With depression, be aware of medication
We lost our 22-year-old son, Brad, to suicide in 1985. Several of us “suicide survivors” founded a suicide education group in 1986. We learned that we were totally ignorant about untreated depression and suicide.
First, suicide is not caused by events in life. If it were, very few of us would be left standing.
Second, depression and other mental illnesses are medical diseases, best treated by antidepressant medication and cognitive therapy.
In the articles the Star Tribune has published lately, not one word is mentioned about medication. That really concerns me greatly. Mental illness is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Do we read articles about diabetes that do not mention insulin? Or treatment of heart disease, Parkinson’s, arthritis, etc.? It is the same thing. I would like for once to read or hear from the media about medication being a huge piece of the puzzle.
MARY SWANSON, Edina
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Jennifer Tuder’s blanket condemnation of suicide (“There’s no such thing as a rational suicide …” Sept. 5) was disturbing. Accepting that her father’s suicide, in her eyes, was very unfortunate and that many others should be prevented, we should also respect someone’s rational decision to end his/her life when suffering has negated virtually all personal joy and dignity.
Leaving survivors with the question of “why?”, though, is a legitimate concern. Perhaps a test for the rationality of suicide is full disclosure and discussion with one’s loved ones. That would be noble.
One of my best friends recently ended his life; the pain he endured was relentless. I regret the means chosen (Tuder understandably criticizes guns).
With the aging baby boomers and their myriad physical and mental issues, the incidence of suicide is unlikely to decrease. We need free and open analysis and discussion. Denying nobility to all who choose to die is not helpful.
EDWARD SHAFER, Rochester
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HEALTH CARE COSTS
Check the marketplace for savings on supplies
The writer of the Sept. 5 Letter of the Day (“A personal victory over health care”) implies that obtaining continuous positive airway pressure supplies for patients with sleep apnea is: a) difficult, especially to circumvent insurance companies, and b) not widely available.
Nothing is further from the truth. A simple computer search for “CPAP supplies” will raise lots of retailers ready and eager to fill the users’ needs and at competitive prices. I know, as I have been doing so for more than 10 years.
SCOTT NORDWALL, St. Paul
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.