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.


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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.


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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.


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The very day before this letter appeared, I had several exchanges with a medical supply company and with my insurance company about the very same thing: outrageous pumping up of costs. I had ordered a set of six disposable filters for medical equipment. The cost charged by the medical supply company for those six disposable filters was $40. On Amazon, the cost for 50 of the same filters was $14 plus $5 shipping. I suggest that people do the math and source supplies carefully.


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Why was archbishop silent for so long?

In her Sept. 5 article “Archbishop calls for immigration reform,” Rose French twice makes note of  Catholic Archbishop John Nienstedt’s silence on same-sex marriage since his stunning defeat Nov. 6, 2012, after spending a lot of capital, both monetary and moral, in support of the marriage amendment. She notes that his current support of immigration reform is a “return to politics … to the public forum” after what appears to be a self-imposed hiatus of nearly a year.

I was a member of the committee Resigned Priests for Marriage Equality that collected 80-100 signatures of fellow resigned priests for two statements: one in May 2012 that opposed the constitutional amendment and the second, earlier this year, in support of same-sex marriage.

Because I had a vested interest in the subject, I searched in vain to find in French’s article an explanation for the archbishop’s yearlong, muted behavior, a total departure from his virulent, homophobic outpourings that flowed from his poisonous pen for too many years.


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On lakeshore quality, look in the mirror

So Rachel Carson was right! When I was in college ages ago, “Silent Spring” was controversial, with many calling her a crackpot environmentalist.

“Pulling plug on another lake” (Sept. 5) shows further evidence that our national obsession with golf-course-type lawns is unsustainable.

As an organic gardener my entire adult life, I can attest to the benefits of nurturing nature. Our yard is an oasis for bees, butterflies, birds — and yes, even the squirrels and rabbits are welcome.

People, when are you going to wake up and stop using horrible chemicals? If you live near a lake and continue with the traditional yards near the lakeshore, your lake is in jeopardy.