Showing posts with label Suicide. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Suicide. Show all posts

November 8, 2019

You Tuber (24K followers) Tai Couture Commits Suicide

YouTuber and Influencer Tai Couture (Image credit: YouTube)

Popular gay YouTuber and LGBTQ influencer Tai Couture has passed away from suicide.
Couture, whose real name was Tyree Williams, was primarily known for his work as a hairstylist and makeup artist, but he had also been vocal about his battle with depression. His death was reported on Friday of last week.
When 15-year-old ninth-grader Nigel Shelby took his own life earlier this year after being bullied for being gay, an emotional Couture shared a Facebook post discussing an earlier suicide attempt of his own.
He wrote, “My heart mourns for the pain, torment, and loneliness this baby felt preceding his suicide. My suicide attempt was only a little over a year ago when I cut my wrist with a knife and was hospitalized.” 
“Although bullying wasn’t my trigger I know firsthand how it feels to be desperate for the hurt to end. I pray for Nigel’s family, friends, and the LGBTQ community. May the world continue to spread more unconditional love and not hate.”
In 2016, Couture said in a video he posted that he was in a near-fatal car crash that may have caused his depression. He also talked about how he made it through that difficult period in his life.
After hearing of his death, fans and followers have gone on social media to share their disbelief and sorrow.
One poster on Instagram said, “Here you have a man who seemed to have it all from love, success, and beauty.Who shared a lot of himself publicly with us. Yet, he suffered in silence enough so that his only resolve was to take his own life.”
The poster, who goes by the name @celestialhandsatl, went on to add that Couture “was a man that many of us in the LGBTQ community held in high regard” before adding that he “showed us what he wanted us to see. I, like many of us will never understand why he decided to end his life. Only him and God knows that now.”
The Williams’ family has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs of his funeral. It has raised over $5,500, so far.

September 11, 2019

Jarrid Wilson Pastor of Mega Church For Those Christians Mentally Challenged Kills Himself

                            Image result for jarrid wilson

(CNN)Jarrid Wilson, a popular pastor known for his work in mental health advocacy at a Southern California megachurch, has died by suicide, Senior Pastor Greg Laurie with Harvest Christian Fellowship Church said in a statement. 
Wilson joined the church as an associate pastor last year and has since spoken out many times about the issue of mental health, Laurie said.
Wilson and his wife founded an outreach called "Anthem of Hope" designed to help people dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts. 
"Jarrid also repeatedly dealt with depression and was very open about his ongoing struggles," Laurie said. "He wanted to especially help those who were dealing with suicidal thoughts."
    He is survived by his wife, Juli, and two young sons, according to Laurie's post. 
    On his verified Twitter page, Wilson had posted several times about September as National Suicide Prevention Month. In a post on Monday, he wrote, "Loving Jesus doesn't always cure suicidal thoughts. Loving Jesus doesn't always cure depression. Loving Jesus doesn't always cure PTSD. Loving Jesus doesn't always cure anxiety. But that doesn't mean Jesus doesn't offer us companionship and comfort. He ALWAYS does that."
    The last activity on his Twitter account was a retweet of the Anthem of Hope page. The original post contains a 24/7 chat feature and reads: "Lonely? Depressed? Need someone to talk to? ... You don't have to do this alone!"
    On her unverified Instagram account, Wilson's wife wrote he was a "loving, giving, kind-hearted, encouraging, handsome, hilarious, give the shirt (off) his back husband."
    "No more pain, my jerry, no more struggle," she wrote. "You are made complete and you are finally free. Suicide and depression fed you the worst lies, but you knew the truth of Jesus and I know you're by his side right this very second."

    'Pastors are just people'

    In her post, Juli Wilson said that "suicide doesn't get the last word."
    "I won't let it," she said. Juli Wilson wrote her husband's work led "thousands to the feet of Jesus" and his willingness to share his struggle with anxiety and depression "has helped so many other people feel like they weren't alone."
    "YOU WERE an anthem of hope to everyone, baby, and I'll do my best to continue your legacy of love until my last breath," she wrote.  
      Laurie, the pastor with Harvest Church, wrote in his post: "Sometimes people may think that as pastors or spiritual leaders we are somehow above the pain and struggles of everyday people. We are the ones who are supposed to have all the answers. But we do not."
      "At the end of the day, pastors are just people who need to reach out to God for His help and strength, each and every day," Laurie wrote. 

      September 4, 2019

      Who is Killing All These Cops? Cops and The Code of Silence

      David Betz (left) and Dave Betz (right).Image copyrightDAVE BETZ
      Image captionDave Betz and his son David (left)
      The death of nine New York police officers this year has left family members, law enforcement and politicians pointing fingers and placing blame. But suicide is a more profound problem, deeply entrenched in police culture. What's behind the epidemic?
      Speeding down route 1 on a frigid, gray February morning, Dave Betz's heart was racing. As a hardnosed police officer of 32 years, he was used to car chases, but on this morning, he was a father searching for his son. Dave received a call earlier that morning at 09:21 that his 24-year-old son David, also a police officer, did not show up for his shift at work. Something didn't sound right. 
      After he hung up the phone, he opened the door to his son's room where he found a gun holster resting atop the bureau - its weapon missing. 
      "I'm calling my buddies, letting them know, 'listen this is not good. I don't have a good feeling about this at all.' You know, I had that pit in my stomach."
      Charging across the empty car park of the Boston Sports Club, Dave noticed his son's Volkswagen, windows fogged, tucked in the distant corner behind the overbearing concrete gym building. As he walked around to the front of the car, his police training kicked in. 
      "That mindset of a cop - fight or flight - that kinda thing kicked in to react like you're trained," he says.
      "Death is not something that anybody likes to see. You just don't want to see it, you know. You do, but it's somebody else's family member.
      "He was in his car, he was seated and he had his phone in his lap. And I knew, you know. I just didn't want to know," he says as his voice drops. He pauses. 
      Country music blared from the car radio as Dave, dressed in pajama pants and a t-shirt, stood over his son and realized he was dead. 
      David Betz died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound without leaving behind any explanation of what led him to that moment, his father says. He's among hundreds of officers across the US who have taken their own lives and left behind a trail of questions. 
      "I always thought I was a good judge of character, being able to see things and see if somebody needs help or I should know when someone needs help," he says.
      "I couldn't see it in my son, you know, so that bothers me." 
      Dave Betz shows a photo of him and his son David.Image copyrightDAVE BETZ
      Image captionDave stands in the parking lot where he found his son while displaying a photo of them together
      Presentational white space
      A 2018 nationwide study found more law enforcement officers died by suicide than in the line of duty. Researchers say those police officers are at a higher risk of suicide than in any other profession due to a combination of the intense stress, pressure to conceal emotional distress and easy access to deadly weapons. 
      In fact, 13 out of every 100,000 people die by suicide in the general population. But that number climbs to 17 out of 100,000 for police officers, according to the Ruderman Family Foundation. 
      Last year 167 police officers took their own lives while 130 have done so this year, with four months left on the calendar, according to Blue Help, a Massachusetts-based police suicide prevention group that tracks the national rate. 
      These numbers only reflect confirmed suicides. Some suicide prevention advocates say current estimates could be higher as some families choose not to report the cause of death or instead describe it as accidental. 

      An unspoken reality

      New York City bears the brunt of most of the recent national attention. New York Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner James O'Neill declared a mental health crisis as the city grappled with the suicide deaths of nine police officers.
      "We need to change the culture," he told reporters in June. "We need to make sure that our police officers have access to mental healthcare. So they can keep themselves well and do the job that they want to do."
      Robert Echeverria, 56, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in August, just a day after 35-year-old Officer Johnny Rios took his own life. 
      His sister, Eileen Echeverria, told the BBC she contacted internal affairs about concerns for her brother's mental health numerous times, most recently in June before his death. 
      The department said it would investigate, but the 25-year police veteran's guns were returned to him within two days. She blames the top brass for his suicide. 
      New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill speaks during a press conferenceImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
      Image captionNew York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill
      "The NYPD is broken on so many levels. It's not the same, officers used to be respected," she told the BBC before meeting the deputy commissioner of employee relations outside police headquarters in New York.
      "Now they spit on in the streets and then they come back to the chief and they spit on by him. I couldn't go home and be normal after that. I couldn't do it. I'm not strong enough. God bless the ones who are." 
      The NYPD says Echeverria's death is under investigation. 
      "We need change," she says. 
      Cities and states across the country are rattled by a similar problem. California, Florida, New York and Texas each reported at least 10 police suicides last year, according to Blue Help. 
      Earlier this year, the Chicago Police Department, the nation's second-largest force with 13,000 officers, was forced to confront its own spate of police suicides.
      The tragedy sparked the launch of a mental health campaign, which included doubling the number of therapists available to officers as well as a video campaign showing senior officers - including Superintendent Eddie Johnson - admitting their own struggles with mental health. 
      President Donald Trump has authorized up to $7.5m (£6.1m) in grant funding a year for police suicide prevention, mental health screenings and training as departments across the country work to curb the numbers. 
      But the problem is hardly an American one. A similar trend is cropping up in other countries where officers are armed with a gun. 
      Last year France saw a 36% higher rate of suicide among police than the general population, and this year 64 officers have already taken their own lives. 
      For comparison, about 21 to 23 officers took their own lives in the UK between 2015-17, according to the UK's Office for National Statistics. Unlike France, most British police do not carry guns. 
      Nearly two-thirds of all gun deaths in the US are suicides, according to data compiled by Everytown, a gun safety group. 
      Though people are less likely to attempt suicide with a gun (6% of all attempts), the nature of the deadly weapons makes death more likely, with about half of all suicide deaths involving a firearm. 
      At least six of the nine deaths in the NYPD involved a gun, with many using their own service weapon. 

      Why is suicide so high among police?

      John Violanti, a 23-year police veteran and professor at University at Buffalo who focuses on police stress and mental health, points to the nature of the job as part of the equation that leads to suicide. 
      "They see abused kids, they see dead bodies, they see horrible traffic accidents. And what that means is that the traumatic events and stressful events kind of build on one another." 
      "If you have to put a bulletproof vest on before you go to work, that's an indication you're already under the possibility of being shot or killed and your family is under the same probability. So all of these things weigh heavily on the psyche and over time, they hurt the officers."
      He also points to an increasing turmoil driving a wedge between law enforcement and the communities they protect. 
      "We have political conflict. We have societal conflict. We have groups at each other's throat all the time. And the cops get stuck in the middle of all of this stuff," he says. "So sometimes they're pulled in different directions and they really don't know what their role is." 
      Mark DiBona, a 33-year police veteran and spokesman for Blue Help, has firsthand experience of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on the job.
      He volunteered for three weeks in New York four days after the 9/11 attacks and recalls his nightmares began shortly after. That trauma compounded with other encounters, including responding to a car fire with a passenger trapped inside, led to his depression. 
      "I wanted to die. I just did not want to go further because I felt like a failure," he says. 
      Sitting in the front seat of his cruiser, Mark wrote an angry letter to the police department and an apology letter to his mother and wife, before placing his gun in mouth.
      In a fortuitous moment, another officer pulled up to his car to intervene before he pulled the trigger. 
      But he - along with many officers - believes one of the greatest barriers in seeking help is the stigma that comes with needing it. 
      "We carry a gun, we carry a Taser, we carry a baton, Mace, we wear a bulletproof vest. All that to protect ourselves physically," he says.
      "We need that. But we have very little training when it comes to protecting us mentally."
      Part of that stigma is perpetuating the machismo culture in police work, a notion that Janice McCarthy is working to change by training officers in suicide prevention and through her organisation Care of Police Suicide Survivors (Copss), which works with families affected by police suicides. 
      Janice's husband Paul killed himself in July 2006 after a 21-year career as a Massachusetts state police captain. He suffered PTSD that stemmed from three car accidents in the line of duty, she says.
      Janice McCarthy
      Image captionJanice McCarthy has spent the last 13 years after her husband's death pushing for mental health training in law enforcement
      "Hypervigilance" is part of the job when it comes to police work, Janice says. "It's that feeling you're jumping out of your skin, you're pacing back and forth.
      "Cops run on the adrenaline…it becomes almost like a high," she recalls of her husband. "But the problem is you can't come home and shut it off and [Paul] could not shut it off. He didn't sleep. He couldn't really have a conversation," she recalls. 
      "They are caretakers. They are used to taking care of everyone else. 
      "He would change flat tires, he saved premature newborn babies. He couldn't save himself because no one gave him the luxury to say, 'what's wrong? Are you OK?'" 
      Paul McCarthyImage copyrightJANICE MCCARTHY
      Image captionPaul McCarthy, Janice's husband, and their son Christopher
      Presentational white space
      She helped lawmakers in Massachusetts craft a bill that would mandate mental health training for officers on the job. The bill, four years in the making, has yet to be taken up. 
      But former officers and suicide prevention advocates say adding therapists and training is only part of the battle. 

      The fear of losing your gun

      The idea that an officer's identity is tied to their gun is a stigma advocates can't seem to crack. 
      "The one thing about law enforcement is the longer you're on the job, the more it consumes your identity," Mark says while describing the importance of an officer's badge and gun. 
      Chris Prochut was third in command at Bolingbrook, a south-west suburb outside of Chicago, when his police department received international attention about a high profile murder investigation within its ranks. 
      He was tasked with dealing with the drumbeat of reporters, clamoring for details about former Sgt Drew Peterson, who was accused of murdering his third and fourth wives, the latter of whom is missing. 
      "I thought I can handle this because that's what cops do. I can fix this," the now mental health advocate and suicide prevention trainer recalls. "I figured I could change the public perception of our police department."
      Under immense pressure and with little sleep, the case ate away at Chris' psyche, taking a toll as the year wore on.
      Chris Prochut and his wife and child.Image copyrightCHRIS PROCHUT
      Image captionChris Prochut planned his own suicide before his wife and colleagues thwarted his plan
      "I'd come home to my family and I didn't want to be around them," he recalls. 
      At the urging of his wife, Chris sought help, and eventually went on medication to help ease the anguish. But the pain didn't stop. He eventually decided to take his own life. 
      "In my mind, there was no other option because I had tried therapy. I tried medication. They don't work for me, but I can get a hold of this."
      He picked a spot where he wanted to take his life in a nearby town, a deliberate move so his colleagues wouldn't have to investigate the death of one of their own. 
      "The plan was set. I remember having an extra bounce in my step that week." 
      It was ultimately his wife who thwarted his plans, calling his colleagues to intervene in the middle of the night and escort him to the hospital to seek psychiatric treatment.
      After Chris was released from the hospital, Illinois state law mandated that he lose his firearm privileges, and stuck in a legal loophole, he eventually lost his job. 
      Chris and his family left Illinois after losing their house, relocating to Hartford, Wisconsin, where he now works at Kohl's corporate headquarters as well as with the state police on suicide prevention. 
      Chris Prochut and his wifeImage copyrightCHRIS PROCHUT
      Presentational white space
      The laws have since changed in Illinois, allowing gun owners a 60-day grace period to keep their Firearms Owners Identification Card while a renewal application is processed. Part of that aim is to encourage officers to seek mental health treatment without fear of losing their badge - a step Chris is hopeful could be emulated elsewhere. 
      But Chris is hopeful his story can show there is life after the force. 
      "It took me a couple of years to realize there is life after law enforcement but you gotta be here. You have to be here in order for it to get better," he says. 
      "I did get my gun taken and I did lose my job, but I'm here and I'm OK." 

      Life continues

      Back at the cemetery on Boston's North Shore in Lynn, Dave's youngest son, Cameron, idles near David's grave, his voice cracking as he struggles to talk about his brother, his hero. 
      Cameron is adorned in symbols honoring his brother - suicide prevention bracelets and a tattooed semicolon on his left wrist - a symbol used to raise awareness about mental health struggles and suicide prevention - to show that life continues. 
      "Life for them goes on. Life for us goes on in a different kind of way," Dave says of other police officers. 
      Much of Dave's life is also a memorial to his son. His office is canvassed with images of his eldest son and the rest of his family, alongside relics and mementos featuring hidden symbols to keep his David's memory alive. 
      An image of clouds over his son's grave, formed in the shape of the number eight - David's lucky number - sits framed next to his son's police boots and uniform. His arms are tattooed with his son's favorite number and a message on his forearm, scrawled in his David's handwriting, from a Father's Day card given to him the June before he passed away. 
      Dave Betz's arm, showing a tattoo of a Father's Day message his son wrote to him in a card.
      Image captionDave Betz displays his arm, revealing his tattoo of a Father's Day message written by his son
      Death by suicide can erode validation for loved ones and family members, leaving unanswered questions of what could have gone differently to avoid tragedy. 
      "Being a suicide survivor - it's a group we belong to and we never wanted to be," Janice says. 
      "If someone dies by suicide, there are a whole lot of things that people read into that everyone wants to have their own idea of what went wrong. It's human nature to try to figure something out and put it in that nice little box and put a bow on it and put it away."
      But for this group of survivors, speaking to officers is a way of filling that void left by those they lost to suicide. 
      For officers concealing their struggles, Janice has one message: "If you're not a cop tomorrow, who are you?
      "Well, are you a husband? Are you a father? You need to be multidimensional and you need to take care of yourself emotionally," she declares.
      "I would want them to know that they are more than a police officer and that their life means more than this job."
      Presentational grey line
      Where to get help
      From Canada or US: If you're in an emergency, please call 911
      You can contact the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255 or the Crisis Test Line by texting HOME to 741741
      Young people in need of help can call Kids Help Phone on 1-800-668-6868
      If you are in the UK, you can call the Samaritans on 116123

      August 27, 2019

      The U.S. Does Not Follow The Law on Prison Suicides by Not Counting Them


      Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide in a federal prison in lower Manhattan triggered an investigation and the reassignment of two corrections officers, as well as the head of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, by Attorney General William Barr. 
      But it also shined a light on a problem: The federal government has no idea how many prisoners take their own lives in federal and state prisons, even though it’s required by law to keep track. 
      The government is obligated under the 2013 Death in Custody Reporting Act to collect and disclose information from law enforcement agencies and states on all deaths in custody, including suicides and deaths during an arrest. 
      The bill, which was passed in 2014 following Michael Brown’s death at the hands of a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer, required the Justice Department to analyze the national data and issue a report by 2016 with suggestions for reducing these deaths.
      But that never happened, in part because the Justice Department shuffled the data-collecting responsibility around to different bureaus, causing delays and leaving experts and policymakers with little information on how common prison suicide is. 
      “I don’t understand why, as we sit here in the second half of 2019, the most recent data we have on deaths in custody is from 2014,” said David Fathi, director of the ACLU’s National Prison Project. “But I can tell you that has a serious impact on our ability to diagnose and address the problem of prison suicides.” 
      Today, nearly five years after the bill passed, no new data on prison suicides is available and the Justice Department has not written the report. The department won’t start collecting the information until the fiscal year 2020 at the earliest, according to a December 2018 Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General report.  
      There are some available statistics that show the prevalence of suicides in certain prisons or states. The Bureau of Prisons, which operates the facility where Epstein killed himself, had 27 inmate suicides in the fiscal year 2018, a five-year high, according to USA Today
      Across the country, states including Texas and Utah have passed death-in-custody reporting legislation in recent years in response to an increase in prison deaths. Texas had a 10-year high of 40 inmate suicides in 2018, according to state records obtained by the Associated Press. Utah’s first deaths in custody report show that suicides accounted for over half of the 71 deaths that occurred in county jails from 2013 to 2017.
      But there is no comprehensive national data.
      The data could help illuminate any possible relationship between prison suicides and factors such as the types of crimes people are charged with, inmates’ ages, and whether inmates were placed on suicide watch and for how long.  
      Collecting and publishing the required data and report would allow legislators and criminal justice experts to study prison suicides and make targeted policy recommendations to reduce these deaths, Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va), the bill’s sponsor, said. 
      “You can’t have accountability unless you have a count.”
      “You can’t have accountability unless you have a count,” Scott said. “The bill gave two years to get a report done, and they haven’t started counting yet. It just seems to me that it cannot possibly be that complicated to collect the data.” 
      Before the Death in Custody Reporting Act was passed, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics collected data from states on a voluntary basis. After the bill’s passage, the bureau developed a methodology to expand the data collection to federal agencies, according to the inspector general’s report. 
      The bureau collected at least one year’s worth of the required data from 104 federal law enforcement agencies by the end of 2018, the inspector general found. This data is incomplete, however, because the Department of Justice does not know how many agencies in the United States have law enforcement abilities.
      The inspector general concluded that the lack of knowledge makes it impossible for the department to comply with the Deaths in Custody Reporting Act, because it doesn’t know exactly how many suicides occur in the custody of federal law enforcement agencies. 
      The Death in Custody Reporting Act gives the DOJ the ability to withhold grant money from states that do not submit the required information. Short of that, the Bureau of Justice Statistics was going to use information from open sources, like news reports, and local law enforcement agencies to count deaths under states’ jurisdictions. 
      But it never used that approach. In the fall of 2016, because of statutory reasons, the Justice Department tasked a different bureau — the Bureau of Justice Assistance — with collecting the state data.  That bureau then took almost two years to come up with a plan that resembled a previously used method that only captured half of all deaths, according to the inspector general report.
      The inspector general’s office concluded that because of this flawed approach, the Justice Department might not get the quality of data that fulfills the intent of the law. 
      Now the Justice Department will not begin collecting the necessary state data until 2020 at the earliest because of the delays, according to the inspector general’s office. Once it starts, there’s still the question of what will happen with the required report. 
      As of August 2018, the DOJ had no plans to write the required report or release the data it will collect. By not writing the report, the department is limiting its ability to reduce deaths in prisons and jails, the Inspector General concluded.
      The Bureau of Justice Assistance did not respond to requests for comment. 
      The Bureau of Justice Statistics’ most recent data shows 621 reported suicides in jails and prisons in 2014. Because states reported data voluntarily, the count is not comprehensive, Scott said. 
      The bureau still collects the information and is working on releasing its 2015 and 2016 data, but staff turnover has slowed progress, Justice Department spokesperson Tannyr Watkins wrote in an email.  
      Given the lag between data collection and publishing, years might pass before the Justice Department releases new national prison suicide data collected under the Death in Custody Reporting Act. 
      High-profile deaths like those of Epstein and Sandra Bland, who was found hanging in a Texas jail cell in 2015, three days after her arrest during a traffic stop, lead to pointed investigations that might clarify circumstances around those deaths, but miss bigger trends. 
      In Epstein’s case, data could have helped to implement changes in prisons that might have avoided his death, Fathi said. Epstein had been recently taken off suicide watch and was in solitary confinement, which are risk factors for inmates committing suicide, but without data it’s difficult to know just how common these factors are. 
      “Jeffrey Epstein is obviously a uniquely unsympathetic person, but he was someone whose life the government was obligated to protect during his incarceration,” Fathi said. “Although this case is obviously unique in some ways, in other ways it is typical of the utterly avoidable suicides that happen in our prisons and jails literally every day.”

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