August 14, 2014
by Dawn Tacker, Human Resources Manager

In the past few days many news stories have focused on the recent suicide of Robin Williams, a much loved and appreciated actor, comedian, father and so much more.  Below is an email that was sent from Tim White, Behavioral Health Advocate and Coordinator of the Friends Are Good Medicine Program with Stanislaus County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services.  Please see the flyer (to the right) about a walk to prevent suicide that is on September 20th.

Did you know that successful people are at a high risk for suicide?  Here are some facts from the QPR Institute:

“Successful people are not immune to suicide. Just because someone has accomplished a great deal, earns a good income, or has great potential, does not mean he or she cannot become suicidal. This risk group includes academically gifted high school and college students, outstanding athletics, talented musicians and many others who seemed destined to achieve much. Some experts argue that intelligent, conscientious people with high aspirations may be especially vulnerable to setbacks that can lead to depression, thoughts of suicide and suicide attempts.

The majority of people who die by suicide are employed. Many who die by suicide are community or corporate leaders, executives, military officers, doctors, lawyers, and professionals with advanced degrees. According to the Institute of Medicine’s Reducing Suicide: A Natural Imperative (2002), “Some professions have a higher risk for suicide then others.” Research has shown some of those professional groups include physicians, dentist and police officers.

Successful people who become suicidal are often unable or unwilling to ask for help because of the stigma and shame associated with “being weak.” They may work in a “macho” culture where seeking professional help could threaten or end their careers. They are often isolated by their position of power and influence and cannot seek assistance, counseling or treatment.

So how can we help a “successful person” who may be at their point in life where they see no other option then taking their own lives?

  1. If we know the person we must be willing to boldly confront the person using the QPR techniques of Question, Persuade and Refer. Question the person to see if in fact they are thinking about suicide. Persuade the person to get help and know where to take the person to receive the help they need.
  2. If need be we have to be willing the person to be forced into treatment as we cannot afford to take the “wait and see” attitude.
  3. If we are a retired or working professional such as a police officer or other professional we can start support groups or just reach out to those that have the high stress jobs.
  4. Educate, educate, educate the public about suicide risks and break the stigma against someone seeking help.”

That my friends is why I go to and participate in walks and other things to bring awareness to the community and offer hope to those that don’t think there is any. Hopefully everyone is thinking about going to the Out of the Darkness Walk on Sept 20th and I hope they can join the BHRS Bravehearts team as we walk for awareness. If you want to join the team or start your own just go to and you can sign up or donate if you feel inclined to do so.