Hannah Green’s Death – Family And Friends Struggle

by Dr. Karen Ruskin on January 19, 2018

On 1/17/18 HLN’s Crime and Justice with host Ashleigh Banfield called upon my expertise as a mental health professional, along with attorney Joey Jackson to discuss the tragedy of a teenage girl: Hannah Green. Specifically her death has been stated is a suicide, family and friends are struggling to believe. 

One question asked during my appearance on this program included, the notion: If Hannah Green committed suicide, why did she shoot herself in the stomach? Though only Hannah would know the answer to this, we as humans tend to try to make sense of what seems to not make sense in times of tragedy. Thus, during my interview on HLN I shared through a psychotherapeutic lens one possible theory to explore the question.

Mind-Body Connection: The mind and the body are interconnected. Therefore, it is common to experience physical pain in our body when we are hurting emotionally. In my work counseling teenagers they often report stomach ailments in connection with emotional hurt/emotional pain, especially relationship based.  Alternatively, headaches is a common place where emotional stress response plays out physically.  Therefore, one can analyze and theorize that perhaps the chosen location to inflict the gun shot was the very place desired to end the emotional pain. Of course we cannot know for sure, as I have never met with Hannah specifically.

An additional topic I addressed while appearing on host Ashleigh Banfield’s television program is the very fact that family and friends deny the current experts statement of ruling Hannah’s death a suicide. Why?

Denial: Denial is the first step during a painful journey post a traumatic loss. It is extremely difficult when someone a person loves and cares about would end their life. The inner emotional world of a teenager although one presents with smiles, is not always how that person is feeling internally.

Grieving next step: Whatever the outcome is: homicide or suicide, each will be traumatic for family and friends, though in quite a different way. Homicide tends to bring out feelings of anger. Whereas suicide tends to bring out feelings of sadness and guilt. As I shared on air, and thus shall share here with my readers; the medical facts are always important to be communicated to the family of someone who is deceased, as it is an important piece to help loved one’s come to terms with the facts. Which is one next step to help them on their grieving journey.

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