13 Going on 14 — GFM: https://gofund.me/32671a27
According to the CDC, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. It was responsible for more than 47,500 deaths in 2019. In 2019, 12 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.5 million made a plan, and 1.4 million attempted suicide.
Secretary Antony J. Blinken at a Virtual Town Hall with U.S. Mission Nigeria and U.S. Embassy Nairobi Employees and Family Members, April 9, 2021:
“We had the recent news of the death of a member of our State Department family on temporary assignment in Kenya, which is deeply saddening and distressing, and a reminder of how important it is for us to be there for each other and to seek help if we need it without shame. The global authorized departure policy meant that many of you were separated and isolated from your family members as well as from each other, and Kenya is dealing with heightened security concerns. In Lagos and Abuja, your movements outside the city centers are restricted, now even more so.”
This is the closest the secretary of state come to acknowledging the reported suicide of a State Department employee in Kenya (see US Embassy Kenya: USG Employee Found Deceased at a Nairobi Hotel). We understand that a diplomatic courier assigned at a post in Germany, temporarily stayed two weeks at the Tribe Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, prior to his next permanent assignment in Nairobi. He was found deceased at the hotel on April 7, 2021.
We don’t know how people can “seek help if we need it without shame” if the top official could not even give what happened in Kenya a name. Somebody died. True. It was “saddening and distressing”. True. But we can help by acknowledging what happened there has a name and it has its own realities. A struggle in a dark world of despair and hopelessness that is as real to those who suffer as the great blue skies you and I live in.
The fight to make it every day, to keep going despite the pain is a valiant battle. We need to remember that the fight is often painful, solitary, and seemingly hopeless. To get rid of shame and end the stigma, we need to talk about this in the open, not in whispers, not by skirting its name. But it has to start at the top. Otherwise, as a blog pal once asked, What FSO is going to risk losing their security clearance by going to MED and saying they are thinking about suicide?”
Read: 5 Common Myths About Suicide Debunked
Warning Signs and Risk Factors of Suicide
If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States. Call 1-800-273-8255.
If you are overseas, please seek help by calling or visiting the health unit or call the Military Crisis Line or a local Suicide Hotline .
- 2021:@StateDept Adds 71 Historical Names to Memorial Plaque on #ForeignAffairsDay #ExceptSuicide
- 2021:PSA: Do You Need Help?
- 2021: US Embassy Kenya: USG Employee Found Deceased at a Nairobi Hotel
- 2019: FCS Foreign Service Officer Lola Gulomova Killed By FSO Spouse in Apparent Murder-Suicide
- 2013: State Dept’s Suicide Prevention Resources — A Topic So Secret No One Wants to Talk About It (2007 US Embassy Cyprus, Col. Thomas Mooney)
- 2012: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Ticking Bomb in the Foreign Service (diplopundit.net)
- 2012:Ron Capps | Back From The Brink: War, Suicide, And PTSD
- 2012: US Embassy Barbados: Death of the Regional Security Officer
- 2012: Missing/Cold Case James Hogan Case: A Royal Hurricane Shit Storm of Pain for All to Read
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