At a time when much of the news is dismaying, last week brought a development that was, for a change, truly joyous. The rescue of a Thai soccer team, along with their coach, from the cave where they had been trapped for 18 days was a welcome conclusion to an at-times harrowing tale. While the death of one of the team’s rescuers—former Thai Navy SEAL Saman Kunan—prevents this ending from being an unequivocally happy one, the fact that the team is now out of immediate physical danger is something we can all celebrate.
In recent weeks, a series of events have brought suicide to the forefront of the public debate. The subject was highlighted by a recent CDC report, which found suicide in the US increased by more than 25 percent since 1999. According to the report, suicide rose in nearly every state in the country. The report also found that suicides increased by more than 30 percent in over half of states, and about 45,000 people died from suicide in 2016 alone. The suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain put a pair of well-known faces to these alarming numbers, and the public mourning that followed these deaths prompted not just reminiscences of the lives lost, but renewed efforts to understand the intractable, unpredictable public health hazard that claimed them.