Letters to the Editor

Anthony letter: Mental illness stigma

I’m writing in response to the Sunday, Oct. 16, article titled “Stepping back from the ledge.” It should be noted that the Statesman’s position on reporting individual suicide cases is understood. While I appreciate that the young man’s story was told only because he gave consent, as a crisis counselor for 15 years, I find it necessary to expand upon his experience in a way that the original article did not.

While no one on the edge of suicide should ever be termed “fortunate,” the fact is that the experience detailed in the article is exceedingly rare. As described in the report, Mr. Owens’ experience from first suicidal ideation to conclusion of treatment lasted six weeks, which is a phenomenally short time span for such an occurrence. Please understand that I in no way wish to diminish his experience. However, the majority of suicidal episodes are part of years — sometimes decades — of suffering with mental illness.

Kane of Health and Welfare stated that the solution is to move past the stigma associated with suicide. To do that, we must first remove the stigma surrounding mental illness, as that is a much stronger barrier to finding effective treatment.

Devon Anthony, Boise