'Like hearing their voices': Researcher analyzes suicide notes to save lives
Daniel Otis, CTVNews.ca Writer
Avis Favaro, Medical Specialist, CTV National News
Elizabeth St. Philip, CTV News
Published Sunday, January 27, 2019
The search for clues about why people choose to die by suicide often starts with the words they leave behind. Dr. Rahel Eynan, a scientist with the Lawson Health Research Institute in London, Ont., is unravelling such mysteries one heart-wrenching note at a time.
“When I’ll open a file, in my head I’ll say, ‘Tell me your story,’” she told CTV News. “Sometimes you actually can feel the pain of the individual that wrote them.”
In a 2018 study published by The American Association of Suicidology, Eynan analyzed 383 suicide notes left by children as young as 11 and adults as old as 98 to find signs that can be used to identify and help others who are at risk.
“About 57 per cent expressed love for others,” she explained. “Very few expressed that they felt loved… About 53 per cent expressed ‘sorry’ and apologies.”
Half, Eynan also found, were escaping illness, physical or psychological pain.
“They are so constricted in their thinking that they don’t see any other option -- the only option is to die,” she said.
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