People who assist in a suicide can still be prosecuted in most jurisdictions. Reporting a suicide in the media is a controversial issue, or it was when I was cutting my journalistic teeth as a reporter with the BBC. It was compared with reporting a bomb scare.
I delivered the eulogy at his funeral; some funerals are celebrations; this one wasn't. A couple of weeks later another friend hanged himself in his garage.
I asked the question then, and I still ask it now. Is suicide an act of courage or cowardice? I still can’t answer it because I simply don’t know. It must take some sort of courage to throw yourself off a roof knowing you’re going to die, surely? That's not a cry for help. But aren't you a coward knowing you’re turning your back on a wife and two beautiful children who you’ll never see again? Is this the only way out of whatever problems you have? I still beat myself up over the fact that my wife and I pulled out of a lunch date with his family the week before. I ask myself whether if we’d gone there for lunch, maybe I’d have picked up on some sign that things were that bad. But all either of my friends had to do was pick up the phone. That’s all they had to do. Talk to me, talk to anyone, who would tell them that they’re loved and needed. It’s way too late to know whether it would have helped of course, but I would have been grateful to have been given the chance to tell them I loved them.
In the UK, there’s Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, or you can email Samaritans at firstname.lastname@example.org. Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number will not show up on your phone bill. PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation that supports teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.