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Inside the U.S. Suicide Epidemic: Readers Respond

‘All-American Despair,’ Stephen Rodrick’s story on white-male suicide, struck a chord with readers, making it one of our most-read stories of the month. We received an outpour of letters in response to the article. Read some of them below. 

“Hope this is the right and working email. I just read your piece in full and wanted to reach out to say thank you. It must have been just a week ago at a bar with some friends from work when I went off onto a tangent about how the nation ignores what I perceive to be one of the saddest epidemics in a modern nation. I thought your piece did great justice to paying tribute to the sadness and heartbreak of the stories that all too often get forgotten.

Sadly, though I’m 27, my life has been touched by the suicides of 6 people I knew well. All male, all but one white. It pains me that my concern for this issue so often gets me painted as a men’s rights activist (nothing could be further from the truth, I’m about as left as they come), and I’m glad to see a heartfelt consideration of these issues. Though they certainly seem to manifest in the midwest and the middle aged, and among those with access to guns, I sadly think these issues go much deeper.

For whatever it’s worth, I just wanted to offer my thanks and my sorry to you for writing such a taxing story and for taking on that burden.”
-Frank, Brooklyn, NY

“Suicide is condemned as a selfish, cowardly, and preventable act. I get that. But I also understand that this life can become, for whatever reasons, an endless and unbearable torment for some who simply want it to end. Who just want to dissipate into ether, free from this grand and wonderous and meaningless shit show.”
-Ron, Taos, NM

“I wasn’t planning on getting much out of Stephen Rodrick’s story about white male suicide, but the lede drew me in. About three-quarters of the way through, I stopped, heated up a cup of coffee and thought about writing the author to tell him what a great job he’d done. Tell him to keep telling stories. It’s what he was born to do.”
-Julie, Port Townsend, WA

“Wow!!!! What a gripping article full of broken-hearted casualties of the suicide epidemic that is taking over our area of the country. No one around here is immune, these stories hit so close to home. Between the Springsteen lyrics from his beautiful new song and the last few paragraphs of the article I was openly weeping. And now I am on an active hunt for anything else written by Stephen Rodrick. Well done.”
-Melissa, Springville, UT 

I started reading this earlier this morning, and then found that I couldn’t stop. And then the ending… I’ve not stopped thinking about this piece all day long. Thanks for reporting and writing this.”
-Matt, via Twitter 

“Took me most of the day to read this but wow. I suffer from depression. Also lost a step brother (19) and a friend (37) to suicidal depression so I am also acquainted with the thoughts that creep in when I’m alone. I don’t think I ever could, but there are days. Powerful story.”
-Joe, via Twitter

“Heartbreaking. I grew up in Texas and this describes most of the men in my family. Thank you for writing it. I’m sharing it with everyone I know.”
-Kara, via Twitter

To submit a letter to Rolling Stone, email us at letters@rollingstone.com 

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