging, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. He did not leave a note.”

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2009/07/05/20090705bullying.html

Bullied boy’s short life ends in suicide
Jul. 5, 2009 08:20 AM
Associated Press

CHICAGO – The bullying seemed inescapable.

His family and friends say it followed Iain Steele from junior high to high school
– from hallways, where one tormentor shoved him into lockers, to cyberspace, where another posted a video on Facebook making fun of his taste for heavy metal music.

“At one point, (a bully) had told (Iain) he wished he would kill himself,” said Matt Sikora, Iain’s close friend.

Iain’s parents know their son had other problems, but they believe the harassment contributed to a deepening depression that hospitalized the 15-year-old twice this year. On June 3, while his classmates were taking final exams, he went to the basement of his home and hanged himself with a belt.

His death stunned his quiet suburb west of Chicago and unleashed an outpouring of support for his parents, William and Liz, who say greater attention should be paid to bullying and its connection to mental health.

“No kid should be afraid for himself to go to school,” his father said. “It should be a safe environment where they can intellectually thrive. And he was, literally, just frightened to go to school, fearing what he would have to deal with on that day. And it was day after day.”

A school spokeswoman said she did not believe Iain was bullied. Police are investigating the allegations.

Nearly 30 percent of American children are bullied or are bullies themselves, according to the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center. Bullying can be physical, verbal or psychological and is repetitive, intentional and creates a perceived imbalance of power, said Dr. Joseph Wright, senior vice president at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington.

Soon, the American Academy of Pediatrics will for the first time include a section on bullying in its official policy statement on the pediatrician’s role in preventing youth violence.

Wright, a lead author of the statement, said the decision to address the issue was due to a growing body of research over the last decade linking bullying to youth violence, depression and suicidal thoughts.

Last year, the Yale School of Medicine conducted analysis of the link between childhood bullying and suicide in 37 studies from 13 countries, finding both bullies and their victims were at high risk of contemplating suicide.

In March, the parents of a 17-year-old Ohio boy who committed suicide filed a lawsuit against his school alleging their son was bullied. Instead of seeking compensation, they are asking the school to put in place an anti-bullying program and to recognize their son’s death as a “bullicide.”

Iain Steele enjoyed riding his skateboard, his father said, but after hip surgery in 8th grade limited his mobility, he picked up the guitar and impressed an instructor with his musical talent.

He was revered by younger kids in the neighborhood, often fixing their skateboards, settling their disputes and including them in games. “He was a very gentle, kind kid, compassionate to a fault,” his father said. But Iain’s embrace of heavy metal set him apart from classmates. He let his hair grow to shoulder-length and wore mostly black clothing, including jeans with chains and T-shirts of heavy metal bands with dark, sometimes morbid lyrics.

For this, his classmates at McClure Junior High School often called him “emo” – a slang term for angst-ridden followers of a style of punk music, said Sikora, 15.

The bullying could also be physical, Iain’s friends and parents said. In 8th grade at McClure, one bully pushed Iain into a locker while he was on crutches and accused him of faking an injury to get out of gym class. Iain rarely shied away from his tormentors, however, and in this case, he punched the bully in the jaw, his father said.

“He was mainly bullied only because he was different, or hurt, or stupid things like that,” said Sikora. “He never bothered anybody. … It was all just because he was different and an easy target.”

William Steele said his son had trouble ignoring the bullying because it “was just sort of relentless.” It got to the point where the father sat down with the principal at McClure and with a bully’s mother. But the harassment did not subside.

Steele said, “(Iain) had a real trust issue because he felt like, particularly at McClure, the system let him down, that it didn’t deliver on its promise to protect him from bullying.”

McClure Principal Dan Chick said in an e-mail “the District 101 community is deeply saddened by this recent tragedy of losing one of our children.” Chick said he takes bullying very seriously but declined to discuss details of Iain’s case because of privacy issues.

“As with all situations, I investigated this specific matter and took appropriate actions within the limits of my authority,” Chick said.

After graduating from McClure in 2008, Iain began attending the south campus for freshmen and sophomores at Lyons Township High School, where he found new friends – and new tormentors. A new bully emerged who at first acted friendly but then posted a homemade video on Facebook pretending to be Iain playing heavy metal on guitar.

“It was like a public humiliation to (Iain),” Sikora said.

The family of the student did not respond to requests for comment.

Jennifer Bialobok, a spokeswoman for Lyons Township High School, said “bullying is obviously not tolerated at LT,” but added, “I don’t think we’re naive enough to think that bullying behavior doesn’t exist.”

Two years ago, Lyons Township created a “speak up line” in which students can anonymously report “inappropriate or unsafe behavior,” and the school hangs posters defining bullying and explaining how to report it, Bialobok said. If any student reported being bullied, a thorough investigation would take place, with consequences ranging from parental notification to out-of-school suspension, she said.

Bialobok said she could not discuss Iain’s case because of student privacy laws, but, “we don’t believe that bullying was an issue while Iain was attending LT. Counselors and a host of other support personnel worked routinely to make his experience at LT a positive one.”

Local police have not documented incidents of bullying involving Iain but are still conducting interviews, Deputy Chief Brian Budds said.

By this winter, Iain’s mental health had begun a downward spiral, his parents said. In February, he told them he was having suicidal thoughts and asked to be admitted to the hospital.

He stopped going to school and began attending an outpatient program, seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist and taking medication for depression and anxiety. He tried returning to school on a half-day basis, but soon became overwhelmed with makeup work and inquiries from classmates who heard rumors he had tried to kill himself. After a few days in school, Iain asked to be readmitted to the hospital, where he stayed for a week, his parents said.

But as summer approached, he began showing signs of improvement. He was easier to communicate with, did his chores when asked and his doctors believed they had found the right balance in his medication, his father said.

“He seemed to be in a calm, happy place,” he said.

Iain’s parents and friends say they do not know of any incidents that might have triggered what happened June 3, when his father found him in the basement. His death was ruled a suicide by hanging, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. He did not leave a note.

Looking back, Iain’s parents wonder what factors besides bullying may have contributed to their son’s depression.

Iain’s favorite heavy metal bands, such as Lamb of God and Children of Bodem and Bullet for My Valentine, often have lyrics with dark messages. One Bullet for My Valentine song is about being bullied, and another song contains the refrain: “The only way out is to die.”

Also, Iain was deeply hurt this spring after a brief relationship with a girl he met in his outpatient program. The two exchanged text messages, but her parents and therapists advised against them dating and about two months ago barred her from having communication with him.

Still, Iain’s parents remain convinced bullying played a significant role in their son’s depression. As Iain’s story spread through the community, many people approached Liz Steele to describe their own experiences with bullying, depression or suicide, she said.

“A lot of people don’t want to talk about mental health or bullying because it’s a difficult thing to talk about, but we need to talk about it,” she said. “It shouldn’t be a stigma.”

Meanwhile, the community has rallied behind the Steeles. In Iain’s memory, his classmates tied white ribbons around hundreds of trees in the neighborhood. On June 10, about 500 people attended a memorial service at First Congregational Church of Western Springs.

Rich Kirchherr, senior minister at the church, said the community has felt a “deep and abiding sadness” since Iain’s death. Kirchherr said few people seemed aware that Iain was bullied.

“There is an acknowledgment now, as people have discovered that Iain might not always have been treated with the respect that every person deserves,” Kirchherr said. “Many people were surprised to hear that.”

Friends have established several Facebook groups in his memory, including the “Iain Steele Remembrance Group,” which has more than 700 members. The commentary on the group’s wall was summed up by a Lyons Township High School student who said she did not know Iain but had learned an important lesson from his death.

“I’m learning to treat everyone with respect, even people who I don’t know well or people who I might not get along with,” she wrote. “If there is anything good that can come out of this tragedy, the responsibility lies with us to live with kindness and be aware that life is fragile.”

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