A patient posed the following question to me in a moment of distress, asking "What is there to live for?" I know that the patient asked because of the patient's life circumstances, so I paused for a good moment, seriously thinking about the question and its implications. Obviously, I followed my lengthy pause with a response of, "I'm sorry, I was lost in thought over the many possibilities and probabilities to live for." What is there to live for? I know what I live for,
What kind of training is given to the average suicide hotline counselor? I'll be the first to admit, I don't know. But I am almost convinced that an important piece of training that is essential is learning to express empathy and compassion accurately. There is a second important piece, and it is almost comically obvious, is an adequate command of the dominant language. Let's see how the presence of one word, expressed with different tone, can be the difference between life
The weather at the beach turned out to be beautiful. This was a month ago, and the beach was partially filled with people because of a brief thunderstorm that happened an hour earlier, but leaving the sky clear and the heat tempered. I was with my wife and another couple, who was in town visiting their family and we were able to meet up at the Island. The couple was with their four year old child who is, as a social scientist would categorize as of mixed race, but as my wi
As with the vast majority of suicides that become known to us, in the days after the initial news was broadcast, the preventable tragedy of someone's suicide begins to drift away, that is, until the next suicide occurs. News reports tell the tale of mental illness - a scourge that tempers one's will to live - and then all of sudden, later in the investigation, the use of medications in managing the mental illness is discovered. The tale, however, never tells the tale from a
The summer. The subject of such great songs as "Summer" by Calvin Harris, or "Summer of 69'" by Bryan Adams and, of course, "Summertime" by DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Price, but also a time for teachers to recoup from the stress of the school year. Three months do not seem enough time to recharge their emotional battery for the coming year, but more often than not, it does the trick. It is more, though, than just one's emotional battery that is important to re-calibrate.