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August 16, 1985

'Public health problem' of violence receives epidemiologic attention

JAMA. 1985;254(7):881-892. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360070015002

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In a darkened auditorium at a national medical meeting, a series of slides flashes on the screen. They show a young man pointing to where he shot himself in the chest. A tape player presents the man's introspective commentary, in which he speaks of how he has felt periodically depressed, abused alcohol and other drugs, alienated his girlfriend, and how one night he called the police, telling them that he was going to shoot himself.

The police came, the speaker says, and he "felt I had to go through with it." So, he says, he shot himself.

He survived to relate his story to psychiatrist Mark Rosenberg, MD, who tells the assembled physicians: "It's hard to learn about suicide because the people who have the answers are gone. His [the tape-recorded speaker's] story gives us some valuable insights."

This is only one unorthodox part of an unorthodox presentation in