A Massachusetts woman has been sentenced to two and a half years for encouraging her boyfriend to commit suicide through texts and phone calls. Michelle Carter, now 20, will serve 15 months of her term behind bars and five years of probation. Carter was convicted in June of the involuntary manslaughter of Conrad Roy, who took his own life on 13 July 2014. Mr Roy's father told Thursday's hearing: "My family is heartbroken. My son was my best friend."
A week after the back-to-back suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain renewed the national conversation over mental health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released numbers showing that America's overall suicide rate has climbed by a whopping 30 percent since 2000. On Thursday, the CDC released a second report that breaks down the data on the nearly 45,000 Americans who took their own lives in 2016, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death. Every state except Nevada saw an uptick from 1999 to 2016, and within certain demographics, those upticks were disturbingly dramatic. In a blog post last week, Mother Jones' Kevin Drum noted that the United States isn't the only nation with an increase in suicides. But here at home, where President Donald Trump claimed he would "tackle the difficult issue of mental health" in the wake of the Parkland shootings, his administration has done little on the issue.
Canadian legislators may soon pass a law extending the right to physician assistance in dying, also known as physician-assisted suicide, to the mentally ill. The possibility of such a move, which would bring Canadian policy somewhat into line with Dutch and Belgian policies, stems from a 2015 decision by the nation's highest court that mentally competent Canadian adults suffering "intolerably and enduringly" from a physical ailment have the right to a doctor's help in dying. Since that decision, Canadian lawmakers have been working to revise their statutes so they conform to the high court's ruling. The debate gained attention because of the suicide of prominent blogger Adam Maier-Clayton, 27. He suffered from severe mental illness and argued for including those like himself – who tried numerous medications, treatments and therapies that did not relieve his torment – in the classes of people covered by assisted suicide laws.
Dese'Rae L. Stage keeps a list of things that make her happy. It includes going to the movies alone, walking around with a giant cup of coffee, and quiet time with her wife. She learned a long time ago, after attempting suicide, that gratifying distractions and reminders of life's small pleasures might save her in a moment of crisis. Stage knows that even if a person once attempted or contemplated suicide, it doesn't mean that's how their life will end. She knows this because she's a living example.