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Knocking on heaven's door


Harvard psychologist William James argued a hundred years ago that anyone who hasn't seriously contemplated suicide isn't yet fully educated. The vast majority, however, will thank the stars that they chose to live.


Latoya Noel

College administrator

Have you ever contemplated suicide? Not really suicide, but times when I wished I could just disappear, disconnect.

What were the circumstances? I was in college, feeling a lot of pressure, trying to figure out what to do in life.

Are you glad you didn't? Oh, absolutely. It can seem like no one is on your side and your problems will never end. When you get through it, though, you find you learned something and grew as a person.

What's the best antidote to suicidal thoughts? Keep good people around you. Find people you can talk to. Develop a support network.

Why is suicide so prevalent in the West? I would've thought it's higher in the East. People out here seem healthier, more outdoorsy.


Theresa Estebo
West side

Registered nurse

Have you ever considered suicide? No.

Have you known anyone who's done it? Not personally, but a friend of my son did, and the mother of someone I know did.

What would you say to someone thinking about it? If it involves pain-control issues, find a doctor who'll help with pain. If it's a young person, communicate with someone you're close to.

What's the best antidote to such thoughts? Hope. Believe in yourself. Shed negative self-images. Find a suicide hotline number and keep it with you at all times.

What accounts for the high suicide rates out West? Unemployment, maybe. Maybe addictions.


Patrick Hayes

Hotel maintenance worker

Have you contemplated suicide? I did back in my late teens. It was a time of economic downturn and spiritual absence.

What made you decide against it? I decided it was a better thought process to be curious instead of afraid. I accepted that life is a roller-coaster ride. There's going to be down times, but up times, too.

What's helpful advice for at-risk individuals? Seek support from family and friends. Talk more openly about what you're feeling. You'll find that you have company, that more people than you realize have felt the same way.

Why's suicide so common out West? Westerners are independent. That can be a great source of strength, but it can also isolate you and leave you feeling alone in times of need.

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