Two Tales of Death, Depression, and Suicide in Athletes

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What can 2 recent deaths show us about depression and suicidality?

Psychiatry & Society

Do we need a Heimlich maneuver or Epipen for suicide?

H. Steven Moffic, MD, discusses 2 public deaths from Memorial Day weekend, relating to depression and suicide: golfer Grayson Murray, who died by suicide, and former basketball star and broadcaster Bill Walton, who had a history of depression and suicidality, but died from cancer. Suicidality can change dramatically, he notes. The public always seems to be surprised when a suicide is announced, but perhaps this is because we do not take into account the potential for suicide if an individual looks "better."

These recent deaths are great examples, he believes, of why we need to pay attention to suicidality.

Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry and is now in retirement and retirement as a private pro bono community psychiatrist. A prolific writer and speaker, he has done a weekday column titled “Psychiatric Views on the Daily News” and a weekly video, “Psychiatry & Society,” since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged. He was chosen to receive the 2024 Abraham Halpern Humanitarian Award from the American Association for Social Psychiatry. Previously, he received the Administrative Award in 2016 from the American Psychiatric Association, the one-time designation of being a Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Speaker of the Assembly of the APA in 2002, and the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill in 1991. He is an advocate and activist for mental health issues related to climate instability, physician burnout, and xenophobia. He is now editing the final book in a 4-volume series on religions and psychiatry for Springer: Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, Christianity, and now The Eastern Religions, and Spirituality. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric Times.

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