By On October 20th, 2008

John McCain and Suicide

In a report on the presidential candidate's health, The New York Times revealed today that John McCain attempted suicide following a series of severe beatings while being kept as a prisoner of war.

The revelation is undeniably messy and reflects the complexities and discomfort that we, as a culture, have in talking about suicide. Was McCain's attempt noble and justifiable given his circumstances? He had every reason to believe he would again experience the unimaginable terror of torture at the hands of a merciless enemy. Was it an act of mental instability? God only knows what kind of dark psychological space a prisoner of war inhabits. And lastly, what does this suicide attempt have to say about his mental health as it pertains to the presidency of the United States?

Although the answers to the questions will become a part of the national debate in these next few week, there are already some certainties that we can derive. We now know that a person can go from attempting suicide to becoming a highly esteemed US Senator, and this simple fact pulls the curtain back on suicide's most grievous loss. When a suicide occurs, we certainly mourn the loss of a person's life, but we are also left with the gaping void of an unfulfilled future.

Let us hope that McCain's life will serve as a testament not simply to those who contemplate suicide, but also to those who have attempted it.

Click here to read Many Holes in Disclosure of Nominee's Health

Leave a Reply

Logo Logo

©2021 Brookhaven Hospital. All Rights Reserved.