A dear long term friend (from high school) committed suicide a few weeks ago.

He was a veteran who found it very hard to kill when he was in Vietnam. His letters to me from his military tour were tortured and distressed. He never wanted to hurt anyone.

He needed help but never got it. Mental health help was not a military option offered to vets post Vietnam.

My friend’s family had no idea that he would kill himself – he was such a happy and gentle man. The pain and suffering has spread to the family now and it will last forever.

My primary experience with suicide comes from the children I’ve worked with in child protection as a guardian ad-Litem and the Topamax that was proscribed to me for terrible migraine headaches.

I had become very familiar with the language on the packaging of psychotropic medications concerning depression and suicidal thoughts but was absolutely dumbstruck when I experienced depression and full blown suicidal ideation after 12 months of Topamax.

It is impossible to convey to you what that last sentence means in a manner that will impact you as it impacted me. Words will never do justice to thoughts of suicide.

I’m a mature adult that has studied and written about this terrible thing and it was absolutely overwhelming at the time. I found help and stopped the drug and got better.

I’ve come to know many children in child protection taking psychotropic medications
. The data on children in child protection on these drugs is also overwhelming (and a well kept secret). Four and seven year olds behaving in extremely dangerous ways and trying to kill themselves should be extremely rare in any civil society.

I did not find it rare among the children in my caseload in child protection.

America is way behind other advanced societies in dealing with mental health issues and it is killing poor vulnerable children and way too many veterans.

Goodbye Tom, you were dear & wonderful person and a great friend; I will miss you.

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