I just finished an article about Aaron Swartz and his death from suicide. One of the statements in the piece gave me pause. It reads: If Aaron Swartz was like most of the 100 people every day who take their own lives in this country, the biggest thing that likely led to his death was untreated or under treated depression………And at the time the person has taken their life, it is depression that is either not being treated at all, or being treated inadequately.
I’m not sure we can say that. We might be able to say untreated depression can more quickly lead to suicide but inadequately treated, under treated? Inadequacy speaks of failing to do something, offering the incorrect help, giving the wrong encouragement. Granted, sometimes this is the case, but often you can have the best psychological help, the best medication and the best family support and still suicide comes into play because depression is an illness and sometimes depression kills – just like cancer, just like heart disease. Depression can kill no matter how much treatment is given.
Let’s not add to the burden of family and friends who are already wondering if they did enough or to the psychiatrist or psychologist who is trying to come to terms with what more he or she could have done. Let’s recognize the disease for what it is – a illness that sometimes kills no matter what is done, even if it is the very best help that can be had.
Peace to Aaron Swartz and his family and friends.