Franklin James Cook

Links to Suicide Grief Stories: July 28, 2009

In Grief, Grief Stories Series on July 28, 2009 at 5:15 am

[Editor’s note: “Links to Suicide Grief Stories …” is a SPNAC series featuring stories of survivors of suicide loss–about the effect their loved one’s suicide has had on them and how they are coping with their grief. FJC]


Ryan Mattocks earned his high school dipoma from Hope Online Academy in June. (KUSA-TV photo)

In “Student Turns to Online School after Friend’s Suicide,” reporter Nelson Garcia, talks to Thorton, Colo., teen Ryan Mattocks about how the suicide of his friend, Jordan Scull, made him rethink his own life, including enrollment in an innovative online high school called Hope Online.

Mattocks says [he and Scull’s other friends] were all living the party life — drinking more than attending classes at Horizon High School … Mattocks enrolled in the Hope Online Learning Academy Co-op.

“It’s a lot like a second chance,” [he said], “because a lot of kids that are at that school either got kicked out of the traditional high school or were failing at the traditional high school … I think that [Jordan] would be glad that he had that much impact on all of our lives after he passed away. He is a big inspiration to me” (KUSA-TV)


Laurie Miller displays a photograph of her son Ben (Hamilton Spectator photo).

In “The Dark Abyss of Drug Addiction,” columnist Susan Clairmont tells the story of Laurie Miller, whose 29-year-old son Ben died by suicide while struggling with addiction to OxyContin.

Laurie got him a spot at a Toronto-area detox centre. But it would be a month before Ben could start. He wasn’t able to wait that long. On Nov. 30, 2004, Ben killed himself. He was 29. He did not leave a suicide note. Just his OHIP (health insurance) card propped against an illegal bottle of OxyContin.

After Ben’s death, Laurie “began volunteering at the Men’s Withdrawal Management Centre in Hamilton.”

Many of the guys there use Oxy. She tells them Ben’s story. She listens to theirs. Laurie also works weekends at The Living Rock, and says she makes a special point of connecting with street youth who talk about Oxy. She tells them about Ben.

“I’m going to try to help one person if I can,” she says (Hamilton Spectator).


Curt Chisholm is a civil servant turned mental health advocate. (Eliza Wiley, Helena Independent Record )

In “Personal Tragedy Drives One Man’s Crusade,” reporter Eve Byron uncovers the motivation behind a well-known Montana state agency leader’s push “to try to get better help for people and families struggling with mental illness,” including organizing the NAMI walk in Helena for the past five years.

Only a handful of friends know Curt Chisholm as the heartbroken father of a son who committed suicide eight years ago …

Chisholm has returned to his roots with the government … advocating … to anyone willing to listen.

“The state doesn’t understand what it takes to treat mental illness, and how important it is to treat in the community,” Chisholm said … “They need to establish a pattern that’s consistent at the community level and get good, [effective] diagnosis and early intervention at an in-patient level” (Helena Independent Record).

[Editor’s note: Curt Chisholm’s story is part of an in-depth investigative report by the Helena Independent Record on mental health care in Montana.]

In “Springfield Mom Testifies on Bullying,” Boston Globe correspondent Stephanie Vallejo reports on “ordinary working mom” Sirdeaner Walker’s testimony before Congress about her 11-year-old son Carl Walker-Hoover’s suicide.

“What could make a child his age despair so much that he would take his own life?” Walker asked during a panel on “Strengthening School Safety Through Prevention of Bullying.” “I will probably never know the answer. What we do know is that Carl was being bullied relentlessly at school.”

Walker supports a bill that would require states that receive grants for safe and drug-free schools to invest in bullying prevention programs (“Political Intelligence“)

In Ms. Walker’s Congressional testimony,, she says,

“The most important thing I have learned that bullying is not an inevitable part of growing up. It can be prevented, and there is not a moment to lose” (YouTube video).

A BBC report, “Website’s Support after Suicides,” tells the story of the Choose Life page, which was created by teens and is hosted on the Bridgend County Borough Council’s Website. Bridgend, in the U.K., has experienced a cluster of suicides.

One of the youngsters, 17-year-old Rhys, said he and his friends decided to create the website because they did not think there was enough access to information about the effects of suicide.

“Losing someone close to you is indescribable really,” he said.

“The devastating effects it had on myself, my close friends and family, it does bring you to tears just thinking about it.

“I think if this can be prevented, why should someone suffer from it?” (BBC News)

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