Thank you for running Linda Matchan’s article on suicide-attempt survivors (“Words about despair from those who knew it,” Page A1, April 29). It is heartening to hear so much in the news around the importance of connecting and supporting people who are experiencing despondency and the thoughts of suicide that can accompany it. As a person who grew up with a mother who tried to end her life numerous times, my first of three attempts was at age 11. It was because I had had a bad day in Home Ec, and it was what I knew to do.
Now 52, I have come to understand my variety of despair and its cyclical and toying nature. In the Alternatives to Suicide peer support groups that I facilitate for the Western Mass. Recovery Learning Community, and in which I participate, people who experience thoughts of suicide come together to share these kinds of hard moments without the fear of being judged or, much worse, hospitalized or medicated against their will. We come together in times of strength and sorrow to share, among other things, the things that get us through.