Suicide truly a global problem

Tuesday August 22, 2017 Published in Letters to the Editor
A feature on suicide in CINews last month has touched a chord with a social worker living in Switzerland. 17072032 A feature on suicide in CINews last month has touched a chord with a social worker living in Switzerland. 17072032

Shae Osborne’s story about suicide (CINews July 22) and the family she portrayed in it really touched me.


Suicide and mental health issues, for that matter are horrible, global phenomena and need to be addressed head-on.

Too many people are hurting because they don’t get the right support or in some cases, any at all. But what our society forgets all too often is, that the loved ones (family members, friends etc.) of a depressed individual are also suffering. They also need help!

I am writing to you from another, really beautiful and rich country: Switzerland, in Europe

This is where my wife and I currently live and work. We are both a truly multinational, multi-ethnic couple. The quote: “The world is your oyster,” actually has real meaning for us.

My wife is a school principal and school teacher. I am a former senior investment banker turned social worker (no kidding). We both work in the social field now, as we care for people very much.

Your story about the family’s loss of its son is unfortunately not unique to the Cook Islands. Even in a country like Switzerland, which looks like the perfect place from the outside, the suicide rates are alarmingly high.

The circumstances you mentioned in your article, that eventually led to the boy’s suicide are not all that different to what I witness here in Switzerland and in other places all too often.

Hard to believe, but the family in your story has a lot in common with many of the families here in Switzerland who have also experienced tragedy.

I am currently doing research on the beautiful Cook Islands for personal and professional reasons.

Therefore, I try to gather as much information on the Cook Islands as I can.

More importantly, I try to learn and understand what matters most to the wonderful people of your country. I really believe that the Cook Islands and its people have great potential.

There are actually some unique opportunities to be found on the Cook Islands for future growth.

            George McKell,


Leave a comment