Saturday, January 1, 2000

Q&A Kay Redfield Jamison: Suicide

Originally appeared in the Boston Book Review. Date Approximate.

Kay Redfield Jamison, a Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical school, is known for her two studies of bipolar disorder, "An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness" (1995), and "Touched With Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament"(1993). Her new book, "Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide", is an examination of suicide among the young.

The science is of the first water; it is fast-paced, and it is laying down, pixel by pixel, gene by gene, the dendritic mosaic of the brain. Psychologists are deciphering the motivations for suicide and piecing together the final straws -- the circumstances of life -- that so dangerously ignite the brains vulnerabilities. And throughout the world, from Scandinavia to Australia, public health officials are mapping a strategy to cut the death rate of suicide. Still the, effort seems unhurried. Every seventeen minutes in America, someone commits suicide.
     "Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide"

HB: Is there more suicide among young people than in the past?