A VERY SAD STORY by Dr. Henry Paul, MD

March 17th, 2015

Suicide is every parent’s nightmare. On an ongoing basis, there are pressures in teenager’s lives that we know about, and we don’t know about. It’s never simple. In the case of 13 year-old Cayman Naib who was found near his home with a self-inflicted gunshot wound last week, I am sure there are a lot of questions that friends, teachers, and family are asking themselves.

According to the CNN story, Naib left shortly after receiving an email from the school about overdue homework. Most likely that was not the trigger for his suicide. As an adolescent psychiatrist, I know that these stories are usually far from complete. I believe there might have been signs of pre-suicidality that were missed. A suicide rarely happens out of the blue after an email about homework, although sometimes a suicide does appear to come out of nowhere. More often some social rejection or another stressor is present.

Psychological testing of all students is not practical, but the good education of teachers (see our recent blog) and parents to signs of depression or other mental disorders is best.

I think it needs to be pointed out that suicide does not discriminate. The best defense against these situations is knowledge, and the courage of parents to ask the right questions. Here is a list of warning signs that I posted for parents in an earlier blog.

I want to make it clear that knowing the warning signs of suicide can save lives, but it certainly is no guarantee. Hopefully, families that are faced with the suicide of a loved one can eventually find peace, and they need to know that this is not their fault.

Click here for more on Cayman Naib’s story.

This blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical or psychiatric advice for individual conditions or treatment and does not substitute for a medical or psychiatric examination. A psychiatrist must make a determination about any treatment or prescription. Dr. Paul does not assume any responsibility or risk for the use of any information contained within this blog.