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May 16, 1986

My Dear Colleague: Are You Considering Suicide?

Author Affiliations

Waycross, Ga

JAMA. 1986;255(19):2599-2600. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370190083012

To the Editor.—  My first reaction to your COMMENTARY, Dr Victoroff,1 was one of anger. What on earth do you know about suicide? How can you interpret the response of your colleague's family? How do you know what leads a physician, or anyone, to the ultimate act of self-destruction?Perhaps I should first tell you that I'm one of the people you addressed in your COMMENTARY. I'm a 40-year-old physician, the mother of three, the wife of a physician. My father committed suicide 15 years ago. I'm not sure if our family will ever recover from that tragedy. Perhaps we should have coped better: at least one of his siblings met the same end, at a time when no one discussed such things. So when my sister had an acute depressive break several years later, and when familial unipolar depression was diagnosed, my own seasonal bouts of insomnia, paranoid