Friday 31 October 2014

Letters: It's time to end the cycle of suicide being 'normal'

Published 30/06/2014 | 02:30

Suicide should not be the ‘norm’. Picture posed. Thinkstock Images
Suicide should not be the ‘norm’. Picture posed. Thinkstock Images

* I am writing this letter to you with a heavy heart. Picture 507 young adults in a room. All fighting fit, with so much to live for. Now imagine something coming along, opening the door to that room, and killing all 507 of those people. Imagine the families of these people, thousands of mourners, funeral after funeral.

Ordinarily this would make the news headlines, be in every paper and on every news channel across the country and world, but it's not. It's not talked about, and is swept under the carpet, as if it never happened.

This is exactly what is happening in this country every day with the suicide of our young people. This weekend, I learnt again of yet another young man, a mere 22 years old, in our local community who took his own life. Why?

This is a subject that I feel very passionate about. In the past I suffered from the debilitating disease of depression. I struggled each day with the haunting feeling of hating myself, the feeling that the world would be a better place without me.

I had many attempts on my life, which earned me a stay in a mental hospital for eight weeks. Here we were locked up, fed tablets; saw a doctor once a week, only for them to give more medication. There was no help.

But I was one of the lucky ones. I eventually found a doctor who was willing to see me, free of charge, because he believed in me.

Years later and I have finally got my life back. I have a whole new appreciation for life, and all because somebody listened to me.

Why do we as a society simply sit back and accept that suicide is now "the norm"?

Where is our Government, the elected leaders? I challenge them to explain to those who have lost their loved ones why they will not help. Why they are closing mental health hospitals. Why there is insufficient after-care facilities available.

Isn't it time now to call upon our Government to step up? To educate our children on the importance of talking. If we educate our young children that "the norm" is talking through our problems, we may break the vicious cycle of "the norm" being suicide.

NAME AND ADDRESS WITH EDITOR

FORGOTTEN STORIES OF WWI

* This month sees the 100th-year commemorations of the start of World War I. We know of its major battles, but less of the hardships on civilians.

American Herbert Hoover was a businessman and a natural administrator, and at the start of the war he lived in London.

He was asked to evacuate 120,000 American civilians from Europe, which he duly did. He then led the Commission for Relief in Belgium to provide food to the eight million people who were in danger of dying from starvation. Their factories had closed, farms were ruined and most of the food stores taken by the German army.

In response to this monumental challenge, Herbert Hoover distributed $1.8m worth of food weekly for two-and-a-half years with the help of the New York office of the Commission.

He saved millions of lives, but not without reported human flaws. He rarely visited a food station and there were allegations of profiteering.

Whether true or not, he saved millions of people and helped them survive, and for this he was known as 'the Great Humanitarian'.

It was the biggest relief effort the world had seen. He negotiated with the German authorities to allow the distribution of food in Belgium.

There was Myron T Herrick, an American ambassador to France during his first term to 1914, and during the war he helped the French people.

He was awarded the French Legion of Honour and was the first American ambassador to have a Paris street named after him.

When the US entered WWI in 1917, President Woodrow Wilson requested Hoover to head the US Food Administration to ready the country for war-time food production. Their slogan was 'Food will win the war'.

At war's end, he headed the American Relief Administration, which saved millions more lives in Europe, including Germany. They set up 35,000 food stations in Germany, which provided 300 million meals.

He certainly was effective and founded the Hoover War Collection library in 1919 on his immense food aid effort in WWI.

This is now known as the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, USA, and also has archives from WWII and other wars.

It should not surprise that he was elected 31st President of the United States in 1929. He came from a family of devout Quakers.

MARY SULLIVAN

COLLEGE ROAD, CORK

PRIDE PARADES

* Now that gay is the new straight, when can we expect, nay, demand, hetero pride parades through the streets of Dublin?

ROBERT SULLIVAN

BANTRY, CO CORK

A PRICELESS CHANGE

* The cost of replacing Marian Finucane with a Mensa comedian?

Priceless.

LIAM POWER

BALLINA, CO MAYO

RELIGION AND RESPECTABILITY

* Jim Cosgrove (Letters, June 27) has demanded to know how I arrived at the term 'schizophrenic' to describe the response to the Tuam babies story.

In a nutshell, while there remains considerable antipathy towards single mothers in today's society, it is schizophrenic to castigate past generations for similar attitudes, albeit for different reasons.

That today's society seems unaware of the irony of its position lends itself to the label 'schizophrenic'.

He asks: "No doubt the nuns, priests, bishops ... . were fully immersed in and dedicated to Victorian bourgeois values?" Yes, that is exactly what I was saying. Nuns, priests, bishops, and the rest of society as well.

Mr Cosgrove then goes on to ask " ... but from where did the obsessive oppression relating to sexuality, reproduction and equal rights for women emanate?"

From Victorian middle-class bourgeois attitudes, Mr Cosgrove, out of which a particular form of society emerged to which other areas of human activity (such as religion) were subsumed.

Perhaps Mr Cosgrove is unaware that Ireland was once a colony of the UK and heavily influenced by Victorian social engineering programs of the 18th and 19th Centuries, though I thought I had made this point clear previously also.

We are still living in such a paradigm, though 'religion' has been largely dropped in favour of more secular explanations of 'respectability'.

NICK FOLLEY

CARRIGALINE, CORK

UNBELIEVABLE PROFITS AT VHI

* The recent media reports of the huge profits of €65m at VHI is quite unbelievable. This profit is despite the thousands who were forced to cancel their insurance premiums this year because of the unending increases imposed on them, year in, year out.

I had to cancel my insurance this same year as the huge profits, having been a member for over 30 years without any cost to VHI regarding a claim.

Part of the increase in profits is reported to have come from a closer examination by VHI of the costs of the claims from the hospitals, consultants, etc, in regard to possible overcharging. Does this mean we as customers have been paying these additional costs for years?

JOE BREEN

RAHENY, DUBLIN

Irish Independent

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