Courtney Kidd LCSW

Courtney Kidd LCSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
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What Suicide Can Teach Us About Prevention: A Reflection Of A Tragedy

By: Courtney Kidd
SJS Staff Writer

America has always, and will always be a reactionary nation so long as we deny that our actions and our inactions hold consequences.  There are a few things wrong with the media and how the most recent tragedy in Connecticut has been covered.  It is not entirely the media’s fault, but there is a responsibility to be upheld that gets swept away into a frenzy of political arguments and sensationalizing.  To say that the shooting was purely a gun control issue, or a mental health concern would be doing a disservice.  To focus on the shooter is silencing the voices of the victims.  So what can we do to move forward?

During my internship last year I was given an article about suicide.  It talked about the decision to put netting on the top of the walk-ways on bridges like the Golden Gate and Aurora.  There was nothing fancy about it, it was not overly difficult to tear off or get around so most people believed it would do little to stop suicide attempts, plus it took away from the view.   And after all, people who are going to do something like kill themselves won’t be deterred by a small barrier.  Except suicides plummeted.  When these same barriers were removed in New Zealand, the bridge saw a fivefold increase in suicides until it was replaced.  Not only do the bridges see less suicides, but suicide rates dropped, meaning that many of these people were not going home and finding a different way.   This simple, seemingly inconsequential act was saving lives.  

Yet we still don’t learn that every barrier we put into place impacts outcomes.  When we place barriers upon receiving mental health, people suffer and tragedies occur.  When gun control fights claims that making it more difficult for some to get a hold of weapons won’t stop them, people suffer.  One ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  I had another couple of paragraphs about the debates on gun laws, arming citizens and mental health treatment barriers but I deleted it.  I realized as I reread it that I was further feeding into an already unmanageable fire.  We have long since been on this road of more guns, less treatment. More prisons, less hospitals.  The path we have been taking is obviously not working.  Let’s at least have the discussion of taking a different way.

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One Response

  1. Noreen T Begrer December 18, 2012

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