Commentary: Suicide Signals a Broken Health Care System

Commentary: Suicide Signals a Broken Health Care System

I read this article recently about a veteran killing himself in a VA waiting room and it brought me back to a recent conversation that we’ve been having on the National Pain Report about suicide.

And so, I spent some looking at the comments sections on the stories and was struck—again—by the increasing feelings of hopelessness and isolation that are permeating many people who have chronic pain.

The system is failing them.

When I was talking with Terri Lewis, Ph.D. recently about the topic, she said something that has stuck with me.

“Every person has a plan for exiting the planet when they’ve had enough. Remarkably, communities and health systems don’t have a plan.”

Hard to argue.

Reader Dave Brooks wrote about the importance of loved ones.

“The thought (of taking his life) has crossed my mind more than once. I keep going knowing my children always tell me they love me when I have a chance to talk to them… Always!!!

Elizabeth R. spoke about the fear that many are feeling in a place where they shouldn’t be fearful—their doctors’ offices.

“If We patients tell our doctors the truth about our pain and how it really affects us despite our efforts to manage it, we will be punished.”

A reader named Lindsey is at her wit’s end.

I have my suicide plan and materials ready. It gives me peace of mind. I have cancer also and am six months overdue on my surgery. I have so much pain that I KNOW I would never survive recovery on 2 or 3 days off extra pain relief

David Hickle expressed the fear that the government not only hasn’t been listening, it won’t.

“Our government isn’t going to listen all they are doing is buying their time covering their ass until they betray the American citizens, I don’t trust anyone anymore in the USA or humanity because whatever anyone says is a load of crap.”

When you consider that 22 veterans—at least some of them with chronic pain– are taking their lives EACH DAY and that many people who have chronic pain are telling us they are considering suicide, it tells you—or at least tells me—that this health care system is failing people.

It’s long past time to do something.

Don’t you agree?

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