One family’s loss is a lesson for us all.
Published on January 29, 2014 by Rachel Pruchno, Ph.D. in All in the Family
What do you do if your young adult daughter tells you she’s thinking about killing herself?
This was the issue facing 19-year-old Madison Holleran’s parents James and Stacy in December. “We knew she needed help. She knew she needed help,” her father told the New York Post.
The University of Pennsylvania freshman’s parents did what they thought was right. They talked with Madison. They encouraged Madison to make an appointment with a therapist who could prescribe anti-depressant medication. They suggested she take time off from school. Even as her father was driving Madison back to Penn on January 11, he told her he’d support her decision to transfer schools if she wanted. He offered to drive her to Chapel Hill so she could look at the University of North Carolina.
I probably would have done the same thing.
But Madison said she’d made plans with a friend in Philadelphia that she needed to keep. Even once Madison was back at school, her father stayed in contact with her, texting often.
On January 17, the beautiful track star from New Jersey plunged from the roof of a parking garage, killing herself.
Suicide has no demographic boundaries, affecting people regardless of their gender, race, socioeconomic status, culture, or religion. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention1, approximately one million people attempt suicide each year. In 2010, the most recent year for which data exist, 38,364 Americans took their own lives; that’s one suicide every 13.7 minutes. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among all Americans and the third leading cause of death among people Madison’s age (15-24 years)2. Unlike many other leading causes of death, the number of people who commit suicide grows each year.
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