Today, Monday, September 10th, is World Suicide Prevention Day. I found that out on Facebook when it was associated with the television and film franchise Star Trek, and the original series debuted on September 8, 1966. That anniversary was only two days ago.
I hadn’t realized these Star Trek related actors had all committed suicide, including TV and film icon Brian Keith. Most people know that Robin Williams committed suicide, and I think I recall that Get Smart actor Ed Platt (“the Chief”) took his own life.
I’ve been wanting to write about something today, but the topic eluded me until just a few minutes ago. Decades ago, I worked for a suicide prevention hotline in Berkeley, California, on the “graveyard” shift, so, as you can imagine, I’ve talked with many people who had been having tough times.
I don’t have anything particularly profound to say, except that I hope anyone reading this will take a few moments to contemplate how fragile we all are. This especially includes people you don’t get along with, people you may disagree with, and maybe even insult or consider an “enemy” in one manner or another.
If we could know the things about people they would never tell us, we might discover that all too many of them are not so far away from committing suicide. If we knew this, how would it affect our behavior towards them? I hope we would act a good deal softer and with more compassion.
It will be a dark day when we can no longer feel such compassion for another’s pain.
Andrew Koenig, son of Walter Koenig (Chekov from the original Star Trek series)
9 thoughts on “Be Kind – Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle”
Good advice that we all should take to heart.
Indeed. Oh, and I pinged you on twitter about your blog. Wassup?
A lot of drama, as usual. I’ve just decided to remove the opportunity for more down the line and take my family off the boards as targets. A little remodel of the website. The blog will focus only on new releases and writing-related news. Seemed the right time to hit the reset button and get the focus back on writing and ignore the external noise. Its all good.
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My oldest son’s wife used to be a teacher. (Since it didn’t pay enough, and the principal wasn’t supportive enough, she is now moving up in management for Target. But at least teaching provided health insurance for the two of them until my son’s career moved into that level of employment, which was at about the same age as what happened with his dad.) She recently found out that one student and remembers from years ago committed suicide. This has her unsettled about who all might be in that mental state without being obvious or even giving a clue.
Correction: … one student she remembers … (not one student and remembers …) [wow, auto spell-checking was still trying to change “she” to “and” — again — does stupid stuff like that all the time, and throws in stray extra words]
Finding out that someone you know died, let alone by suicide is very difficult. To the best of my knowledge, no one I have known has ever committed suicide, but as John Donne famously wrote about 500 years ago, “…never send to know for whom the bell tolls…it tolls for thee.”
Doesn’t it seem like this has increased quite a bit? I never heard of anyone committing suicide when I was young, except for people like musicians who had a lot of access to drugs.
My guess is that the rate of suicide has been more or less constant over time, but back in the day, the stigma over suicide probably prevented the news from becoming widespread.
In fact, even now it’s usually musicians and other people with access to drugs… as far as I know. But I don’t know about this young person (who I didn’t know at all). A lot more people have had access to prescribed and then other opiates lately. But that also doesn’t seem to always be involved.