ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Suicide Numbers Are Soaring! Suicide: Georgia

Paragraph eight reads: “Billy saw a psychologist. He was taking
prescription antidepressants and attended meetings of a support group. In the end,
it wasn’t enough and Billy took his life.”

http://www.times-herald.com/local/Coweta-suicide-numbers-soaring-1100324

Published Saturday, April 24, 2010 in Local

Coweta suicide numbers soaring
By Alex McRae

The Times-Herald

Suicides are rarely reported in the news. But a local couple says if they
were, headlines would have been far too frequent in recent months.

Husband and wife Lynn and Nancy Bradley founded the Coweta chapter of the
Survivors of Suicide group in 1997. For 13 years they have helped countless
people deal with the personal anguish and pain that follows the loss of a
loved one to suicide.

The Bradleys say that federal Centers for Disease Control figures show
that for years Coweta has averaged about 11 suicide deaths annually. But
according to anecdotal reports from friends and associates in the health care
and law enforcement communities, the Bradleys believe that number has
skyrocketed in recent months. They have been told there have been 15 suicides in
Coweta since Jan. 1, and that almost a dozen suicides occurred in November
and December 2009.

“The poor economy has certainly led to a lot of anxiety and depression,”
Lynn Bradley says. “But there are other factors involved, too. No one really
knows why suicides seem to be increasing right now, and we don’t have the
answer. We just want people to know that if you are a friend or loved one
of someone who has committed suicide, there is help out there to deal with
your grief.”

The Bradleys became involved with the SOS support group not long after the
suicide death of Nancy’s brother, Billy, in December 1996.

Billy had been struggling and the family knew he was depressed and
troubled.

“He mentioned suicide once,” Nancy says. “But we didn’t know what to do
and it looked like he was dealing with things, like he was taking the right
steps.”

Billy saw a psychologist. He was taking prescription antidepressants and
attended meetings of a support group. In the end, it wasn’t enough and Billy
took his life.

As is often the case, family members blamed themselves. Nancy took it
hardest.

“He was my baby brother and the youngest of eight kids,” Nancy says. “I
felt like it had always been my duty to take care of him. I felt like I had
failed.”

As they started to deal with their grief, the Bradleys sought assistance
and found Survivors of Suicide. The closest group was in Henry County, and
Nancy and Lynn attended their first meeting in February 1997.

Everyone in attendance had a different story. But they all had the same
question:

Why?

“That’s what everyone wants to know,” Nancy says. “Sadly, it’s a question
that usually doesn’t get answered.”

After attending several meetings in Henry County, Nancy and Lynn felt a
glimmer of hope.

“The more we got involved the better things got,” Nancy says. “Hearing the
others talk I realized I could get through it, but I realized you can’t do
it alone.”

The Bradleys also felt there was a similar need in Coweta County and
talked of forming a local SOS group. At the same time, a friend of the Bradleys
who had lost his wife to suicide was looking for help. Out of the blue, the
friend contacted the Bradleys and they talked.

In August 1997, the Coweta chapter of Survivors of Suicide had its first
meeting.

“I felt like something good had to come out of my brother’s death,” Nancy
says. “And I thought this might be it.”

The Coweta SOS group only works with survivors of suicide, but the local
meetings have also been attended by people who have attempted suicide and
failed. The Bradleys say coming to a meeting often gives them a new
perspective on the consequences of their actions.

“When they see the impact of a suicide on the surviving family members, it
really changes their attitude,” Nancy says. “People don’t realize how
devastating a suicide is for those left behind.”

Meetings of the local SOS group are held the second Monday of each month
from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Crossroads Church main building at 2564 Highway 154.
Those interested in more information about meetings may call the church
office at 770-254-0291. The local SOS group operates under the auspices of
Crossroads Church’s care and counseling ministry, led by Dr. John Hobbs.

Those who attend may talk or listen.

“We see lots of tears and some anger and some guilt,” Nancy says. “But
some people just want to sit quietly and listen. That’s fine, too.”

The Bradleys have heard tales of tragedy ranging from the suicide death of
an 11-year-old child to the story of a woman whose husband and two sons
all committed suicide within 18 months of each other.

“All the stories are heartbreaking,” Nancy says. “We are there to offer
hope and I think people who attend the meetings realize that.”

Lynn says the key is finding help early.

“If we can get to people early they can share their feelings in a safe,
supportive atmosphere,” he says.

The Bradleys say common themes about the causes of suicide emerge at each
meeting.

“There is usually a loss of self worth,” Lynn says. “People who lose their
jobs lose their self-esteem. We are also hearing about more and more
people who are depressed because of medical issues.”

Lynn Bradley says potential suicide victims have three things in common:
Feelings of helplessness, feelings of hopelessness and feelings of
haplessnes.

“They know something is wrong,” he says. “They just don’t know what to do
or where to go. We can help.”

Lynn and Nancy Bradley are qualified lay counselors and have undergone
training at the Link Counseling Center, but they are not professional
psychologists and are quick to point those in need to skilled professionals.

“If someone needs professional help, we make sure to help them contact the
right person,” Nancy says.

The SOS group deals with survivors of suicide, but sometimes receives
calls from people who are troubled and may be contemplating suicide. They are
often referred to the Suicide Prevention Action Network of Georgia (SPAN),
which can be contacted at www.span-ga.org

Lynn and Nancy Bradley are available day and night for anyone seeking help
and can be reached at 770-251-6216. They encourage anyone coping with a
suicide to contact them.

“Some are just scared to admit they have a problem,” Nancy says. “We try
and show them that getting help is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of
intelligence.”

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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

596 total views, 1 views today

DEPRESSION MED: ANOTHER MILITARY SUICIDE!!: 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-suicidemilitary

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

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

476 total views, 2 views today

Prozac Killed My Son

“I want to join others who are trying to remove Prozac from the hands of doctors who hand these pills out like ‘candy to kids’.”

 

I am in the seventh month of mourning the loss of my 14 year old son. During those months I have been reading everything I can find on suicide, survivors of suicide, etc., trying to make sense of my son’s death.

He was a good boy, an honor student, attending the Accelerated Learning Lab (for the gifted & talented), at Lakeridge Jr. High. He was maturing rapidly, and for reasons unknown to us, was showing signs of depression. Because I had read so many things about depression having a “genetic link”, and as my husband has suffered severe periods of depression all his life, I wanted to help my son from falling into the life long pattern of depressed episodes that my husband still struggles with. We took him to our family doctor and was promptly prescribed Prozac.

As I look back on everything that has transpired from that time until his death, I now understand that the changes in his behavior were a direct result of the drug. I want to join others who are trying to remove Prozac from the hands of doctors who hand these pills out like “candy to kids”. As a result of my searching for answers, I was led to the book “Prozac Backlash”. What an eye opener! If my doctor had known of the serious side effects that could occur, I’m sure he wouldn’t have prescribed it. If I had known, there is no way that I would have even contemplated giving it to my son. His depression was certainly a concern, but he wasn’t suicidal. I know that I’ll never be able to “prove” that Prozac killed my son, but I believe this with every fibre of my being.

Then I was led to Edward Havass, an attorney in SLC. I was told that he had been investigating Prozac related suicides. He consulted with an attorney in Houston about my son’s case. I received a letter this week informing me that my son’s suicide wasn’t consistent with other cases they were investigating because he committed suicide after having been on the drug for a couple of years, rather than within the first few weeks. He also said that it was unusual that my son took his life after stopping the Prozac. Mr. Havas also told me that a history of depression in the family also clouded the issue.

From what I have read, the effects of Prozac can stay in your system, sometimes months after having stopped the drug. I have also read that their is no scientific evidence to genetically link depression in family members. From my personal research I have found that even the experts don’t exactly know what is a “normal” serotonin level. How can they, in good conscience, prescribe a drug to correct a serotonin imbalance, when they don’t even know if there is a serotonin imbalance? From what I’ve read, there is no “consistent” pattern. And finally, who is to know when my son first started thinking suicidal thoughts? He felt uncomfortable taking the drug; he didn’t want anyone to know he “had” to take them. I tried telling him that it was no different than a diabetic taking insulin. If he had a serotonin imbalance, it was no different than a diabetic who had a different kind of imbalance. I told him these things because that is what our doctor had told us.

A couple of times I discovered that he hadn’t been taking his pills consistently, and asked him if he would need my help to remember to take them. On one occasion, he said sometimes he just simply forgot, but on another occasion he said he just wanted to handle his “own problems”. He wanted to be a man, and not have to depend on “some stupid drug”. I consulted with my doctor about this internal struggle he was having, and my doctor told me that Prozac was a long acting drug. It stayed in the system for awhile, but that my son should try to be more consistent.

We dealt with three separate incidences involving my son that were completely out of character for him. I am not going to detail them here, but suffice it to say, all three were extremely upsetting events, and with each occurrence, I remember thinking “Is Prozac playing a part in this?” And then I’d remind myself that our doctor had expressed his complete confidence in the safety of this drug, and eventually I brushed it off on the “teenage hormonal imbalances”, and wondered to myself if gifted kids like him just saw things and handled things in ways different than average kids.

After two years on the drug, (He was first prescribed Prozac a few months after his 12th birthday), he made a self determination to wean himself off of the drug. I hadn’t known about this decision until one day I was thinking that it had been awhile since I had filled his prescription, and when I examined the date on the pill bottle, I found that his prescription should have been refilled a couple of weeks before, but the bottle was still about half full. I talked with him about my discovery, and that’s when he confessed that he was trying to “go off of them by himself”. I had heard a few controversial things about Prozac, but I didn’t know that there might be withdrawal problems with them. Still, I quietly observed him, and he seemed to be doing really well.

His best friend had come to stay with us for the summer break between my son’s eighth and ninth grade, and my son was happier than I had seen him in a long time. They were planning all kinds of things together – biking the trail that led from the lake to Bridal Veil Falls, trips to the mall, 4-Wheeling with dad, hours and hours of Nintendo and Sega game competitions – maybe even joining up for summer football together. The night before he died, they were up in his room playing something on his Sega set, laughing and whooping it up. I remember my daughter pounding on the bedroom wall and yelling at them to “shut up because she was trying to sleep”. I thought about putting an end to their self made entertainment myself, but then thought, “Oh let them be boys… it’s only for the summer”, and besides, my son was a good kid. He didn’t ask for much. The next morning he got up, removed a small handgun from my husband’s safe, walked out into the orchard, and shot himself in the head. It had been roughly two or three weeks since he had taken his last pill. His best friend was devastated. Our hearts have been ripped open. I don’t know if we’ll ever feel normal again.

I am looking for others who may know of suicides that occurred within weeks or months of “quitting” the drug. I realize that Prozac has helped many people. I have a couple of close friends that claim that Prozac really helped with their depression. Well tampons are great too, but even tampons have caused toxic shock syndrome in a few people. But the manufacturers of tampons didn’t try to hide that fact. There are warnings on every box of tampons. Or what about the small percentage of people who have severe reactions to nuts? Food products have to be very specific about the ingredients contained in their products for the protection of those few who might have an adverse reaction. Why did Eli Lilly refuse to put warnings on the drug insert labels? They have known all along about the reports of increased agitation and suicidal thoughts that were produced in some of their test studies.

My plea is for Eli Lilly to be responsible. My hope is that these drugs will only be dispensed under the careful supervision of a highly trained professional who understands all the risks! If it causes Eli Lilly’s profits to drop in half, so be it. My hope is that no family will have to go through the pain that we are day by day enduring. The only thing that sustains me is my belief in a just God. If justice is not meted out here, it certainly will be in the life to come. If there is anyone out there willing to help me in my desire to bring suit against Eli Lilly, please contact me as soon as possible. I want Eli Lilly to handle this drug responsibly or NOT AT ALL! I have read how this drug king has been shutting people up with money. Money will not shut me up! Money will not bring my baby back!

My name is Dawn Rider. You can e-mail me at drider@kotm.org. Or call me at (801) 221-9930 ext. 112 or ext. 138. I can also be reached at (801) 225-7459.

P.S. If you read my story, please share it with others.

Dawn Rider
drider@kotm.org
(801) 221-9930 ext. 112

 

2/16/2001

This is Survivor Story number 12.
Total number of stories in current database is 34

424 total views, 1 views today