Have you been impacted by suicide?

Coverage of the tenth anniversary of 9/11 has pooled in the center of every media outlet this week with stories of lives and deaths taken control of by terrorist attacks. There is also the slow drip of news about prominent suicide deaths -- totally unrelated to September 11th and still, offering a strange confluence of lingering loss, but this time by one person's choice to end their own existence.

The recent suicide death of reality television cast member Russell Armstrong made many headlines, continuing in the last week with the season premier of "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" prompting discussion on the show and in the press about his loss, mental well-being, financial downturn, and the wife and children he left behind.

Castmates gathered during the first episode to put their reactions to 47-year-old Armstrong's suicide on record. They were worried for their friend, Russell's estranged wife Taylor Armstrong. They were surprised by his actions. They'd never felt connected to him. They felt compassionate about the financial pressures inherent in their wealthy community. Mauricio Umansky, husband of show star Kyle Richards, said he oscillated daily between sadness and anger at the man who his wife's friend was divorcing.

The honesty didn't stop there. When those same castmates were interviewed by media heavy-hitter Anderson Cooper for his new syndicated daytime talk show, he says the group he expected to cancel devoted nearly half their time to discussing Armstrong's death.

That prompted Cooper to open up about his own brother's suicide, which he said he still ruminates 23 years later. His older sibling leaped out of a penthouse window in New York City in 1988 at the age of 23.

"I had a brother that committed suicide and that was more than twenty years ago and I'm still trying to figure out why he committed suicide. I think anyone who survives suicide, that's one of the horrible things about it, you can't pinpoint one thing necessarily always that did it," Cooper shared.

Cooper also offered advice to the castmates after projection about why Armstrong took his own life.

"You can't put yourself in someone else's mind, a mind that is not acting rationally or not thinking rationally," he said.

The "Real Housewives" cast and Cooper share the commonalities of screen-time and suicide grief. But their openness gives more voices to experience of countless people impacted by the 34,000 suicide deaths in this country every year.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a suicide occurs every fifteen minutes, elevating it to the fourth leading cause of death of adults in the United States. Even more startling, suicide ranks as the fifth leading fatality for children aged 5 - 14, and the third for young adults 15 - 24. The foundation tallies eight to 25 attempts for every suicide death.

This leaves too many of us caught in the grief and pondering Anderson Cooper put words to this week.

Now it is your turn to share your stories: How have you been impacted by suicide? Do you feel emotional when someone famous takes their own life? What are your words of wisdom, experience, or comfort to people who have survived the suicide loss of a loved one?





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