If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the Maine Crisis Hotline at (888) 568-1112 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK (8255).
As the news circulated on Nov. 20 that Bangor High School had announced a student’s suicide over the school’s public address system, Bangor City Council Chair Clare Davitt was prompted to publicly criticize the school’s response.
It was more than what she was hearing from parents that caused her to speak out. It was her personal experience with suicidal thoughts and her two suicide attempts.
Davitt, who became the City Council chair earlier this month, has Bipolar II disorder, which is characterized by swings between depression and mood elevation.
“Not every person who is suicidal has mental illness and not every person with mental illness is suicidal, but in my case, when I was 13, I attempted suicide,” she said. “And then I, actually in 2014, also attempted again. And so to me, you have to talk about it.”
Last year, Davitt voluntarily sought treatment at Northern Light Acadia Hospital in Bangor because she recognized the signs that she was again at risk.“I didn’t attempt suicide, but the tape that says, ‘Kill yourself,’ was playing again,” she said.
Davitt, who works at the Bangor Public Library as a reference librarian, is a board member of the Maine chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.