Remember the long-running TV show, M*A*S*H? Then you probably remember the theme song. Did you know the theme song actually had lyrics? It was originally written for the film version of M*A*S*H in 1970. The song’s official title was, “Suicide is Painless”.
Which leads to my blog topic, suicide.
I remember the first mobile production I worked on, an awards banquet we were covering for the TV station I work for in Ottawa. James was one of my camera operators.
During the production, I noticed his camera was tilted down to the ground. James asked if he was alright. “One of the legs on the camera slipped off the riser!”, he said.
One of the cameras panned over to his location and there was his camera, teetering dangerously towards the ground. We’re talking about a $200,000 dollar piece of equipment, getting ready to be smashed to ground and into pieces. And there was James, holding on to the expensive camera by it’s arms for dear life, knowing it was top heavy and could snap any second.
The whole time, I was on ‘pins and needles’ in the production truck, sweating it out, saying “Damn! My first production is my last!” Fortunately, my boss, who was attending the gala, saw what was happening and jumped up from his table and ran towards the riser where the camera was. He assisted James with securing the camera just in time.
Other than smoking, which I ragged on him all the time, James was a cool kid. This week, I found out James committed suicide. He was only 18 years old. Talking to him, you’d never know he was suffering from mental illness.
But lets face it, mental illness isn’t a diagnosis that’s seen in the open, like say, a broken leg. Mental illness is silent and isn’t one to peek it’s head until it’s too late.
Daron Richardson was the daughter former NHL hockey player, Luke Richardson. On November 13th, 2010; Daron committed suicide. She was only 14 years old. Her family and Ottawa community was devastated by her death.
The family decided to go public with the hope of making sure another family never has to go through the same experience like they’ve gone through. They started “Do It For Daron”, a movement to prevent teen suicide and end the stigma of mental illness.
On February 8th, which would have been Daron’s 15th birthday, the organization encouraged everyone to wear purple and wear purple armbands, which was Daron’s favorite color, and to initiate discussions around mental health issues in support of the Richardson family and all the young people who suffer in silence.
James’ suicide wasn’t as high a profile death, as was Daron’s. But in both cases, it’s so important to talk about mental illness. If you’re suffering from depression, or if you know someone who is depressed, get help. It’s so sad to see someone just beginning their life, and wanting to end it.
Contrary to the song’s title, Suicide is NOT painless.
or, Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) , a free, 24-hour hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.