DEPRESSION MED: Suicide Attempt: Story on The Gap: Australia

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’.’’

http://www.smh.com.au/national/an-angel-walking-among-us-at-the-gap-20090731-e4f2.html

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.

331 total views, no views today

ANTIDEPRESSANT & ALCOHOL: In Pink Pajamas Woman Slashes Neighbor’s Tires: UK

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’.”

http://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/Easington-tyreslasher-wore-pink-pyjamas.5509772.jp

Easington tyre-slasher wore pink pyjamas
Published Date:
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

444 total views, no views today

ANTIDEPESSANTS: Death: 21 Year Old: Florida

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.”

http://www.tampabay.com/news/obituaries/article1023489.ece

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 ameacham@sptimes.com.

.Biography

Matthew

David Mott

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]

366 total views, no views today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

501 total views, no views today

DEPRESSION MED: Suicide: 14 year old girl: Ohio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

lmartz@nncogannett.com

419-521-7729

439 total views, no views today

ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Mother Kills Daughter’s Rapist: Spain

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

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

Thu, 30 July 16:33 2009

Jail for mum who killed her daughter’s rapist

BENEJUZAR

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

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

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

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

366 total views, 1 views today

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

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

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

Injured officers face lengthy recovery

Coroner: Shooter was prescribed antidepressants

Print this story Post a Comment ShareThis

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

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

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

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

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

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

He said both men will need extensive rehab.

­­­

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

435 total views, no views today

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

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

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

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

Letter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

647 total views, 1 views today

ANTIDEPRESSANT WITHDRAWAL: Suicide: Recent Withdrawal: Michigan

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

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

Relatives remember Oceana man as generous person

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

Roger Fessenden

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

662 total views, no views today

DEPRESSION MED: 15 Year Old Hangs Himself: Illinois

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHICAGO – The bullying seemed inescapable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

505 total views, no views today