03/11/1985 at 01:00 AM EST
After reading your article (PEOPLE, Feb. 18) on teen suicide I realized I wasn't the only one with a problem. A couple of months ago I attempted suicide. Luckily, I was discovered before I did any permanent damage to myself. But the trauma I faced afterward left an emotional scar. The hospital staff, the psychiatrists, my family, friends, even the police with their handcuffs, treated me as if I was some crazy neurotic kid. I wasn't.
Arthur L. Dorado
As the mother of a suicide victim, I commend Anne Spoonhour for her willingness to tell her family's story. My son was 21 years old and a college student, not a teenager, but the feelings are the same. Education is our most important tool in dealing with this epidemic. I suggest writing to your legislators. And I urge parents to keep the lines of communication open with their children.
Finally people are starting to realize how hard it is to be an adolescent. It seems like suicide is the only answer but it isn't. I'm glad I didn't succeed. I was 15 then and am 24 now. My life is not perfect, by any means, but I've learned to cope with everyday problems. I would like to tell teenagers, "Stick it out. It gets better. Just hang in there." I'm glad I did!
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
No child is going to commit suicide who has had a hug and five minutes of undivided and positive attention a day from its parents. Both parents!
Your story on teen suicide was well done. So was the movie Surviving. But for parents who are left in pain, like myself, where do we go for help in coping with the pain? As the article points out, we are no longer "ordinary people." Pastors, counselors and psychiatrists do not understand a pain they've never had to face. How do we parents rebuild our lives, prevent divorce and move out of shock and grief to hope? Is there such an organization?
There is no national organization for parents, but a suicide prevention service in your area can suggest local self-help groups and newsletters.
Your articles left me with a great sense of urgency! What can I do and where can I write to find out my role as a concerned and willing-to-help person? This problem is too real in our society. I want to be part of the solution.
For information on suicide prevention and counseling programs available in your area, contact the American Association of Suicidology, 2459 South Ash Street, Denver, Colo. 80222
I was one of those "deadbeats" who ignored my obligation to repay a student loan in the amount of $750 (which I only took because it was easy to get). After enjoying 10 years of gainful employment as a result of a college education, I experienced the ultimate humiliation when my mother intervened and paid the debt and $300 plus in interest. Of course I took advantage of the tax deduction for the interest Mom paid. But Mom got satisfaction in knowing her 30-year-old "baby" is no freeloader. Shame on me. Shame on Deadbeats.
Tell me your hard luck story, and I'll tell you mine. Why not give some press to the thousands of us who have, in good times and bad, managed to repay our government loans? As for the guy in Greenwich Village, I'd be embarrassed too if the whole world knew I had enough money to afford TVs and model Cadillacs, but not a school loan payment.... I agree with his friends, "Yo! Deadbeat!"
Robert A. Vecchiolla
Of the seven people you interviewed, only one, Donald Andrews, seems to have a good excuse why he hasn't repaid. The other six have no excuse whatsoever. They all took government loans, which they knew had to be repaid. Now they seem shocked that the government wants its money back. If they took the loans without intending to repay, then they should be labeled what they are—thieves.
Max A. Hartley
Jacqueline and André
Long a subscriber to the "live and let live" philosophy, I must draw the line somewhere—incest? Your attempt to evoke sympathy from your readers with the article on this French couple was in poor taste. What next, PEOPLE? Bestiality? Pedophilia?
Patrice A. Sonara
Picks & Pans
I was outraged after reading Scot Haller's opinion, not review, on The Breakfast Club. Is this man so old that he has forgotten what it is like to be young and have problems coping with life? Perhaps Mr. Haller needs to visit one of today's high schools and see how they have changed since his day. When you are young, your problems—to you—are as great as nuclear war.
Oklahoma City, Okla.
At 30, Scot Haller doesn't care to think it's been that long since his 1973 graduation from Cincinnati's St. Xavier High.
Maybe your movie critic didn't watch The Breakfast Club closely—or maybe he was never a kid. As a teenager of 14, I felt like someone had written it especially for me. I laughed and cried with these kids that I see every day. It is a work of art that should be seen by every parent, teacher and student. It deserves A pluses all the way. Have you ever considered a teenage critic for your magazine?
Coral Springs, Fla.