Suicide Prevention Week Must Focus on the Vulnerability of the Mentally Ill, says Author Janice Holly Booth

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Suicide is the leading cause of death of people with schizophrenia

A Voice out of Nowhere

When you have a population whose rate of suicide is 50 times higher than the general population, that is a medical and moral emergency.

During Suicide Prevention Week, September 8 - 12 and Worldwide Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, 2014, author Janice Holly Booth reflects on the loss of a mentally ill friend to suicide. “Janet was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia but she would not take her medications,” says Booth. “She attempted to kill herself by jumping off a bridge, but was apprehended and taken to a mental hospital known as Riverview where she should have been safe.” Despite being placed under suicide watch, Booth’s friend killed herself in the same manner as Robin Williams – she rolled her pajama pants into a belt, tied them around her neck and hung herself from the bars that covered the window in her room.

Booth reveals some startling suicide statistics in her #1 best-seller, “A Voice out of Nowhere: Inside the mind of a mass murderer.” The book tells the story of 22-year-old Bruce Blackman who had no history of aggression yet suddenly murdered his family during one night of psychotically fueled violence. It’s Booth’s first true-crime novel, a genre she had no interest in pursuing until the tragic loss of her friend to suicide. Although “A Voice out of Nowhere” focuses on the back-story leading up to, the commission of, and the aftermath of the gruesome mass murder, Booth includes an unflinching look at schizophrenia statistics including suicide. People with schizophrenia have a high mortality rate, with suicide the leading cause of death. “When you have a population whose rate of suicide is fifty times higher than that of the general population, that is a medical and moral emergency,” she says.

In her book, “A Voice out of Nowhere,” Booth takes the reader inside the mind of the killer and reveals how voices and delusions drove him to commit the crime. “Bruce was so tortured by voices that he could neither sleep nor eat. He contemplated suicide on more than one occasion. The reader can see why that would seem a viable option for someone whose disordered mind was causing them to suffer so greatly.”

In addition to losing two friends to suicide, Booth also lost a close family member to suicide, so she knows the unique pain the loss inflicts. “When an individual believes that death is preferable to life, then that can only mean they’ve experienced a profound loss of hope.” Booth believes that a proactive mental health care system that gives individuals the care they need and deserve can help restore hope, especially for a population that is at high risk for suicide. “Robin Williams suicide should make people sit up and take notice,” says Booth. “There was a man who had every resource available to him, yet in the end, mental illness triumphed.” Booth insists that we need to do a better job of providing mental health support to a community at high risk for suicide.

ABOUT JANICE HOLLY BOOTH:Janice Holly Booth was born and raised in British Columbia. Her first book, Only Pack What You Can Carry, was published by National Geographic in 2011. Her most recent book, "A Voice out of Nowhere: Inside the mind of a mass murderer, is an Amazon #1 best-seller in the category of schizophrenia. She has a master’s degree in Leadership and was a non-profit CEO for more than 20 years before becoming a full-time writer and speaker. She currently lives near Charlotte, North Carolina.

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Janice Holly Booth
Janice Holly Booth
since: 01/2011
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