ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Woman Commits Suicide: England

Paragraph 28 reads;  “Mrs Davis received counselling
and was on anti-depressants,’ he said. ‘Mr Davies said
their marriage had been blissfully happy and he thought the financial problems
had been settled.”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1223333/Husband-blames-Lloyds-wifes-suicide-bank-pulls-family-firms-overdraft.html

Husband blames Lloyds for wife’s suicide after bank pulls family firm’s
overdraft


Last updated at 3:05 PM on 27th October 2009

A
husband has claimed Lloyds bank was partly to blame for his wife’s suicide after
it suddenly pulled their overdraft.

Mark Davis says the bank’s actions
helped drive his wife Victoria to throw herself in front of a train earlier this
year.

An inquest into her death heard a £16,000 tax demand was also
hand-delivered to the family home on the morning of her suicide.

The
hearing was told Mrs Davis had battled to juggle her job as company secretary
for the family firm and coping with its debts with being a mother to two young
children.

‘Blissfully happy’: Mark and Victoria Davis. He claims
Lloyds bank was partially to blame for her suicide because it pulled their
overdraft

Her husband, from whom she kept secret the extent of the
family’s chauffeur business’s woe, insisted Lloyds TSB was also partly to
blame.

After the inquest, he told how they had been with the bank for
years and had always had the loan renewed on a yearly basis.

This was
suddenly changed to monthly renewals and then finally withdrawn, cutting adrift
the family chauffeur car business which then went bust, he claimed.

‘We
did everything they asked us to do and then they moved the goal posts and kept
moving them. I am extremely bitter about it,’ Mr Davis said.

‘Lloyds bank
holds some of the responsibility for her death. We banked with Lloyds for many
years and had a very successful business. But at the beginning of this year,
they were themselves in serious financial difficulties.

‘We had an
extremely large overdraft of £30,000 which was secured on our house and other
guarantees. Previously it had been renewed annually but suddenly it was only
renewed monthly and then it was pulled completely.

‘How can we run a
business on that basis? I had a letter from the bank yesterday saying they were
still holding a personal guarantee of mine and they wanted it paid.

‘But
my company has now gone into liquidation and as far as I can, I shall make sure
that Lloyds don’t get a penny.’

Mrs Davis committed suicide on railway
tracks near the couple’s home in Chalford, near Stroud in Gloucestershire in
May.

After her death, some 4,000 letters she had hidden away were found.
Ironically, many contained payments from customers that would have eased their
financial problems.

Following the inquest jury’s verdict of suicide, her
husband said he could not understand why she had kept the extent of their debts
from him.

He said: ‘She must have been frightened to tell me because I
can be a bit fiery but she was a very intelligent woman and after what we had
been through, I can’t believe she kept it all from me.’

The inquest in
Cheltenham heard that Mrs Davis had struggled to cope with handling the
company’s debts with being a mother to their two children, aged six and
four.

Mr Davis said she was a ‘fantastic woman‘ and wonderful mother.

‘We went through a low point but we got through it with the help of
counselling and I thought we had come out the other side. I clearly missed
something. Nothing was as important as us and our family,’  he
said.

The inquest heard Mrs Davis went and knelt in front of a train on
May 13 after receiving the tax demand.

Train driver Ian Green told how he
sounded his horn when he spotted someone on the track and that at first, she had
stepped out of harm’s way.

‘As I approached the first short tunnel around
a bend at about 50 miles an hour, I saw a person standing near the line at the
far end. There was work taking place on the line that day so I was not alarmed,’
he said.

‘I immediately sound a double horn warning and the person
stepped back from the line. But as the train drew closer she stepped forward and
knelt down on the line facing away from me. I applied the brakes but there was
nothing I could do to avoid her.’

An Audi belonging to Mr and Mrs Davis
was found parked in a lay-by nearby. The inquest heard there was a three-page
debt management letter on the front seat referring to the unpaid tax bill.

The family firm, Chauffeurwise Ltd, had succeeded at first but had to
sell half its fleet of eight cars when trade slowed, the hearing was told.

By 2008, it was in ‘deep financial trouble’, John Wilson from the
British Transport Police said.

‘Mrs Davis received counselling and was
on anti-depressants,’ he said. ‘Mr Davies said their marriage had been
blissfully happy and he thought the financial problems had been
settled.

‘But since her death 4,000 letters have been found which had
been secreted around the house, and many contained cheques from customers which
had they been cashed would have helped the company’s situation.’

The
inquest heard the Inland Revenue had contacted Mrs Davis several times about the
outstanding debts and that even on the morning of her death, she had not shown
signs of unusual behaviour on the phone.

Her GP Dr Susie Weir said her
health had been generally good until 2006 when she gave her anti-depressants
because she was struggling to cope with working full time and caring for her
young children.

She saw her again in March 2009 and said she did not
remember her being stressed or in a low mood but that she was back on
anti-depressants at that
point.

487 total views, 3 views today

ANTIDEPRESSANT: Suicide by Train: India

Paragraph two reads:  “A BE graduate, Ajay of Tanuku in
West Godavari district was jobless for the past nine years, Nampally GRP
constable S Madhava Rao said. He was in a
state of
depression and was undergoing medication.”

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/PRP-activist-jumps-in-front-of-train/articleshow/5137281.cms

‘PRP activist’ jumps in front of train

TNN 19
October 2009, 03:15am IST

HYDERABAD: A 42-year-old engineer, who
claimed to be a PRP activist, committed suicide by throwing himself in front of
a train near Sanatnagar railway station on Sunday morning.

A BE
graduate, Ajay of Tanuku in West Godavari district was jobless for the past nine
years, Nampally GRP constable S Madhava Rao said. He was in a state of
depression and was undergoing medication.

On October 13, Ajay came to
his brother Vijay’s house in Kukatpally. Since then, he had been staying with
either his brother or his co-brother Mallikarjun in Kukatpally.

On
Saturday at about 7 pm, Ajay left his co-brother’s house saying that he would go
to a friend’s house. Later in the night, Ajay made a phone call to his
co-brother and told him that he was going to commit suicide.

“Mallikarjun, Vijay and his brother Nani rushed and searched on the
railway tracks around Hi-Tec City but could not find him,” the constable said.

On Sunday at about 7 am, police got information about the body on the
railway tracks near the Sanatnagar railway station.

Police found a
suicide note in the wallet of the victim. It said: “I am committing suicide as
it is hard for me to adjust in society. I am jobless and there is no respect for
me here. I had worked with PRP and during that time suffered a leg injury. I am
still suffering due to the injury due to which I am in financial troubles and
decided to commit suicide.”

Ajay is survived by his wife and 10-year-old
son. A suspicious death case was registered under section 174 of CrPC.

608 total views, no views today

ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Woman Commits Suicide: Husband Charged for Assisting: Florida

Paragraph asix reads:  “Deputies say Ragan and his wife
were having marital problems and his wife was on
anti-depressants.
She was pronounced dead at the
hospital.”

http://www.myfoxorlando.com/dpp/news/brevard_news/091409_assisted_suicide_charge

Brevard man charged with assisted suicide

Updated:
Tuesday, 15 Sep 2009, 12:23 AM EDT
Published : Monday, 14 Sep 2009, 5:15 PM
EDT

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) – A Brevard County man has been

charged with assisted suicide after police say he helped his wife kill herself.
Investigators say this is one of the more bizarre cases they’ve ever
seen.

A 4-year-old child was left without his mom after she took her own
life and now he could lose his father too. Kevin Ragan was arrested for helping
his wife commit suicide.

In the frantic 911 call he told a dispatcher his
30-year-old wife was depressed and had been drinking. He says she threatened to
kill herself and admits offering her some loaded guns.

Ragan on 911 Call:
“I was being a smart a** and threw like three guns on the bed. I’m like, then do
it. And, she just picked the 40 caliber hand gun up.”

The rest of the 911
call on that sad day is too graphic to air, a distraught Ragan crying and asking
for an ambulance.

Deputies say Ragan and his wife were having marital
problems and his wife was on anti-depressants. She was pronounced dead at the
hospital.

Now more than three months later, after deputies got
confirmation from the medical examiner that the death was in fact a suicide,
they charged Ragan with assisting a suicide. He was arrested and bonded
out.

No one was home on Monday when a FOX 35 crew went to the Ragan home
but neighbors say they are stunned.

FOX 35 checked and found that Ragan
has no criminal history in Brevard
County.

430 total views, no views today

ANTIDEPRESSANT: Suicide: Soldier: Iraq/Kentucky

Paragraph 16 reads:  “Depression first struck in the
summer of 2002, and Ala admitted himself to Ten Broeck Hospital, now called The
Brook. He was prescribed an anti-depressant, his parents
said, and later in the year saw a doctor at Fort Knox who determined he was fit
to stay in the Guard. He was deployed the next year to the Middle
East.”

Paragraphs 20 through 23 read:  “But in 2004, they began to
notice troubling signs. Arylane Ala said her son always wore black and went on
binges with vitamins, nutritional supplements and workouts. Sometimes he
would hide, saying he heard helicopters.
And he would get
extremely agitated while driving, occasionally slamming his car
into park, and running away, disappearing for hours or even
days.

In June 2005, Ala was hospitalized at the Louisville
VA Medical Center and diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which the
VA later ruled service-connected, which made him eligible for financial
benefits.

He was prescribed lithium, but his parents said he sometimes
skipped his medication. At nursing school, he highlighted passages about bipolar
disorder in his psychiatry textbook, writing “me” in the
margins.

Finally, after a fight with his fiancee that resulted in her
obtaining an emergency protective order against him, Bryan Ala went to his
parents’ home. The Alas said he promised not to do anything rash. But after they went to work on Aug. 10, 2007, he took a rifle from
under his father’s bed and ended his life.

SSRI Stories note:

Antidepressants Can Cause Bipolar Disorder to Develop.  This is
stated in many scientific studies.  Bipolar Disorder Can Contribute to
Suicide.

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20090913/NEWS01/909130330

Suicide takes growing toll among military, veterans

By Laura Ungar • lungar@courier-journal.com
September 13, 2009

As soon as Arylane Ala walked into her house that day
in 2007, she saw blood ­ a red pool stretching from the coffee table to the
fireplace. Then she saw her youngest son face down on the floor, an antique
rifle by his side.

She didn’t approach his body, she said: “I didn’t
want to see his face … his expression.”

Four tumultuous years after
serving in the Middle East with the Kentucky Air National Guard, 25-year-old
Bryan Ala of Louisville took his life ­ part of a rising number of military
and veteran suicides as the Iraq war continues and fighting intensifies in
Afghanistan.

“Life goes on after you lose a child,” said Bryan’s father,
Rich, 60. “But sweet is never as sweet as it was. The sun’s never as bright.
I’ve got a hole in my heart that will never heal up.”

The federal
government estimates that 5,000 veterans commit suicide each year, and Dr.
Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, said suicides
among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans could top combat deaths.

He made the
statement last year at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric
Association and cited a study by Rand Corp., a nonprofit research organization,
showing as many as 20 percent of veterans returning from these conflicts will
suffer major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, and seven in 10 won’t
seek help from the departments of Defense or Veterans Affairs.

The toll
is also rising in the active military, with the Army reporting the most
confirmed suicides ­ 140 last year. Locally, Fort Knox reported five
confirmed suicides in 2008 and 2009. Fort Campbell reported 24 suspected or
confirmed suicides in the same period and in late May suspended regular duties
for everyone for three days so commanders could better help soldiers at
risk.

Driving these numbers are pre-existing mental illnesses,
post-traumatic stress disorder and relationship or financial problems worsened
by long or repeated deployments, say mental health experts, who also point to
the stigma against seeking help in a culture known for toughness.

Many
families and veterans organizations argue that more needs to be done to stop the
deaths. And military and Veterans Affairs officials say they are taking the
problem seriously, beefing up mental health resources and suicide prevention
programs.

“We’ve got to hit it head on,” said Maj. Gen. Donald Campbell,
Fort Knox commander.

In July, Fort Knox played host to Maj. Gen. Mark
Graham of Georgia and his wife, Carol, who told a standing-room-only crowd about
the 2003 suicide of their son Kevin, 21.

The ROTC cadet at the University
of Kentucky suffered from depression before his sister found him hanged from a
bedroom ceiling fan. The Grahams, who have made military suicide prevention a
personal cause, shared Kevin’s story before attending a ceremony dedicating a
building to their other son, Jeffrey, who was killed in action in Iraq in
2004.

“We lost two sons,” said Mark Graham, who spoke again on Aug. 21 in
Frankfort. “Both our sons died fighting different
battles.”

History of mental illness

Mental illness also proved
too strong an enemy for Bryan Ala.

Growing up, he was adventurous and
loved caving, rock-climbing, fishing and going to the shooting range with his
father, a Vietnam vet. At 18, Bryan Ala joined the Air National Guard to help
pay for college, later enrolling in the University of Louisville’s nursing
school.

Depression first struck in the summer of 2002, and Ala admitted
himself to Ten Broeck Hospital, now called The Brook. He was prescribed an
anti-depressant, his parents said, and later in the year saw a doctor at Fort
Knox who determined he was fit to stay in the Guard. He was deployed the next
year to the Middle East.

Capt. Stephanie Fields, deputy state surgeon for
the Kentucky National Guard, said soldiers are not deployed if they have been
diagnosed with depression less than three months earlier because the soldier
needs to show stability. But otherwise, she said, decisions are made on a
case-by-case basis, according to Army policy, by a treating physician who
consults with the soldier‘s commander. If they are deemed too ill to deploy, she
said, they may still be able to stay in the Guard. Fields said soldiers have two
mental health evaluations before deployment.

Rich Ala said he worried
that serving abroad might aggravate his son’s depression, but didn’t say
anything because he figured his son was an adult who could take care of himself.

Bryan Ala spent six months as a medic in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab
Emirates and Qatar, where his job was to care for an air crew and help at a
military field hospital. He didn’t talk much with his family about what he saw
during his tour, beyond the different cultures and the harsh conditions of a
desert tent encampment.

Back in the United States, he served another six
months as a medic with a hospital group at the Kentucky Air National Guard base
in Louisville, and his parents said everything seemed fine.

But in 2004,
they began to notice troubling signs. Arylane Ala said her son always wore black
and went on binges with vitamins, nutritional supplements and workouts.
Sometimes he would hide, saying he heard helicopters. And he would get extremely
agitated while driving, occasionally slamming his car into park, and running
away, disappearing for hours or even days.

In June 2005, Ala was
hospitalized at the Louisville VA Medical Center and diagnosed with bipolar
disorder, which the VA later ruled service-connected, which made him eligible
for financial benefits.

He was prescribed lithium, but his parents said
he sometimes skipped his medication. At nursing school, he highlighted passages
about bipolar disorder in his psychiatry textbook, writing “me” in the
margins.

Finally, after a fight with his fiancee that resulted in her
obtaining an emergency protective order against him, Bryan Ala went to his
parents’ home. The Alas said he promised not to do anything rash. But after they
went to work on Aug. 10, 2007, he took a rifle from under his father’s bed and
ended his life.

Combat haunts vet

Psychologist Lanny Berman,
executive director of the American Association of Suicidology in Washington,
D.C., said the military generally does a good job screening out people with
severe mental conditions.

But he said many soldiers suffer pre-existing
depression or develop mental illness during or after service ­ magnifying
everyday stresses and compromising already disrupted relationships.
(4 of 4)

Berman, who serves on a federal task force to prevent military suicides,
said the Iraq and Afghanistan wars pose the particular challenges of long tours
and close-range combat, and many veterans suffer post-traumatic stress
disorder.
Advertisement

Army Sgt. Cecil Harris of Pikeville, Ky., was one of them.
After serving in Iraq in 2003, he was flown to Germany with respiratory
problems, severe headaches and a bacterial illness, said his mother, Sharon
Harris of Louisville.

But long after the physical healing began, she
said, his combat memories haunted him, and he was diagnosed with PTSD at the
Lexington VA hospital.

In May of this year, in the midst of a divorce, he
called his mother in Las Vegas, where she was working as a traveling nurse. He
talked about difficulties with a new medication.

On May 17, Harris, 33,
was found hanged from a beam of an apartment under construction in
Danville.

His mother recalled his last words to her:

“Promise me,
Mom, if something happens to me, that you’ll be my voice to the boys who come
back so they get better medical treatment.”

Care gets beefed up

Military and VA officials said
they are trying to do just that.

Nationally, the VA has suicide
prevention coordinators in each of its hospitals and in 2007 started a suicide
hot line for veterans that has received more than 120,000 calls. The Louisville
VA Medical Center provides mental health care and outpatient group sessions for
once-suicidal veterans.

Joe Verney, suicide prevention program manager at
Fort Campbell, said his was the first Army installation in the continental
United States to create a council of leaders from medicine, religion, behavioral
health and other disciplines, in 2007, and to hire a suicide prevention
coordinator, in 2008.

The base also contracts with 29 behavioral health
professionals available for round-the-clock, anonymous consultations, and trains
soldiers in a suicide-prevention program called “Ask, Care, Escort,” which
stresses accompanying others to help.

Fort Knox officials said they are
taking similar steps, trying to eliminate the stigma against seeking
help.

“Our Army is clearly moving in the right direction,” said Mark
Graham, who used to command Colorado’s Fort Carson. “But it’s not moving fast
enough.”

The changes come too late for the Alas, who argue that mental
health needs to be treated like physical health, with the ill getting intensive
treatment.

Arylane Ala said problems with mental health care in the
military and VA reflect problems in the larger civilian culture. “Mental health
in general … should be more readily available,” she said. “People should be
treated more frequently. Having a (psychologist) to speak with every three
months is not enough when the illness is serious.”

Two years after their
son’s death, she and her husband often visit his ashes at a cemetery near Fort
Knox, placing plastic toy soldiers nearby to symbolize his service.

“You
hope nobody goes through the loss of a child,” said Arylane Ala, her eyes
filling with tears. “Life’s not meant to be that way.”

Reporter Laura
Ungar can be reached at (502) 582-7190.

689 total views, 2 views today

ANTIDEPRESSANT: Suicide: Soldier: Iraq/Virginia

Paragraph 11 reads:  “Starr attempted suicide last
summer. Medication and counseling followed. He returned to work a month later.”

Paragraph 16
reads: “Scott had shot himself hours earlier, at home in Virginia Beach.
He died within a few miles of base – yet word of his death came
to Greene from someone thousands of miles away.”

http://hamptonroads.com/2009/09/walk-brings-light-dark-subject-suicide-military

Walk brings light to dark subject of suicide in the
military

Posted to: Military

The Virginian-Pilot
© September 11, 2009

Jon Greene
knows  he might choke up when he reads aloud a certain name Saturday at
Mount Trashmore.

He lost Scott Alan Starr, a friend and colleague, to
suicide in August 2008. Greene was the commander of the Naval Surface Warfare
Center at Dam Neck; Starr worked closely with him.

Greene and other
volunteers will read the names of more than 100 people who took their own lives
in the past year as part of the Out of the Darkness Community Walk.

The
walk, in its fourth year, brings together scores of people – more than 900 have
registered so far – and is one of the largest of its kind in the United States.
It’s sponsored by the Hampton Roads Survivors of Suicide Support
Group.

Some walk in memory of a friend or loved one. Others come because
they know what it’s like to suffer from depression.

“I can’t save Scott,
but I think there are lots and lots of folks in the military with lots and lots
to offer the world… who don’t realize that depression can be treated,” Greene
said.

Diagnosable depression is a factor in 90 percent of all suicides,
according to Chris Gilchrist, a Chesapeake social worker and one of the event’s
organizers.

Starr was the model Navy chief petty officer, Greene said:
strong, intelligent, well-respected, caring. A father figure to hundreds of
young sailors.

He first worked for Greene as senior enlisted adviser at
the surface warfare center. After retiring in 2007, Starr returned to Dam Neck
as a civilian employee.

“He was very proud,” Greene said. “And very
private.”

Starr attempted suicide last summer. Medication and counseling
followed. He returned to work a month later.

When Greene checked on him,
Starr’s response was always the same: “I’m doing great,” he would
say.

“He was the master chief. He was in charge; he was in control. There
were no cracks in his facade,” Greene said.

Greene set up automatic
reminders on his computer so he wouldn’t forget to check in with Starr. One of
them popped up on Aug. 17. But the day got busy, and Greene didn’t get to
it.

In his office early the next morning, Greene’s phone rang. It was a
friend of Starr’s calling from Iraq.

Scott had shot himself hours
earlier, at home in Virginia Beach. He died within a few miles of base – yet
word of his death came to Greene from someone thousands of miles away.

“I
really didn’t believe it,” Greene said in a recent interview, pausing and
looking up at the ceiling, trying to remember the moment. “It was absolutely
surreal.”

After getting the news, Greene shifted into “commanding officer
mode.” There were arrangements to deal with, colleagues to tell, a memorial
service to plan. The rituals helped. But Greene was unsettled. He couldn’t help
feeling that the military standard of suffering without complaint might have
doomed his friend.

Gilchrist and Greene’s wife, also a social worker,
helped him understand that suicide is a medical matter, not a moral
one.

Gilchrist noted that suicide is a major medical issue – 32,000
people take their own lives annually, she said. It is the 11th leading cause of
the death in the United States.

After years of war, the military has
gotten better at teaching service members about post-traumatic stress disorder
and mental health.

Generals and admirals talk about the spike in suicides
and are trying to address it. Earlier this year, the Army ordered a massive
safety stand-down to reach out to soldiers. The Navy has its own program for
spreading the message that it’s OK to ask for help.

But Greene, who’s now
retired from the Navy, knows that rank-and-file sailors don’t always buy the
message mouthed by military brass at the Pentagon.

“There are a lot of
good things going on in the military. I think there’s a willingness to do
something,” Greene said. “But fundamentally, it comes to the
culture.”

And that culture is action-oriented, goal-driven and full of
people who think “I’ll just power through this. I can hack it,” he
said.

“There are a lot of folks in the military – including some
relatively senior folks – who still see suicide and depression as a shameful
choice. I think there needs to be recognition by a lot of folks, specifically
the leadership, that you can’t hack it. Sometimes you need a little
help.”

Starr expected himself to be perfect. “He felt he had to live at
this ideal, this standard he’d set for himself,” Greene said.

That’s part
of the reason Greene invited Gilchrist to talk about suicide with leaders at the
surface warfare center. And it’s part of the reason he put up a large sign on
base, publicizing Saturday’s walk.

“There are so many people worried
about the damage that will be done to their career if they get help from
military medicine,” Greene said.

He acknowledged that there are
obstacles, but even within the military’s constraints, there are resources, like
special hot lines for service members and their families where they can get
immediate help.

“People in the military are put in extremely stressful
and dangerous positions,” he said. “That’s not going to change, and we don’t
want it to change. It’s the responsibility of leadership to listen and beware
when their sailors are having trouble.”

Kate Wiltrout, (757) 446-2629,

kate.wiltrout@pilotonline.com

595 total views, 3 views today

ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Suicide: 20 Year Old Hangs Self – England

Paragraph 11 reads: “A doctor in Birmingham prescribed
Mr A’Court with anti-depressants on April 27,
which he had been
taking since April. He did not have a history of
mental health problems.”

http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/news/4590785.Flackwell_Heath_student_hanged_himself/

Flackwell Heath student hanged himself

11:13am
Thursday 10th September 2009

#show Comments (0) Have your
say »

By Lawrence Dunhill
»

A POPULAR student from Flackwell Heath hanged himself after the
break-up with his girlfriend left him severely depressed, an inquest heard.

Alexander A’Court killed himself in the garage of his family home The
Beeches, Treadaway Road, on May 25.

Mr A’Court was a pupil at John
Hampden Grammar School
before going to the University of Birmingham to study
Geography.

More than 500 friends have joined a Facebook group dedicated
to him, which says “he was a great friend and will be missed by all.”

The identity of Mr A’Court’s ex-girlfriend was not revealed. The inquest
was shown a “suicide letter” which Mr A’Court had sent to her, but this it was
not read out.

The 20yearold had been unfaithful to the girlfriend, who
ended their relationship on March 15, coroner Richard Hulett told the inquest at
Amersham Law Courts yesterday.

His father Stephen A’Court had to cut his
son down from the roof of the garage. He told the inquest: “Alex was a long way
from his problems in Birmingham, but in this electronic age of Facebook and
mobile phones he was never able to separate himself from those problems.”
Mobile phone records show that Mr A’Court telephoned his ex-girlfriend at
1.03pm. It was estimated that he died soon after this.

The inquest heard
that Mr A’Court had seemed “positive” that morning and was planning a holiday
before sharing some “light-hearted banter” with his brother Sam at around
12.45pm.

Stephen A’Court said he became concerned about his son’s mental
health after the break-up of his relationship and encouraged him to seek medical
help.

A doctor in Birmingham prescribed Mr A’Court with anti-depressants
on April 27, which he had been taking since April. He did not have a history of
mental health problems.

Mr A’Court was referred to a senior professor on
May 14 but was diagnosed as a “low suicide risk”.

Mr Hulett told the
inquest: “The relationship became the be all and end all for Alex. He rapidly
deteriorated into depression and severe mood swings.

“It is dreadful and
tragic that a 20yearold with such obvious prospects has chosen to take his
life quite suddenly.”

He found that Mr A’Court had taken his own life.

Ashleigh Barton from London wrote on the Facebook page: “You were such a
lovely guy and so loved by all. I don’t think it will ever sink in and I’ll
never get my head around why. I just hope you’re happier now than you were when
you were still here.”

Tom Bowers, who also went to John Hampden Grammar,
wrote: “I’ll never forget the way you went out of your way to help me fit in
when I first started at Tesco, it meant so much and always will. You were always
such a laugh and brilliant at putting a smile on anyone’s face.”

472 total views, 1 views today

ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Woman Commits Suicide: Husband Charged: Florida

Paragraph asix reads:  “Deputies say Ragan and his wife
were having marital problems and his wife was on
anti-depressants.
She was pronounced dead at the
hospital.”

http://www.myfoxorlando.com/dpp/news/brevard_news/091409_assisted_suicide_charge

Brevard man charged with assisted suicide

Updated:
Tuesday, 15 Sep 2009, 12:23 AM EDT
Published : Monday, 14 Sep 2009, 5:15 PM
EDT

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) – A Brevard County man has been

charged with assisted suicide after police say he helped his wife kill herself.
Investigators say this is one of the more bizarre cases they’ve ever
seen.

A 4-year-old child was left without his mom after she took her own
life and now he could lose his father too. Kevin Ragan was arrested for helping
his wife commit suicide.

In the frantic 911 call he told a dispatcher his
30-year-old wife was depressed and had been drinking. He says she threatened to
kill herself and admits offering her some loaded guns.

Ragan on 911 Call:
“I was being a smart a** and threw like three guns on the bed. I’m like, then do
it. And, she just picked the 40 caliber hand gun up.”

The rest of the 911
call on that sad day is too graphic to air, a distraught ragan crying and asking
for an ambulance.

Deputies say Ragan and his wife were having marital
problems and his wife was on anti-depressants. She was pronounced dead at the
hospital.

Now more than three months later, after deputies got
confirmation from the medical examiner that the death was in fact a suicide,
they charged Ragan with assisting a suicide. He was arrested and bonded
out.

No one was home on Monday when a FOX 35 crew went to the Ragan home
but neighbors say they are stunned.

FOX 35 checked and found that Ragan
has no criminal history in Brevard
County. 
 

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ANTIDEPRESSANT: MILITARY SUICIDE: IRAQ/KENTUCKY

Paragraph 16 reads:  “Depression first struck in the
summer of 2002, and Ala admitted himself to Ten Broeck Hospital, now called The
Brook. He was prescribed an anti-depressant, his parents
said, and later in the year saw a doctor at Fort Knox who determined he was fit
to stay in the Guard. He was deployed the next year to the Middle
East.”

Paragraphs 20 through 23 read:  “But in 2004, they began to
notice troubling signs. Arylane Ala said her son always wore black and went on
binges with vitamins, nutritional supplements and workouts. Sometimes he
would hide, saying he heard helicopters.
And he would get
extremely agitated while driving, occasionally slamming his car
into park, and running away, disappearing for hours or even
days.

In June 2005, Ala was hospitalized at the Louisville
VA Medical Center and diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which the
VA later ruled service-connected, which made him eligible for financial
benefits.

He was prescribed lithium, but his parents said he sometimes
skipped his medication. At nursing school, he highlighted passages about bipolar
disorder in his psychiatry textbook, writing “me” in the
margins.

Finally, after a fight with his fiancee that resulted in her
obtaining an emergency protective order against him, Bryan Ala went to his
parents’ home. The Alas said he promised not to do anything rash. But after they went to work on Aug. 10, 2007, he took a rifle from
under his father’s bed and ended his life.

SSRI Stories note:

Antidepressants Can Cause Bipolar Disorder to Develop.  This is
stated in many scientific studies.  Bipolar Disorder Can Contribute to
Suicide.

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20090913/NEWS01/909130330

Suicide takes growing toll among military, veterans

By Laura Ungar • lungar@courier-journal.com
September 13, 2009

As soon as Arylane Ala walked into her house that day
in 2007, she saw blood ­ a red pool stretching from the coffee table to the
fireplace. Then she saw her youngest son face down on the floor, an antique
rifle by his side.

She didn’t approach his body, she said: “I didn’t
want to see his face … his expression.”

Four tumultuous years after
serving in the Middle East with the Kentucky Air National Guard, 25-year-old
Bryan Ala of Louisville took his life ­ part of a rising number of military

and veteran suicides as the Iraq war continues and fighting intensifies in
Afghanistan.

“Life goes on after you lose a child,” said Bryan’s father,
Rich, 60. “But sweet is never as sweet as it was. The sun’s never as bright.
I’ve got a hole in my heart that will never heal up.”

The federal
government estimates that 5,000 veterans commit suicide each year, and Dr.
Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, said suicides
among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans could top combat deaths.

He made the
statement last year at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric
Association and cited a study by Rand Corp., a nonprofit research organization,
showing as many as 20 percent of veterans returning from these conflicts will
suffer major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, and seven in 10 won’t
seek help from the departments of Defense or Veterans Affairs.

The toll
is also rising in the active military, with the Army reporting the most
confirmed suicides ­ 140 last year. Locally, Fort Knox reported five
confirmed suicides in 2008 and 2009. Fort Campbell reported 24 suspected or
confirmed suicides in the same period and in late May suspended regular duties
for everyone for three days so commanders could better help soldiers at
risk.

Driving these numbers are pre-existing mental illnesses,
post-traumatic stress disorder and relationship or financial problems worsened
by long or repeated deployments, say mental health experts, who also point to
the stigma against seeking help in a culture known for toughness.

Many
families and veterans organizations argue that more needs to be done to stop the
deaths. And military and Veterans Affairs officials say they are taking the
problem seriously, beefing up mental health resources and suicide prevention
programs.

“We’ve got to hit it head on,” said Maj. Gen. Donald Campbell,
Fort Knox commander.

In July, Fort Knox played host to Maj. Gen. Mark
Graham of Georgia and his wife, Carol, who told a standing-room-only crowd about
the 2003 suicide of their son Kevin, 21.

The ROTC cadet at the University
of Kentucky suffered from depression before his sister found him hanged from a
bedroom ceiling fan. The Grahams, who have made military suicide prevention a
personal cause, shared Kevin’s story before attending a ceremony dedicating a
building to their other son, Jeffrey, who was killed in action in Iraq in
2004.

“We lost two sons,” said Mark Graham, who spoke again on Aug. 21 in
Frankfort. “Both our sons died fighting different battles.”

History of mental illness

Mental illness also proved
too strong an enemy for Bryan Ala.

Growing up, he was adventurous and
loved caving, rock-climbing, fishing and going to the shooting range with his
father, a Vietnam vet. At 18, Bryan Ala joined the Air National Guard to help
pay for college, later enrolling in the University of Louisville’s nursing
school.

Depression first struck in the summer of 2002, and Ala admitted
himself to Ten Broeck Hospital, now called The Brook. He was prescribed an
anti-depressant, his parents said, and later in the year saw a doctor at Fort
Knox who determined he was fit to stay in the Guard. He was deployed the next
year to the Middle East.

Capt. Stephanie Fields, deputy state surgeon for
the Kentucky National Guard, said soldiers are not deployed if they have been
diagnosed with depression less than three months earlier because the soldier
needs to show stability. But otherwise, she said, decisions are made on a
case-by-case basis, according to Army policy, by a treating physician who
consults with the soldier’s commander. If they are deemed too ill to deploy, she
said, they may still be able to stay in the Guard. Fields said soldiers have two
mental health evaluations before deployment.

Rich Ala said he worried
that serving abroad might aggravate his son’s depression, but didn’t say
anything because he figured his son was an adult who could take care of himself.

Bryan Ala spent six months as a medic in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab
Emirates and Qatar, where his job was to care for an air crew and help at a
military field hospital. He didn’t talk much with his family about what he saw
during his tour, beyond the different cultures and the harsh conditions of a
desert tent encampment.

Back in the United States, he served another six
months as a medic with a hospital group at the Kentucky Air National Guard base
in Louisville, and his parents said everything seemed fine.

But in 2004,
they began to notice troubling signs. Arylane Ala said her son always wore black
and went on binges with vitamins, nutritional supplements and workouts.
Sometimes he would hide, saying he heard helicopters. And he would get extremely
agitated while driving, occasionally slamming his car into park, and running
away, disappearing for hours or even days.

In June 2005, Ala was
hospitalized at the Louisville VA Medical Center and diagnosed with bipolar
disorder, which the VA later ruled service-connected, which made him eligible
for financial benefits.

He was prescribed lithium, but his parents said
he sometimes skipped his medication. At nursing school, he highlighted passages
about bipolar disorder in his psychiatry textbook, writing “me” in the
margins.

Finally, after a fight with his fiancee that resulted in her
obtaining an emergency protective order against him, Bryan Ala went to his
parents’ home. The Alas said he promised not to do anything rash. But after they
went to work on Aug. 10, 2007, he took a rifle from under his father’s bed and
ended his life.

Combat haunts vet

Psychologist Lanny Berman,
executive director of the American Association of Suicidology in Washington,
D.C., said the military generally does a good job screening out people with
severe mental conditions.

But he said many soldiers suffer pre-existing
depression or develop mental illness during or after service ­ magnifying
everyday stresses and compromising already disrupted relationships.
(4 of 4)

Berman, who serves on a federal task force to prevent military suicides,
said the Iraq and Afghanistan wars pose the particular challenges of long tours
and close-range combat, and many veterans suffer post-traumatic stress
disorder.
Advertisement

Army Sgt. Cecil Harris of Pikeville, Ky., was one of them.
After serving in Iraq in 2003, he was flown to Germany with respiratory
problems, severe headaches and a bacterial illness, said his mother, Sharon
Harris of Louisville.

But long after the physical healing began, she
said, his combat memories haunted him, and he was diagnosed with PTSD at the
Lexington VA hospital.

In May of this year, in the midst of a divorce, he
called his mother in Las Vegas, where she was working as a traveling nurse. He
talked about difficulties with a new medication.

On May 17, Harris, 33,
was found hanged from a beam of an apartment under construction in
Danville.

His mother recalled his last words to her:

“Promise me,
Mom, if something happens to me, that you’ll be my voice to the boys who come
back so they get better medical treatment.”

Care gets beefed up

Military and VA officials said
they are trying to do just that.

Nationally, the VA has suicide
prevention coordinators in each of its hospitals and in 2007 started a suicide
hot line for veterans that has received more than 120,000 calls. The Louisville
VA Medical Center provides mental health care and outpatient group sessions for
once-suicidal veterans.

Joe Verney, suicide prevention program manager at
Fort Campbell, said his was the first Army installation in the continental
United States to create a council of leaders from medicine, religion, behavioral
health and other disciplines, in 2007, and to hire a suicide prevention
coordinator, in 2008.

The base also contracts with 29 behavioral health
professionals available for round-the-clock, anonymous consultations, and trains
soldiers in a suicide-prevention program called “Ask, Care, Escort,” which
stresses accompanying others to help.

Fort Knox officials said they are
taking similar steps, trying to eliminate the stigma against seeking
help.

“Our Army is clearly moving in the right direction,” said Mark
Graham, who used to command Colorado’s Fort Carson. “But it’s not moving fast
enough.”

The changes come too late for the Alas, who argue that mental
health needs to be treated like physical health, with the ill getting intensive
treatment.

Arylane Ala said problems with mental health care in the

military and VA reflect problems in the larger civilian culture. “Mental health
in general … should be more readily available,” she said. “People should be
treated more frequently. Having a (psychologist) to speak with every three
months is not enough when the illness is serious.”

Two years after their
son’s death, she and her husband often visit his ashes at a cemetery near Fort
Knox, placing plastic toy soldiers nearby to symbolize his service.

“You
hope nobody goes through the loss of a child,” said Arylane Ala, her eyes
filling with tears. “Life’s not meant to be that way.”

Reporter Laura
Ungar can be reached at (502) 582-7190.

835 total views, 5 views today

ANTIDEPRESSANTS: SUICIDE OF POLICE OFFICER: MEDICAL CENTER SUED: NJ

Last two paragraphs read:  “Cillo tried to socialize
normally with his wife and family for the next few days — going dancing and to
a football game — but also sought help through the Cop-to-Cop crisis hotline.
He met with a hotline social worker and his own family physician, who
prescribed sleeping pills and gave him samples of anti-depressant
medications.
Still feeling confused and anxious on Aug.
27,
he went to Morristown Memorial Hospital. One physician gave him
medication to calm him down and an appointment was set for him to see a
psychiatrist in a few days after he denied suicidal thoughts, court records
said.”

“On Aug. 28, the day he died, a hospital social
worker called Cillo at home to check on his welfare and he responded that he was
doing better. His wife brought the children to dental appointments, and upon
returning home, found a suicide note. She called police, who went
to the home and discovered Cillo in the
basement.”

http://www.dailyrecord.com/article/20090911/COMMUNITIES/309110001/1005/NEWS01/Wrongful+death+trial+begins+over+Harding+officer+s+suicide

Wrongful death trial begins over Harding officer‘s suicide

By Peggy Wright • Staff Writer • September 11, 2009

A civil trial
is set to start Monday on a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the widow of a
Harding police officer who hanged himself in 2003, a day after he was screened
at Morristown Memorial Hospital for suicidal ideations but not
admitted.

A jury of four men and four women was selected by Thursday
afternoon to hear the wrongful death//medical malpractice claims, and opening
trial statements are set to begin Monday before Superior Court Judge W. Hunt
Dumont in Morristown. At issue is whether the hospital, through a social worker,
registered nurse and psychiatrist named as defendants, was negligent and
breached a duty of care to Harding Officer James Cillo Jr. on Aug. 27,
2003.

Cillo, the 39-year-old son of retired Mendham Police Chief James
Cillo Sr., hanged himself in the basement of his Washington Township home. He
left his widow, Janet, and three daughters, who then were ages 11, 10 and
5.

A key issue in the case is whether hospital staff and its crisis
intervention workers who saw or evaluated Cillo on Aug. 27, 2003, were told that
he had given all his personal firearms to his father for safekeeping, and
stashed his service weapon at police headquarters. Cillo did not use a gun to
end his life, but attorney Donald Belsole, who is handling the case for the
widow, contends hospital personnel should have scrutinized Cillo more closely
for suicidal symptoms if they knew he willingly gave up his weapons.

The
hospital defendants, represented by attorneys Kenneth Fost and Michael Bubb,
contend their clients did all they could to properly evaluate Cillo, who
ultimately declined when asked whether he wanted to be admitted to Morristown
Memorial. Cillo was accompanied to the hospital by his wife of 15 years and his
father, the retired chief.

The lawsuit traces Cillo’s anxiety and
depressed state of mind back to Aug. 17, 2003, 11 days before his death. Working
a midnight shift, he handled a case of a Harding resident who shot his disabled
horse to try to end its suffering but didn’t kill the creature. Cillo responded
to the scene but failed to immediately seize the resident’s firearm or check
whether it was registered. He was chastised by his police chief for this lapse
and feared he would be fired. He grew anxious and couldn’t concentrate or sleep,
according to court records.

Cillo tried to socialize normally with his
wife and family for the next few days — going dancing and to a football game —
but also sought help through the Cop-to-Cop crisis hotline. He met with a
hotline social worker and his own family physician, who prescribed sleeping
pills and gave him samples of anti-depressant medications. Still feeling
confused and anxious on Aug. 27, he went to Morristown Memorial Hospital. One
physician gave him medication to calm him down and an appointment was set for
him to see a psychiatrist in a few days after he denied suicidal thoughts, court
records said.

On Aug. 28, the day he died, a hospital social worker
called Cillo at home to check on his welfare and he responded that he was doing
better. His wife brought the children to dental appointments, and upon returning
home, found a suicide note. She called police, who went to the home and
discovered Cillo in the basement.

468 total views, no views today

ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Soldier Commits Suicide: Switching from One SSRI to Another

Paragraph nine reads: “Wilson’s wife had left him the previous week, but he was about to start group therapy in Charlotte. He was getting over the physical pain caused by repeated roadside blasts and getting ready to switch from one brand of antidepressants to another.”

http://www.indystar.com/article/20090901/NEWS/909010369/

Day 3: ‘In their minds it’s never gonna go away. The war is still there.’

By Konrad Marshall

Posted: September 1, 2009

The body of Jacob Raymon Blaylock was buried in Houston National Cemetery in a field of patchwork sod, with a pond and fountain nearby.

Blaylock rests in plot S1 151, among his brethren — Armed Forces personnel who died the same day. In the grave to his right is Dennis Dildine, who had a career in the service followed by one as a church pianist, until diabetes claimed him in his sleep at 56. To his left is Louis Macko, a World War II veteran and ham radio operator whose body gave out at 87.

Born on June 13, 1981, Sgt. Jacob Blaylock was 26 years old when he died. Eight months after an explosion on a highway in Iraq killed two of his friends — Sgts. Brandon Wallace and Joshua Schmit — Blaylock took his own life with a pistol.

The young musician and artist was buried one week before Christmas 2007. His best friend, Damon Lyden, Indianapolis, was among the pallbearers — six parcels of muscle and bulk poured into black T-shirts and blue jeans, white orchids pinned to their chests.

The mourners did what they had to. They buried their boy. Then they went to a strip club — friends and family, young and old, men and women — and got drunk together.

“The funeral was a huge party,” Lyden said. “Why? Because Jackie partied, man. We weren’t driving, so why not raise a glass to him and put him in the ground?”

The following day, another member of the 1451st Transportation Company would be put in the ground.

The day after Jacob Blaylock took his own life, Sgt. Jeff Wilson was in Lincolnton, N.C., coming off an overnight double at the BI-LO grocery store.

Wilson’s wife had left him the previous week, but he was about to start group therapy in Charlotte. He was getting over the physical pain caused by repeated roadside blasts and getting ready to switch from one brand of antidepressants to another.

He spent the day reorganizing his home, painting his bathroom, shifting furniture. His mother, Elaine Hefner, helped. She didn’t know her son had secretly swallowed a consequential amount of antidepressants, not until he slipped into a violent seizure.

When Wilson came out of it, he was combative with paramedics. He had another seizure on the way to the hospital. He regained consciousness but was angry and had to be talked down by police. He had additional episodes throughout the night but eventually slept.

His family visited the next morning, having worried about him all night.

Wilson, 31, had joined the National Guard as a senior in high school, served three tours in Iraq and came home to coach Little League and volunteer for the Special Olympics. But relatives had seen how his time with the 1451st had changed him, how he, too, cried over Wallace and Schmit, how he, too, believed their deaths were somehow his fault.

Wilson was nearby when they died. Part of a convoy coming from the opposite direction, he tried to warn them they were headed for a firefight. He didn’t realize they were headed for a bomb buried in the roadway.

“He never talked about Iraq until the end,” Hefner said. “But it was building up on him.”

As family members scrubbed their hands near noon at the hospital, Wilson went into cardiac arrest. The trauma damaged his kidneys. He had dialysis three times that week and was put on a respirator.

“He was on life support until Sunday,” Hefner said. “He died at 4:45 that afternoon.”

Sgt. Jeff Wilson was buried in Roseland Baptist Church Cemetery in North Carolina, where his grandparents rest.

First Sgt. Roger Parker, his former commander, was there for the funeral and the wake. Parker, 41, was a platoon leader with the 1451st in Iraq and worked in the tactical operations center.

“He knew every one of his soldiers by name — if they were married, if they had kids,” said his father, Lawrence Parker, 70. “Every time he found out something about someone, he put it in his computer and kept it there.”

He felt proud of their successes and responsible for their failures. So when Wilson died, Parker, who also lived in North Carolina, came to pay his respects. He brought a bracelet that commemorated Wallace and Schmit, and put it on Wilson’s wrist before the casket was closed.

Parker concealed it well, but he was dealing with the same problems that Wilson and Blaylock had faced: physical pain, psychological troubles and problems in his relationship. Once a month, he made the hourlong drive from Tryon to Asheville to pick up a prescription of lithium and attend counseling sessions at the VA.

Then one summer evening in July 2008, Parker called his dad to talk about a new lawnmower. The father and son had spent the day at the beach together, but after a day in the sand and surf, Parker now sounded distant.

He didn’t tell his father he loved him, which he always did. And he didn’t tell him things had turned rotten, which they had. At 3:15 in the morning, the elder Parker heard the doorbell ringing and answered in his shorts.

“It was the police,” he said. “They got inside and said the words that changed my life: ‘Roger Parker hung himself.’ ”

Parker was the third member of the unit to take his own life since returning from Iraq.

For the 1451st Transportation Company, suicide had become the leading cause of death.

A ceremony was planned to bring together those suffering, for a time of peace and mourning. Members of the 1451st realized what was happening, and they intended to pause and reflect.

But in September 2008 — just two months after Parker hanged himself — that optimistic calm was shattered.

The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office received a dropped 911 call from Fox Winkler Road in Lenoir, N.C. — the home of Larry Wayne Brucke Jr., who had changed his name to Skip Brinkley after he returned from Iraq.

Brucke, 32, was a police officer before joining the National Guard and serving with the 1451st in Iraq. He was now busy setting up a place for himself, his fiancee and her three kids on 37 idyllic acres.

When Deputy Adam Klutz arrived, he discovered a distressed fiancee who said Brucke had headed into the surrounding pasture and woods, possibly armed. The 25-year-old deputy began to search the area.

As backup arrived, Brucke shot Klutz in the head.

A second officer, Lt. Christopher Martin, arrived and was shot three times in the chest with the same .223-caliber rifle. Klutz died, and Martin lived — saved by his vest.

Brucke wasn’t especially close to Wallace or Schmit — or to Blaylock, Wilson and Parker, for that matter — but Iraq took a toll on the unit as a whole, said Lyden, no matter who your friends were.

“People changed over there,” he said. “I mean, Brucke killed a cop. Hell, Brucke was a cop.”

Brucke vanished, and warrants were issued for murder and attempted murder. A statewide search began, involving the FBI and U.S. marshals, and a $20,000 reward was offered for information leading to the capture of a 5-foot-8, blond-haired, green-eyed, goateed veteran, last seen in a gray Carhartt T-shirt and Farm Bureau hat. An FBI alert said the fugitive was a man who liked training mules and horses, was a proficient heavy machine operator, and was perhaps unstable and taking Zoloft.

One week later, as the funeral for the slain police officer began, other local law enforcement officers stood in a remote, wooded area a few hundred yards from Brucke’s residence.

Before them lay an M4 assault rifle with scope, two pistols and a cache of ammunition. There, also, was the body of Larry Wayne Brucke Jr.

He was seated in a ravine, with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

One month later, in October 2008, Rick Blaylock, Heidi Plumley and Damon Lyden gathered with 150 mourners in the high country of North Carolina, in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in front of the National Guard Armory in the town of Boone, named for Daniel Boone.

The three of them — the father, the fiancee and the friend — were there to pay tribute to Blaylock, Wilson, Parker, Brucke, Wallace and Schmit.

They listened to the opening prayer, “The Star Spangled Banner” by loudspeaker and a live rendition of “God Bless the USA.” The ceremony was held in the newly minted memorial garden of the 1451st — the first thing you see when you approach the armory. The flower beds, filled with petals of red, white and blue, are bordered by four Bradford pear trees and six marble benches. A 5-ton boulder serves as a memorial to soldiers everywhere who have given their lives for freedom.

Blaylock, Plumley and Lyden stared at a statue and a walkway covered by two white sheets. Removed, they revealed a bronze battlefield cross, plaques for Wallace and Schmit, and commemorative bricks in honor of Blaylock, Wilson, Parker and Brucke.

People wept and hugged. Heads fell onto shoulders. Arms reached around backs. Hands were wrung in front of chests. The event did not involve the state or the wider public. The 1451st wanted it as personal as possible, for the soldiers and their families.

Rick Blaylock said he was touched “beyond words” by the event. Heidi Plumley, Jacob Blaylock’s fiancee, found it tough to stay strong. But for Lyden, the ceremony was merely a continuation of a sad fellowship, observed this time over too many drinks back at the hotel.

“We had our memorials in Iraq. We went and saw the families after we got back. We went to Houston and buried Jackie,” he said. “I don’t put much stock in a brick with a name on it. The guy’s still dead.”

But for others, it was an opportunity for the unit to close the matter. Almost one year later, no one else from the 1451st Transportation Company has died.

Lyden still lives in Indianapolis. He works for Artistic Skin Designs in Noblesville, and if you ask him what he thinks of the Army, he points to a tattoo on his right hand — his saluting hand — that reads “F.T.A.” He likes to remember Blaylock as his little buddy, a happy but fragile kid, everyone’s baby brother.

Plumley still lives in Houston. She used to wake up to the sound of the gunshot that ended Blaylock’s life. Now she dreams about the two of them sitting on a porch — him scuffing up the white nose of her Chuck Taylors, because Chucks weren’t cool unless the front was dirty.

Rick and Jacqueline Blaylock remain in Lowell. On a cold day in March, they sat stiffly on a loveseat in their attic, huddled on a John Deere fleece. Rick sparked a Newport. Jacqueline took a sip from a can of Busch Light.

She said she likes to play the happy songs her son wrote. She said she remembers the way he would embarrass her by putting on a British accent when they went shopping together. And she said she worries about other mothers, because of their sons.

“In their minds, it’s never gonna go away. The war is still there,” she said, tapping her head. “No doctor can read what they’re going through. They carry it home. All of it.”

Rick said he likes to hold the objects his son left behind: an old guitar, a new watch, the bandanna and goggles he wore on missions, the video camera he strapped to his M-16.

And he likes to look at two paintings Blaylock put on canvas when he was 17, a decade before he died. The first shows a calm ocean, a lighthouse, cliffs and a golden sunrise. It makes Rick smile.

But when he looks at the second one, he wonders whether his son somehow saw all the pain coming, for himself and for the men of the 1451st.

The painting hangs above a narrow carpeted staircase. It is all darkness — swells of water rising and falling, stormy skies above and a little rowboat with three figures inside: two gray phantoms and an infantryman in green.

“Jacob painted that for me, before he even went into the Army,” said Rick, shaking his head. “See? Two soldiers — ghosts — and one still alive, paddling by himself.”

534 total views, 1 views today