J. Timothy Hogan, publisher of the Taunton Daily Gazette in Massachusetts, died by suicide in 1998 at age 36. He left a letter that detailed his attempt to secure proper treatment, and, tragically, the lack of response to his crisis by medical professionals. He asked his family to make his letter public (see We Remember tab) as a way to help erase the stigma of mental illness and assist those in need. His mother Pat Scoones established the foundation in 2000 to meet the needs of those in mental crisis. Transforming her grief into passionate advocacy, she worked with Suicide Prevention Advocacy Network (SPAN) and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) and met many people who were suffering with mental illness or lost someone to suicide. The Foundation was established on the premise that mental illness starts in childhood and immediate intervention is need when someone is in crisis, regardless of financial circumstances. “I founded the Foundation in my son’s honor to help children get the treatment they need and hopefully not wind up in crisis as adults, “ she says. She and the Foundation’s advisory board have established a network of doctors and therapists responsive to the immediate needs of Foundation clients.
Is our nation’s health care system able to help people suffering from depression? Tim Hogan, a Massachusetts newspaper publisher, repeatedly sought help but found none, and committed suicide. In an exclusive interview, his family speaks publicly for the first time. Experts and advocates say Hogan’s experience is common -- and unacceptable.
From The Infinite Mind:
MEN & SUICIDE: THE TRAGEDY OF J. TIMOTHY HOGAN
Week of December 28, 1998 (Originally aired September 21, 1998)
The tragic death of Tim Hogan, publisher of the Taunton, Massachusetts Daily Gazette, is a reminder that today's health care system is often unable to help people with mental illness. Hogan, a 36-year-old executive, had kept his severe depression hidden from close friends and family. His repeated efforts to get a psychiatric referral from his HMO and referral hotlines were fruitless. Doctors from his HMO couldn't provide him with immediate treatment. At one point he was referred to a mental health clinic but they told him they wouldn't take his insurance. When he offered to pay with cash, he was again turned away, told they didn't take cash "because it was too expensive."
May 14, 1998, just three months after finding his dream job, running a daily newspaper, Hogan killed himself. His family has made no public comment until now. Tim Hogan's sister, Althea Davis, speaking for the family, broke that silence with The Infinite Mind's June Peoples. They hope that the story of his death will awaken the health care community, so that other lives will be saved.
She recalls that only rarely did she ever see him sad or depressed, and while she knew he was dealing with some personal issues, never imagined how serious his condition was. Ms. Davis read the suicide note in which Hogan described his efforts to find help, and blasted the nation's health care system. She tells us that "I was angry that our country, our society has gotten to the point of not having empathy or feelings for our fellow man and that insurance companies and even doctors have become so tuned-out to the needs of individuals, that my brother had to end up taking his life to ease his pain."
To read the entire article go to http://www.lcmedia.com/mind9822.htm
THE INFINITE MIND is a weekly radio show on National Public Radio (NPR) focusing on the art and science of the human mind and spirit, behavior, and mental health. Since its premiere in March 1998, it has become one of the most popular science and health shows on public radio. Each week The Infinite Mind addresses one topic -- the full spectrum of issues involving the human mind.