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Teen-Age Suicides: Causes, Prevention

March 30, 1987

As a parent who lost a teen-age son to suicide a year ago, I feel there are some points to be made regarding Pamela Cantor's article ("Teen-Age Suicide: The Unheard Cry for Help," March 17).

I realize that she was commenting specifically on the recent "outbreak" of teen suicides. But as the article begins to generalize, I think it leaves out one important area--that of the biological causes of depression which afflict many people who attempt or complete suicide.

It is important to note that there are many teen-agers, such as my son, who were not on drugs, did not drink alcohol, were very good students and who fought their illnesses valiantly over a period of years.

It is also important to note that there are many parents, teachers and doctors who worked constantly and vigilantly with these teen-agers. Sadly, as with many illnesses, despite the best of love and care, the patient does not always recover.

There is enough anguish and guilt inherent in the survivors of suicide. It is pointless and inappropriate to add to this burden.

One final point: Immediately next to the remarks on the damage caused by sensationalizing the suicides of others, you printed one of the most offensive photographs I have yet to see in The Times--that of a person jumping.

BARBARA GARY

Santa Monica

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