The mentally disturbed and those trapped in a loop of despair have access to myriad forms of self-deliverance. They include very tall buildings, bridges, subways, and commuter trains such as Metro North.
This morning, as the New York Post reports:
"A man jumped to his death from the Trump International Hotel near Central Park ... The incident is being investigated as a suicide, police said."
In Japan, The Sea of Trees (Aokigahara) serves as the go-to place for someone contemplating suicide. The tragedy there is that the setting is a maze. Those entering who change their mind about self-deliverance might not be able to exit. They perish - involuntarily - within the forest.
Meanwhile, throughout the U.S., the suicide rate has increased to its highest rate in about three decades. As The New York Times rep0rts, from 1999 to 2014, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, the rate increased 24%.
With the exception of senior citizens, the surge has occurred in every age group.
Yet, the aging aren't being entirely spared.
When I lived in an over-55 complex in New Haven, Connecticut, a few months after I moved in a man in my building jumped out the window during the Christmas season. He died.
Not long after that, another man jumped to his death in another building.
And in my support group, a 60-something executive in an insurance company used his gun in his car to deliver himself from whatever.
Also, some professions, such as law, have a higher than average rate of suicides. In Kentucky there had been "cluster suicides" among middle aged trial lawyers.
In Belgium, a Roman Catholic order of clergy, bucking the Vatican, operates psychiatric hospitals which now offer euthanasia for the mentally ill. That approach, which involves careful screening, might be not only a dignified passage. Also, the "pause" could help those low on hope sort out if they really want to give up.
Despite all the books and studies published on suicide, the thought processes which culminate in that decision are still a mystery. "Night Falls Fast" by Johns Hopkins University professor Kay Jamison just raised more questions. To my satisfaction, no one has connected the dots - not effectively. Since my family seems to carry the "suicide gene," I have been studying the phenomenon for decades.
Maybe the wise move is to steer clear of Manhattan if one is feeling despondent. What really does often lift the darkness is a candid conversation with a trusted friend.
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