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Letter: The Suicide Conversation

So much has already been said about Robin Williams’ death by suicide that there really isn’t much left to say. While shining a light on the serious issues of substance abuse, mental illness and suicide helps to remove the stigma attached, journalists and radio and TV personalities have an obligation to their readers, viewers, etc. to report the news in a responsible way. Unfortunately, this does not always happen.

I heard a DJ on the radio say that he heard that the people who were close to Robin Williams are now saying that warning signs of suicide were there. The DJ then went on to ask the question, “why didn’t those people get him some help?” It is public knowledge that Robin Williams was seeking help for both his addiction and his severe depression. However, “help” doesn’t fix the problem overnight or miraculously make a person feel instantaneously good again. “Help” requires hard work over a period of time. Sometimes when a person is in such a depressed state, they start to feel hopeless, which means that they don’t believe there is any hope that things will ever get better. At that point, they may decide that asking for or accepting further “help” will not do any good. They just want to do something that will end the pain.

Another problem with that question is that it implies that those closest to Robin Williams are somehow to blame for what happened. People who are bereaved by suicide feel a variety of emotions, guilt being one of the strongest ones. The truth is that none of us, no matter how much we think we matter or how influential we think we are, have enough power to cause another person to take his or her life. However, not being able to comprehend exactly what the person who died by suicide was feeling, leaves those closest to them wondering what they could have done differently to prevent the death by suicide. Questions like this only add to the guilt those bereaved by suicide already feel.

I realize that what this DJ said was in no way meant to be accusatory or hurtful to those closest to Robin Williams. I bring it up simply to point out that the issue of suicide is not a simple one and our choice of words when someone dies by suicide is very important.  

The most important message from this tragedy is that “help” is available. The first step is knowing when and where to find the help. A good way to begin the helping process is to reach out to Long Island Crisis Center’s 24/7 hotline at 516-679-1111. It is free, anonymous and confidential. Or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 if you’re outside the Long Island area.  

There is no need to wait until you get to the point where you feel hopeless. There is no need for family or friends to feel hopeless about getting help for someone they care about.

Theresa Buhse

Associate Executive Director, Long Island Crisis Center

News

A group of like-minded local residents banded together and saved more than 200 area trees from the chopping block — for now.

A state judge ordered Nassau County and the Department of Public Works to stop cutting down trees along South Oyster Bay Road, granting a temporary restraining order to a group of residents spearheading an effort to save the trees.

State Supreme Court Judge Antonio Brandveen scheduled a hearing on Thursday, Oct. 16 for the county to address complaints from residents, in particular a group called Operation STOMP (Save Trees Over More Pavement) founded by Hicksville native Tanya Lukasik.The Public Works department had planned to removed more than 200 30-foot trees in communities ranging from Plainview, Bethpage, Hicksville and Syosset.

For the past 16 years, Lucia Simon has walked from her home in Hicksville to her job at the Hicksville Public Library. She enjoys her job as a librarian and says that the staff has become like family to her. But for the past three years, Simon and 56 fellow co-workers have been frustrated at what she says is the library’s board refusal to negotiate a fair contract.  

“We have had no contract in three years. They refuse to bargain with us. Every time they come back to us it’s not fair,” says Simon.

However, the board of trustees disagree, saying that it has made a “fair offer.”


Sports

The Girls Varsity soccer team, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, wore pink uniforms and pink socks in their game on Oct. 8 against MacArthur whom they defeated 1-0. The girls and boys soccer programs at Hicksville High School are selling pink ribbon car magnets with a soccer ball and HHS on it with the words “Kick Cancer” on the ribbon. All the money raised will go to the Sarah Grace Foundation, which is a local foundation trying to beat pediatric cancer. The players plan to raise $1,000 for this organization

— From Hicksville High School

Hicksville native progressing through Mets system

The Mets minor league system is enjoying a rare period of prosperity. For years, it was barren due to trading off high-ceiling players for major leaguers, or neglecting the draft in favor of the free agent market. Since General Manager Sandy Alderson took over, the organization has reversed course and put a much greater emphasis on player development. During his second-to-last season, however, former GM Omar Minaya took a chance and drafted a local catcher, Cam Maron, out of Hicksville High School in the 34th round.


Calendar

Spooktacular Halloween

October 17

Fall Festival

October 18

Veterans Casework Seminar

October 21



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1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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