Man trying to prevent suicide falls to his death from University of Hawaii dorm

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Aug. 17, 2015: The Hale Wainani dormitory is seen at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. Two men fell from the 14th floor of the University of Hawaii dormitory, one of them to his death while trying to pull the other from a ledge, Honolulu police said. (AP Photo/Jennifer Sinco Kelleher)

Two men fell from the 14th floor of a University of Hawaii dormitory — one of them to his death while trying to pull the other from a ledge, Honolulu police said.

The 24-year-old man who died was trying to bring inside an apparently distraught 19-year-old who went out a window onto the ledge early Sunday, authorities said.

Both men fell to the ground and were critically injured, police said in a statement. They were taken to a hospital, where the older man was pronounced dead. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday.

The 19-year-old remained in critical condition Monday, police said.

Neither man was a University of Hawaii student, school spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said.

A student who lived at the dorm had people over, and the two men were among them, Meisenzahl said. Their names were not released.

The university is investigating whether any violations of the student code occurred, Meisenzahl added.

“It’s a terrible tragedy — the last thing we want to happen … whether they are students or not,” he said. “Of course, our condolences go out to their friends and family.”

The school year hasn’t started yet, so only about 20 students — those in need of transitional housing between semesters — were living in the two towers that make up the Hale Wainani dorm. They were scheduled to move out Sunday for cleaning ahead of the fall semester. The university has contacted all of them and offered them counseling, Meisenzahl said.

Counseling is also available to other students, he said.

During the school year, the dorm houses more than 600 students. Those arriving for the upcoming semester are scheduled to move in to the dorms Tuesday and Friday.

On Monday afternoon, there were mostly maintenance workers and cleaning staff outside Hale Wainani getting ready for students to move in.

The university’s flagship campus in Honolulu’s Manoa neighborhood is generally a commuter school without much of a fraternity scene, Meisenzahl said. About 4,000 of 18,000 students live in campus housing.


Stopping Suicide

It’s the anniversary of the day that Robin Williams committed suicide so it seems like a good time to talk about this a little, it’s also less than a month from the day my brother took his life eleven years ago.  With a new baby at home I’ve been thinking a lot about my brother, he was thirty five when he died and now I am seven years older than he will ever be.  I’ve been through a divorce, I’ve had two daughters, and I’ve found someone to share my life with and some small degree of happiness.  Through the process of grieving and helping others to cope I found my best friend for life and together, well mostly her actually, we started this site.  Several of the most momentous and life changing events have happened to me in these last eleven years and specifically in the last seven years.  My first daughter was born, my second daughter was born, I went through a divorce, Steve Jobs enslaved mankind with his iPhone, Pizza Hut came out with a hot dog crust pizza, and many more exciting and dramatic things have happened, I just can’t think of them all at the moment.  Granted a hot dog crust pizza may not be the most life altering thing to have hit humanity, but it’s given me a lot of pleasure to see the looks on peoples faces when I tell them about it I can tell you that much.  They seem torn between wanting to try it and genuine despair for humanity.

My point is this.  The world has changed in a mere eleven years, and he missed it, all of it.  He missed the good and the bad, the absurd and the amusing.  He will always be thirty five and he’ll never have a chance to eat a hot dog crust pizza or at least make fun of it.

So lets talk about suicide.  The CDC compiles the information about it and the latest data is from 2013, you can peruse it yourself at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention here’s a quick overview.

Suicide is overwhelmingly committed by males.  78% of all suicides are male, and while females are three times more likely than males to attempt suicide they account for less than a quarter of actual suicides, that’s pretty staggering facts.  Just let that sink in a bit.  Just by being male you are four times more likely than a female to commit suicide, and if you are a white male in America you account for 70% of all suicides.

Age and location is also a big factor, the highest rates of suicide are grouped between 45 and 64 (the highest) and 85 and up (second highest).  Montana has the highest suicide rate of any state at 23.7 per 100,000 and the District of Columbia the lowest at 5.8 per 100,000.

There is even data on how people commit suicide, in the U.S. firearms account for the majority of suicides at 51.5% which is 27 percentage points higher than the next method which is suffocation.  In countries where firearms are inconveniently not available suffocation takes their place such as in the UK.

My point is this.  It doesn’t matter.  All the facts and the figures, all the prevention methods, all of it, meaningless.  This isn’t a popular stance I know, but it’s realistic.  We cannot prevent most suicides by talking to people.  Anyone that can be talked out of suicide most likely wasn’t going to do it in the first place.  Typically suicide is not a spontaneous action.  For the most part it is very well planned out and executed.  There is always exceptions to the rules, but that’s exactly what they are, exceptions.  Suicide is not going to be cured by talking.  Suicides will be eliminated when we figure out how to cure the underlying cause, not the result.  The result is suicide, the cause is mental illness.  Cure one and the other goes away.

In the meantime lets concentrate on working with people who have been effected by a suicide and helping promote mental health.  We can effect change in these areas.  I’m not saying we should get rid of suicide hotlines and support because there are people out there that still need them.  What I’m saying is lets concentrate on being effective and curing the root of the problem.

That’s just my two cents.


Pilot born without arms meets girl with same condition

Time is a finite resource

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No matter how many books we read, what time management systems we try, or how aware we are of the amount of time we are spending away from the things that really matter to us, inevitably we all find ourselves in the time crunch at some time or another.

For me this came this last month, my daughter Finley was born on the 19th of June, I had to be out of my place by the 17th of July while my new place wasn’t ready until August 1st, and it’s the busiest time of year for me at work.

When it gets like this you feel like you are jumping from one little fire to another, nothing very major but it all piles up and combine that with a serious lack of sleep and being disconnected from your partner and you have a serious strain.

There’s lots of people out there with advice, slow down, take it easy, stop and smell the flowers.  I’m always suspicious of people with this type of advice, mainly because for the most part they aren’t wearing pants.  It’s hard to take someone in a robe seriously, I mean what’s going on under there?  What are the rules for wearing robes?  Are they wearing robes because they can’t afford pants?  Are those actually curtains?  This makes it hard to concentrate on the subject on hand.  Self help guru’s really don’t seem to be on the same level as the rest of us, they are either some hard core business fanatic who sleeps in an oxygen chamber for three hours a night with five assistants and a smile like a shark, or a washed out hippy amiably chasing his eighteen year old interns around his hookah.  They don’t connect with real people and they don’t have real world problems.

So my advice is going to be simple.  I try to stick to these two rules and forget everything else.


First on my mind

  1. Whatever it is you are doing, make sure it is in the best interests of your family, I think of the two girls above first then I think about my partner.
  1. Don’t feel guilty.

There are going to be times in life when you have to spend time away from your family or pick and choose what you are going to do.  Be fair but be firm, you’re going to catch a lot of flak when you are away.  Just make sure what you are doing is in the best interests of your family.  Drinking beer at the local watering hole until 3am is great to blow off some steam and reset yourself but if it’s taking away time from your family, causing strife, and not adding to the overall wellbeing of your family, then it has to wait.

I frankly am not stopping to smell the flowers and I refuse to “take it easy”.  That’s not who I am.  I can’t rest easy until the things that need to be done for my family are done and that’s okay.  I have balance in my life but when the chips are down and there’s a deadline, you can’t slack off.


My final bit of advice is this.  Be prepared for the guilt trip.  Don’t get mad or angry at your spouse, it’s part of the deal.  They aren’t going to like it, don’t argue with them, don’t remind them of the losers that they could be with.  Just do what you have to do and let the actions speak for you.  As long as you are following rule one you have nothing to feel guilty about.

Be who you are and make it count.


Inside out and all around


Last week I took my seven year old to see inside out, it didn’t have the impact with her that Frozen had last year (what possibly could compete with frozen? I have all the songs memorized), but it had an impact with me.  Without throwing out any spoilers the overall message was that every emotion is essential to create a real human and secondly, sadness is an essential part of being an adult.  

What a great message, it’s only when one emotion takes over that we have real problems.  Each part of our psyche has an important part to play in keeping us safe and healthy.  

Just a thought, have a happy weekend!


Project Semicolon

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I ran across this the other day and thought I would share.  Take a quick look.

Project Semicolon

Blow off your post holiday blues

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Post holiday blues aren’t just for Thanksgiving and Christmas, if you’re anything like me you spent the July 4th weekend surrounded by family and friends, enjoying the great summer weather, barbecuing, and maybe having a few drinks.  Then it all goes away and you have to go back to work on Monday and face the prospect of a full week of mind numbing drudgery, or at least it feels that way after vacation.  Everyone is back to their lives and you’re feeling a little bit let down.  If so you aren’t alone.

Here’s a few tips for minimizing the letdown.

Limit Alcohol consumption.  Studies have shown that moderate intake isn’t all that bad, but excessive intake is actually linked to depression.  So have a few with your friends but don’t overdo it.  You’ll be happier the week after and there will be less stories that start with “Remember July 4th?  I’ve never seen anything like it. . . “   On a side note this is how most of my friends start conversations with me.

Prepare yourself.  You know it’s coming, you’ve been here before, so you can either choose the path of least resistance, Netflix binge and junk food, or plan ahead and give yourself something to do the week after.  As tempting as 100 episodes of Futurama or Departures and greasy pizza is, get out and do something.  Make plans to try something new, maybe a cooking class so you can make your own greasy pizza.  Anything to get you out of the house and into something new.

Exercise and Nutrition.  It’s a lot easier to feel good when you actually physically feel good, plan to exercise and eat right the week after, with your body feeling good, your mind will find it a lot easier to feel good too.  This is great advice that I never seem to be able to follow through with so don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t happen, just try again next time!

Surround yourself with people.  It’s hard to get out the week after a holiday, but make a big effort, make plans with your friends, go see a movie, have dinner (ahem. . . a healthy one right?  Right.), go for a walk and mark two things off your list.  Just do something to get out of your space and expose yourself to a new experience.

Hopefully if you do it right you’ll be too busy to be that let down after the holiday.

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