Mark Madoff’s Suicide – Is Suicide Preventable?

by Dr. Karen Ruskin on December 13, 2010

With Mark Madoff in the news for his suicide, it is a reminder that there are people among us that may be here today, and then gone tomorrow. Is suicide preventable?

What a scary thought that someone you love, your spouse, your child, your parent, may be thinking about killing himself and may actually do so.  Did you know that statistics have shown that 1 person takes their own life every 18 minutes? There has been a steady increase in the numbers of men who commit suicide in the USA. Suicide is the 8th leading cause of death for all U.S. men, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

Those that commit suicide are in so much pain and typically it is their perception that their future is hopeless. It may sound unfeeling to state that suicide is a selfish act, and yet it is this therapist’s perspective that it is. Allow me to explain in brief. Those that feel suicidal typically report that suicide is the only way to end their pain, that’s right – you are ending YOUR pain. What about the pain that you inflict on those that love you for the rest of their lives due to your choosing to use your ‘get out of jail free card’? When you commit suicide you leave your family and those that love you and need you in pain forever, truly forever! You leave your family to clean up the mess while you are gone. Also, generations are impacted by the decision of one person’s suicide. Yes, the next generation of your family line and the next, and perhaps even the next are significantly affected by your choice. These are but a few of the reasons why I use the term ‘selfish’.

Stating that suicide is a selfish choice does not infer that the person is not in pain, this therapist strongly believes that the person is in a lot of pain, and that is an understatement. Stating that suicide is a selfish act does not infer a lack of recognition that the person feeling suicidal is feeling overwhelmed, helpless and feeling out of options. This therapist and all therapists that understand this important topic understand this completely, yes, it is the person with suicidal thoughts that does experience many of these feelings mentioned. You should expect from you therapist empathy and genuine compassion. I also suggest you should expect from your therapist the perspective that suicide is not acceptable, that it is not an ok option. It is an unacceptable life choice to kill yourself when there are those in your life that you will destroy with this action. Rather, confronting one’s pain, talking about one’s pain, and seeking out help, that is the hope for the person that is experiencing suicidal feelings.

Know this, there is help out there and this therapist strongly believes in giving yourself the gift of help. Therapy truly has the potential to help the person that is having suicidal thoughts to help himself get to a better emotional place.

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