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WOW!! This certainly makes the connection between the use of these drugs and Bipolar Disorder obvious! But is this suppose to be a big surprise?!
From my new DVD, Bipolar, Shmypolar, Are You Really Bipolar or Misdiagnosed Due to the Use of or Abrupt Discontinuation of an Antidepressant?, let me give you a quick synopsis.
An ANTI-depressant is the opposite of a depressant and is what?
That is correct. It is a stimulant.
What is bipolar? It is a continuous series of mild seizures.
What produces seizures? STIMULANTS, like antidepressants and amphetamines – Ritalin, etc.!
Chemically inducing Bipolar Disorder to create a whole new customer base for the new and high priced atypical antipsychotics is not the least bit difficult when you start patients out on stimulant medications, like Ritalin and antidepressants. That is especially true when given to a young patient with yet growing and developing, and therefore more vulnerable, brain!
Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition for Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org & www.ssristories.drugawareness.org
Author: Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? Our
Serotonin Nightmare and audio: Help! I Can’t
Get Off My Antidepressant ()
Sixth sentence reads: “During the year before the new diagnosis of bipolar disorder, youths were commonly diagnosed as having depressive disorder (46.5%) or disruptive behavior disorder (36.7%) and had often filled a prescription for an antidepressant (48.5%), stimulant (33.0%), mood stabilizer (31.8%), or antipsychotic (29.1%].”
Psychiatr Serv 60:1098-1106, August 2009
© 2009 American Psychiatric Association
Mental Health Treatment Received by Youths in the Year Before and After a New Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder
Mark Olfson, M.D., M.P.H., Stephen Crystal, Ph.D., Tobias Gerhard, Ph.D., Cecilia S. Huang, Ph.D. and Gabrielle A. Carlson, M.D.
Dr. Olfson is affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1051 Riverside Dr., New York, NY 10032 (e-mail: email@example.com ). Dr. Crystal and Dr. Huang are with the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research, and Dr. Gerhard is with the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, both at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. Dr. Carlson is with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stony Brook, New York.
OBJECTIVE: Despite a marked increase in treatment for bipolar disorder among youths, little is known about their pattern of service use. This article describes mental health service use in the year before and after a new clinical diagnosis of bipolar disorder. METHODS: Claims were reviewed between April 1, 2004, and March 31, 2005, for 1,274,726 privately insured youths (17 years and younger) who were eligible for services at least one year before and after a service claim; 2,907 youths had new diagnosis of bipolar disorder during this period. Diagnoses of other mental disorders and prescriptions filled for psychotropic drugs were assessed in the year before and after the initial diagnosis of bipolar disorder. RESULTS: The one-year rate of a new diagnosis of bipolar disorder was .23%. During the year before the new diagnosis of bipolar disorder, youths were commonly diagnosed as having depressive disorder (46.5%) or disruptive behavior disorder (36.7%) and had often filled a prescription for an antidepressant (48.5%), stimulant (33.0%), mood stabilizer (31.8%), or antipsychotic (29.1%). Most youths with a new diagnosis of bipolar disorder had only one (28.8%) or two to four (28.7%) insurance claims for bipolar disorder in the year starting with the index diagnosis. The proportion starting mood stabilizers after the index diagnosis was highest for youths with five or more insurance claims for bipolar disorder (42.1%), intermediate for those with two to four claims (24.2%), and lowest for those with one claim (13.8%). CONCLUSIONS: Most youths with a new diagnosis of bipolar disorder had recently received treatment for depressive or disruptive behavior disorders, and many had no claims listing a diagnosis of bipolar disorder after the initial diagnosis. The service pattern suggests that a diagnosis of bipolar disorder is often given tentatively to youths treated for mental disorders with overlapping symptom profiles and is subsequently reconsidered.
August 2009: This Month’s Highlights Psychiatr Serv 2009 60: 1009. [Full Text] [PDF]
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Paragraphs 6 through 9 read: “Munn lost his license to practice psychiatry in Montana in 2003, after having an ongoing sexual relationship with one of his patients. His marriage dissolved around the same time. Already being treated for depression, Munn’s condition was rediagnosed, and with the help of counseling and medicine, he rebuilt his life into one where he’s succeeding while living with a mental illness.”
“Anti-depressants didn’t help the manic side of Munn’s bipolar disorder. At times his thoughts raced. He didn’t sleep. He had grandiose ideas like how to fix the entire mental health system in the state of Montana.”
“And he believed he could do anything he wanted.”
“’I felt rules didn’t apply to me. That would be grandiosity,’ he said. ‘But they do. And that’s accepting that you have a mental illness’.”
Psychiatrist brings himself back from the brink of suicide
By JOHN HARRINGTON – Independent Record – 08/02/09
Eliza Wiley Independent Record – Nathan Munn has fought back from some very low places. Rather than ending his life, the psychiatrist chose to seek treatment for his bipolar disorder and began a new career teaching psychology courses and developing a mental health direct care program at University of Montana-Helena.
In 2003, with his career and home in very public shambles, Nathan Munn nearly committed suicide.
But rather than end his life, the psychiatrist chose not to pull the trigger one fateful night. He subsequently got treatment, including psychotherapy and medications, for his bipolar mood disorder.
Now, Munn is an instructor at the University of Montana-Helena, teaching psychology courses and developing a mental health direct care program that trains students how to be direct caregivers, counselors and other types of mental health professionals.
“I’m really thankful for my job at UM-Helena,” said Munn, 49, in a candid interview last week. “And I hope that my story can be of some inspiration along with my teaching. It’s my intention that I’m still helping in the community, but now with education as opposed to direct providing of psychiatric care.”
Munn admits somewhat nervously that his past is still “hard to talk about.” He chooses his words carefully, often pausing between sentences. He’s told his humbling story before, and maybe it’s getting a little easier but not much. Remorse hangs deep in his eyes.
Munn lost his license to practice psychiatry in Montana in 2003, after having an ongoing sexual relationship with one of his patients. His marriage dissolved around the same time. Already being treated for depression, Munn’s condition was rediagnosed, and with the help of counseling and medicine, he rebuilt his life into one where he’s succeeding while living with a mental illness.
Anti-depressants didn’t help the manic side of Munn’s bipolar disorder. At times his thoughts raced. He didn’t sleep. He had grandiose ideas like how to fix the entire mental health system in the state of Montana.
And he believed he could do anything he wanted.
“I felt rules didn’t apply to me. That would be grandiosity,” he said. “But they do. And that’s accepting that you have a mental illness.”
Mental illnesses are by no means limited to those on the fringes of society. Millions of Americans of all walks of life blue collar and white, laborers and professionals live daily with schizophrenia, depression, bipolar mood disorder and other diagnosable and treatable conditions.
Mike Larson of Dillon is director of the State Bar of Montana’s Lawyer Assistance Program, which was created in 2006 after several attorneys committed suicide in Missoula.
“Lawyers, from the first call in the morning to the last e-mail at night, are busy dealing with everyone else’s problems,” Larson said. “So what do they do when their own problems kick in?”
Larson said that from a population of 2,800 members of the bar in Montana, he takes calls from eight to 10 new clients a month, around a third of which are related to mental illness, with another third dealing with chemical dependency. He said many lawyers are reticent to call the program, either out of fear that others will learn of their treatment and their careers will suffer, or from simple denial.
“There are a lot of stereotypes out there about what mental illness is, and there’s that whole component of not wanting to be under the stigma of mental illness,” Larson said.
For Munn, day-to-day life means a regimen of a mood-stabilizing drug and an anti-depressant, acknowledgement of and taking responsibility for the mistakes he made and a resolve to move forward knowing the illness will likely be with him for the rest of his life.
“It’s not like there’s one day that you no longer have a mental illness,” he said. “On appropriate treatment, it can be in remission. And you stay on your meds and you do the psychological work necessary, and you move forward.
“I hate to say it because it sounds like it’s bragging, but it takes courage. You have to face this, you face what you did, you face having a mental illness, and you accept other aspects of your life.”
Munn doesn’t hide from his condition, and hopes that sharing his story will comfort others who find themselves in similar positions.
“One of the main things I want to say is when you have a mental illness, you have to acknowledge that that’s there, and that you have it,” he said. “I have a bipolar disorder, I am not bipolar. It is something that I have, it is not something that I am. A lot of people say, ‘I am bipolar.’ Well, what does that mean? You don’t say, ‘I am congestive heart failure. I am sinusitis.’ It’s not who you are, it’s what you have.”
Just as there are ways to characterize people living with mental illness, there are productive ways to discuss the illnesses themselves, Munn said.
“(People) talked about the dark recesses of the mind. That’s not the way to talk about it,” he said. “The term ‘dark recess’ has such a negative connotation, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, that’s not it. They’re not dark recesses. It’s neuropathology. It’s limbic system disregulation. And it’s the cognitions, the thinking that goes along with it.
“That’s a tough thing for people to get, but I think it’s crucial for people to get that as they’re recovering from a mental illness, that our brains and our minds are the same thing. So when I have negative cognitions, when I’m thinking that people would be better off without me, that’s the psychological part.
“And that’s a key point for people, is that what you’re thinking psychologically and what your brain is doing physically, we don’t know how it’s the same function, but it is the same function. The subjective psychology that you’re feeling as a person with a mental illness, is the psychological aspect of the biological process, and yes, it is a real illness. The idea that a psychological illness is somehow not real is just absurd. That’s crazy.”
Many mental illnesses can be directly traced to chemical imbalances or other physical abnormalities in the brain. But having a mental illness can’t by itself be an excuse for any actions, good bad or otherwise.
“You don’t want to use it as an excuse to justify behaviors. You have to take accountability. Personal accountability is necessary for recovery, it just is,” he said. “It takes humility, it takes a lot of work, it takes compliance.
“I made huge mistakes. My choices were horrible. Despicable, really, is the term to use. I hurt a lot of people. I hurt patients that I had, the person herself and her family, and of course my family. I feel sorry and apologetic about that every day. Especially for my children, I feel horrible and always will.
“One of the points I would like to make is, yes, I have this bipolar disorder. To deny I do would be to deny I have a mental illness. But I also completely accept responsibility and accountability for my actions. And that’s a very important point: recovery requires personal accountability. Yes, I have a major mental illness, and yes, I am responsible for my actions. Those aren’t mutually exclusive.”
Treating a mental illness isn’t a guarantee of happiness. Life still presents challenges, and treatment gives those suffering from mental illness a better chance at facing those challenges head-on and coming out ahead.
“Life has struggles, with or without a mental illness,” Munn said. “Having your mental illness treated doesn’t mean your life is wonderful. You’re still going to have the struggles that everyone has. But you’ll also have wonderful things. I’m a grandfather. And that’s wonderful. If I had killed myself, I wouldn’t have known this joy of having a granddaughter.
“You have to accept mental health care of various types, and you need to know that it’s worth it, that treatments are available, the science is there, people do recover, illnesses do go into remission. Of all chronic illnesses to have, having a mental illness is not bad. Treatments are available, and you can live a long, good life having your mental illness treated.”
Larson of the Lawyer Assistance Program acknowledged that people need to want to treat their illnesses.
“There are a lot of people out there that still need the help that haven’t come forward or recognized they need the help,” Larson said. “Not only are they in denial that they have a problem, they’re in denial that everyone knows they have a problem.”
And even if the disease goes into remission or becomes manageable, a person must be diligent, even when things are going well.
“It’s not something you mess around with. And that’s OK,” Munn said. “Mental illnesses are chronic illnesses. People have the idea that, ‘Oh no, I’m going to be on medications for life.’ Well yeah, you are. And that’s all right, you have a chronic illness. There are a lot of chronic illnesses, not just psychiatric ones. And people who have those, like type 1 diabetes, will be on insulin. It’s accepted. So it’s a chronic illness, you accept that.”
And the more acceptance there is, across a broader swath of Montana at large, the easier it will be for people to summon the strength to get the help they need, to confront the illness, and to assume the places so many of them deserve as productive members of society.
To view the complete series on mental health care services in Montana, click here.
John Harrington: 447-4080 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Paragraph 11 reads: “Years later, Mr Ritchie encouraged a ‘‘nervous and confused’’ woman, sitting on a ledge, shoes by her side, to follow him home. Over tea and toast, she revealed she was unhappy with medication she had been prescribed for depression. Mr Ritchie’s wife suggested she seek a second opinion. ‘‘A couple of months later she came up the path with a bottle of French champagne. We later got a Christmas card from her, and a postcard. It said ‘I’ll never forget your important intervention in my life. I am well’.’’
An angel walking among us at The Gap
’’People will always come here. I don’t think it will ever stop’’ … Don Ritchie. Photo: Marco del Grande
Kate Benson Medical Reporter
August 1, 2009
HE IS the watchman of The Gap. A former life insurance salesman who in 45 years has officially rescued about 160 people intent on jumping from the cliffs at Watsons Bay, mostly from Gap Park, opposite his home high on Old South Head Road. Unofficially, that figure is closer to 400.
Some, at his urging, quietly gathered their shoes and wallets, neatly laid out on the rocks, and followed him home for breakfast. Others, tragically, struggled as he grabbed at their clothes before they slipped over the edge.
Still others later sent tokens of thanks, a magnum of champagne or an anonymous drawing slipped into his letter box, labelling him ‘‘an angel walking among us’’.
Don Ritchie, 82, spends much of his time reading newspapers, books and scanning the glistening expanse of ocean laid out before him. His days of climbing fences are gone and he admits some relief that most visitors now carry mobile phones and are quick to contact the police if they see a lone figure standing too close to the edge, too deep in contemplation.
For its part, Woollahra Council has been campaigning for $2.5 million to install higher fences, motion-sensitive lights, emergency phones and closed-circuit television cameras, but Mr Ritchie is ambivalent.
‘‘People will always come here. I don’t think it will ever stop,’’ he says, with a shrug.
Some deaths have been recorded in his diary, others are eternally etched in his mind.
One summer evening he spotted a young man perched on a thin ledge, beyond the fence.
‘‘I went over and I tried to talk to him, asking him questions about where he was from. He wouldn’t talk much, just kept looking straight ahead. I was talking to him for about half an hour … thinking I was making headway. I said ‘why don’t you come over for a cup of tea, or a
beer, if you’d like one?’ He said ‘no’ and stepped straight off the side … his hat blew up and I caught it in my hand.’’ Later, Mr Ritchie discovered the 19-year-old had grown up next door, playing with his grandchildren.
Years later, Mr Ritchie encouraged a ‘‘nervous and confused’’ woman, sitting on a ledge, shoes by her side, to follow him home. Over tea and toast, she revealed she was unhappy with medication she had been prescribed for depression. Mr Ritchie’s wife suggested she seek a second opinion. ‘‘A couple of months later she came up the path with a bottle of French champagne. We later got a Christmas card from her, and a postcard. It said ‘I’ll never forget your important intervention in my life. I am well’.’’
Despite his bravery and compassion, Mr Ritchie has steered clear of the limelight. He was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2006 for his services to suicide prevention but is all too aware that any publicity attracts more depressed and disturbed people.
In the weeks after the Channel 10 newsreader Charmaine Dragun jumped to her death outside his house in November 2007, Mr Ritchie’s wife is adamant six more followed.
‘‘But what do you do? Not talk about it?’’ he asks. ‘‘It’s the truth. It’s what goes on here.’’
It has long been a haunting dichotomy for rescuers, families and media. To speak out in a bid to have the area made safer, risking more people becoming aware of it, or to keep quiet, letting the deaths go on.
But for an anti-suicide campaigner, Dianne Gaddin, whose daughter Tracy jumped from The Gap in 2005, the answer is easy. If the issue is not aired, the problem will never be solved.
She has written four letters in the past month to the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, urging him to act. While her pleas go unanswered, her desperation balloons. She knows Mr Ritchie will not be standing guard forever.
‘‘Sometimes just a smile and a greeting is all it takes to change the mind of the would-be suicider. I don’t believe people want to die, but living is just too hard. To me, Don is a guardian angel.’’
Lifeline: 131 114; Salvo Crisis Line 93312000; Beyond Blue 1300224 636.
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Third paragraph from the end reads: “Stephen Constantine, defending, said: ‘Ms Fergus suffers from depression and this offending was a result of combining drink with her prescribed medication’.”
Easington tyre-slasher wore pink pyjamas
30 July 2009
By Rob Freeth
A drunken woman dressed herself in pink pyjamas before going out at the dead of night to slash car tyres.
Joanne Fergus did not know the owners of the vehicles she damaged, Durham Crown Court heard.
Fergus, 25, of Glenhurst Road, Easington Village, admitted three charges of criminal damage on January 23 this year.
She has no previous convictions, but has police caustions for a public order offence and possessing a small quantity of amphetamine, and she received a penalty notice for being drunk and disorderly.
Judge Esmond Faulks sentenced Fergus to a nine-month supervision order, and ordered her to pay £282 compensation.
“You slashed the tyres of cars belonging to neighbours who had done nothing to you,” the judge told Fergus.
“It was a disgraceful thing to do and I hope you are ashamed of yourself.”
“A neighbour in Easington saw a figure crouched down beside a Jaguar car,” said David Wilkinson, prosecuting.
“He then saw a flash of metal, which was later confirmed to be a kitchen knife.
“The neighbour was able to tell police the person with the knife was a woman dressed in pink pyjamas.
“Officers cruised around the immediate area and the only house with a downstairs light on belonged to Fergus.
“She was wearing the pink pyjamas when she answered the door.”
The court heard Fergus admitted she had been out slashing tyres, but could not say why she had done it.
“She had been drinking and was upset due to an argument with her boyfriend,” added Mr Wilkinson.
“One tyre on the Jaguar was found to be slashed, as well as two tyres on a Peugeot, and another two tyres on a Vauxhall Astra.”
Stephen Constantine, defending, said: “Ms Fergus suffers from depression and this offending was a result of combining drink with her prescribed medication.
“The incident was also borne out of a domestic argument with her boyfriend at the time.
“She can pay compensation, although her income from benefits is £120 a week, from which she has to look after herself and her young daughter.”
* Last Updated: 30 July 2009 12:44 PM
* Source: n/a
* Location: Sunderland
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Paragraph 20 reads: “Mr. Mott was discharged July 14. He went home with three prescriptions to treat depression, his family said and a companion.”
Paragraphs 27 through 29 read: “In the wake of his death, his family searches for answers. Kathy Mott said she does not believe her son relapsed. She wonders if the antidepressants played a role in his death.”
“Now she wants others to be careful.”
“‘Just because it’s prescription drugs, doesn’t mean you can’t OD,’ she said.”
Track star Matthew Mott had started rehab
By Andrew Meacham, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Friday, July 31, 2009
[LARA CERRI | Times]
ST. PETERSBURG At a gathering held in his honor Wednesday at Northeast High School, Matthew Mott’s family and peers recalled the good times.
A former teammate showed off a large pink stuffed bunny rabbit, the unofficial mascot of the Northeast High track team, led by Mr. Mott and his twin brother, Jonathan. Others reminisced about late-night scavenger hunts and mud-wrestling in Mr. Mott’s back yard.
But it wasn’t good times that brought more than 140 people to Northeast’s cafeteria Wednesday it was an unexpected death. Mr. Mott died of unknown causes early July 23, nine days after leaving an addiction treatment center. He was 22.
Mr. Mott literally ran through most of his life, competing with and against his brother. The brothers anchored a previously unremarkable Northeast track team, each earning second-team all-county honors in 2005. The next year, they helped take Northeast to its first state finals in more than two decades.
They trained together, worked out together. Jonathan won many races just a second or so ahead of Matthew, though sometimes it was the other way around.
“I don’t think they were competing against anybody else,” said Patty Parker, the boys’ aunt. “The competition was between those two.”
The boys took separate paths after their graduation in 2006. Jonathan Mott got a full track scholarship to Webber International University, where he remains.
Matthew Mott did not get the same offer. He enrolled in the Orlando Culinary Academy.
In the fall of 2006, after less than two weeks at the school, he called his aunt.
“He called in a panic,” said Parker, 40. He didn’t like it there, she said. Parker and her husband drove Mr. Mott back to St. Petersburg.
It is around this same time that friends began noticing changes in Mr. Mott’s behavior. Suddenly, the happy-go-lucky man with bleached blond locks had grown quieter, more reserved.
“He was the most upbeat, happy person,” said Ian Upson, 21. “He was always saying, ‘Let’s do this’ or ‘Let’s do that.’ Afterward, he just wanted to sit back and do nothing.”
Some of his friends and family members knew that Mr. Mott was taking the painkiller OxyContin. But they, like everyone else, were powerless to stop him.
“If you were around him, you knew,” said older brother Sam Mott.
Mr. Mott got a series of cooking jobs at places like the Don CeSar, the TradeWinds, Bascom’s Chop House and Derby Lane, his family said.
“He lost all of those jobs due to his addiction,” said his mother, Kathy Mott, 53.
With less money to buy OxyContin illegally, Mr. Mott resorted to Coricidin Cough and Cold medicine or “Triple C” an over-the-counter antihistamine that can be used as an intoxicant.
In June, Mr. Mott told his family he had had enough. His mother entered him in Fairwinds Treatment Center in Clearwater.
During a family visit to the facility, Mr. Mott seemed to have improved. He had gained weight. He was his old, animated self.
Mr. Mott was discharged July 14. He went home with three prescriptions to treat depression, his family said and a companion.
Mr. Mott had met Genny Perry in treatment, and the two had formed an attraction. Perry and Mr. Mott lived with Kathy Mott. The two went to 12-step meetings together and separately.
Mr. Mott had gone to an AA meeting the night of July 22, then talked to his AA sponsor, his mother said. They stayed close to home the rest of the evening, Perry said, and fell asleep together at 3:30 a.m.
She awoke at 4 a.m. sensing something was wrong.
“He felt sweaty,” said Perry, 32.
Mr. Mott was snoring something he did not normally do, his mother said. Foam bubbled around his lips, his mother and Perry said.
Paramedics were unable to revive him, and he died at 4:40 a.m.
In the wake of his death, his family searches for answers. Kathy Mott said she does not believe her son relapsed. She wonders if the antidepressants played a role in his death.
Now she wants others to be careful.
“Just because it’s prescription drugs, doesn’t mean you can’t OD,” she said.
Learning the cause of death could take months, as the Pinellas County medical examiner awaits toxicology results.
At his celebration service Wednesday, family and friends spoke of Mr. Mott’s zest for life. A friend strummed a ukulele and sang a song. A priest extolled the value of Mr. Mott’s life and called it complete.
The audience listened in respectful silence.
Andrew Meacham can be reached at (727) 892-2248 or email@example.com.
Born: Feb. 20, 1987.
Died: July 23, 2009.
Survivors: brothers, Jonathan and Sam; parents, Kathy and Sam; aunts, Patty Parker and Barbara DuFault; extended family.
[Last modified: Jul 30, 2009 10:29 PM]
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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.
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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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.”
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.”
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