Suicides and deaths from drug overdoses claim the lives of about 80,000 Americans each year. But typically, suicide or drugs are not mentioned as the cause of death in obituaries or during memorial services.
Maiken recently interviewed a Delaware woman, Liz Perkins, who lost her son John to addiction. In his obituary, she chose the words he died “following a long struggle with addiction.” She had hoped to “make it okay” for families to open up about drug addiction or suicide, but says that hasn’t really happened, and obituaries for young people continue to say “died suddenly.”
Liz wrote an essay for NewsWorks about her experience, and why she decided to be open about her son’s addiction.
In their weekly conversation, WHYY’s behavioral health reporter Maiken Scott and psychologist Dan Gottlieb discuss the silence that surrounds so many deaths.