THE BLOG

Cornell's President Calls for a National Suicide Dialogue

05/24/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I commend David Skorton, Cornell's University President, who instead of trying to sweep the subject under the rug, has taken the step of writing publicly about the suicides that have taken place at Cornell, and is calling for a national dialogue about suicide.

Many of us have been calling for the same, and so far nobody has been interested. But while the media has not embraced the subject, we, the survivors, do not like losing our sons and daughters to suicide, and those who have the power to open up and expand the dialogue need to step in and step up.

Show producers and anchors, don't wait for it to happen in your homes before deciding to intervene!!!!

I am also encouraged to see that I am not the only who believes that connectivity disconnects people. I think that we need to back in order to go forward.

Here is Skorton's open letter to the New York Times:

"On and off campus, there is an epidemic of suicide among young people that is one of the top three causes of death in that age group. As a father, teacher, physician and president of a university where we have recently experienced the horror of multiple suicides, I have long been concerned about this national public health crisis.

In a time of unrelenting connectivity, through Facebook, Twitter and our smartphones, paradoxically it is too easy to stop connecting directly with those most able to help our young people. What is the way ahead?

First, we need more research into the factors that lead to suicide in this age group and how to identify those at greatest risk. Second, on our campuses, we need to forge ever more effective partnerships among students, parents, teachers, counselors and administrators in support of our students. And third, students must learn that it is smart to ask for help.

If there is anything we can learn from the recent tragedies on our campus it is this: Being a caring community is important, but engaging the national dialogue is essential."

David J. Skorton
President, Cornell University
Ithaca, N.Y., March 19, 2010