About me

I’m Cara Anna. I’ve been a journalist since the age of 16. Most recently I was reporting from China for a large news organization, and I’m now based in New York. This blog and what I say in it has nothing to do with my job or my employer.

I should add that suicide is not at the center of my life, but it’s part of what has shaped me. And yes, I’ve attempted suicide myself. At the moment, I feel the need to talk about it. I’m also a member of the attempt survivor task force with the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and the recently formed attempt survivor task force for the American Association of Suicidology. Again, the opinions on this blog are my own.

Please see my first blog post for a quick idea of my thinking. As I update this several months later, I can see how that thinking is changing a bit.

Because life is far more than this issue, here are a few things I love: Hiking, biking, Chengdu taxi drivers, good nonfiction writing, smart and supportive editors, the mountains of Pakistan and beyond, Central Park, public interest lawyers, Bollywood films.

You can follow this blog, and another site that I edit for the American Association of Suicidology, on Twitter at @AboutSuicide.

11 thoughts on “About me

  1. Hi Cara Anna, It was a pleasure to meet you in person at the Occupy the APA events, and I wanted to “thank you” for your very important work. Peace, Love and Liberation, Daniel

  2. I was pleased to discover your blog after watching a TED talk. I too am a suicide survivor — March 20, 2012– so it’s not quite been a year.
    I spent 9 weeks at Menninger’s in Houston, after a week in acute care here in NW Montana (and I had self-admitted two weeks prior to the attempt, in a last ditch effort to find help). Since returning home, it has definitely been difficult to reintegrate and continue recovery, especially because of lack of support. I did talk to a group of local therapists several weeks ago about this subject, because I have been trying to encourage the acute care place to start a depression support group and they wanted me to present the issue to the therapeutic community. Our first support group meeting was last Thursday, and our next one is tomorrow. Only one other person came, but it was still good, and the two interns that are facilitating are enthusiastic. I am hopeful.
    So…thanks for what you’re doing……(and BTW, I have a daughter from China and a shared love of the country, I believe! And I met a lovely woman who taught at a Chengdu University several years ago — we were both touring Xi’an.)
    Debi

  3. Good morning Cara. A friend of mine forward your TedTalk article to me yesterday for review. Unfortunately, my family has experienced the suicides of our brothers Dr. Marc Beloff and Judge Adam Beloff . They were identical twins and died 11 years apart. It has been quite a journey understanding the circumstances surrounding their deaths but also attempting to see what emotional elements and influences through out their lives brought each of them to their final act. I can tell you there are so many absolutes in review but that there are just as many uncertainties in the journey of understanding. For me, being a brother and understanding the genetic connection has required transparency of my own life and pinpointing common overlapping behaviors as well as differences in our decision making. I am still gathering and writing the absolutes of events of their lives as well as the on going chaos associated with acting as the executor to Adam’s estate. I am hopeful that the conclusions I draw, based on absolutes and some hypothesis will be helpful in understand the epidemic of suicide in our society. I applaud you for living and writing with transparency of your own triumphs and struggles. I hope your journey and desire to inform leads you to personal pride. Best wishes for your bright future.

    • My heart goes out to you,Josh. I’m so sorry for your loss. Please share whatever you can learn from your brothers’ lives and deaths with the major agencies which deal openly with suicide. My beautiful, over-accomplished, mid- 30′s medical professional daughter died by suicide 15 months ago (a “SUCCESSFUL” suicide with no known prior attempt). I have now learned about 1 attempt 5 months earlier. There seems to be no centralized, credible place where we survivors can share what we discover.from our “psychological” autopsies that would be helpful for other people struggling with thoughts of taking their own lives. A lot on this blog seems to trivialize the dark hole where death seems like, and is, for that person in the moment, the only viable option. Intended or unintended is irrelevant for the person who successfully ends her life!!

      • Ruth, I am so very sorry for your loss. Yes, it is a very complex subject which can often lead to more questions than answers. I do know that there are many pieces to the puzzle that guides me to understanding the specifics of each loss of my brothers. Some are clearly emotional indicators and others are as a result of actions taken that did not conclude in a manner they felt was acceptable. Both my brothers were hugely successful and were loved and respected by friends and coworkers. However, in both circumstances each were involved in relationships that were nothing less than toxic and undoubtedly influenced their behavior. They were both literally emotionally kicked and beaten when they were down. I have all the text messages to support the toxic and explosive nature of the relationships. My goal is to understand the specifics, learn from them and offer support to those who are the collateral damage of the act. When we and society fail to understand or comprehend we have a tendency to bury the memory and try to move forward anyway. It may turn out to be the appropriate course of action for some but from where I stand truth and transparency is critical to truly grasping the nature of any problem. My sadness and anger is in check for now. I am in the process of hearing from those who were very close to my brothers and hearing the details of what they witnessed in weeks prior to their death and how they feel about it. From what I heard thus far, most feel guilt, sadness and anger….. Normal emotions considering the circumstances. It will take time and patience before I come to conclusions. However, I am certain there will many who prefer I just tuck it in and move forward. In time.

    • Dear Josh, As an attempt-survivor, I also wanted–needed–to know and understand the emotional elements and influences that led to my own crisis–and thereby understand that of others. I am not sure what you mean by absolutes, but my own understanding came after an in-depth self-searching I can only share.

      • Absolutes= Actions taken by my brothers and others who came in contact with them. It is impossible to give with any certainty a cause and effect to any of this. Nature vs Nurture…who knows. It is different for each person.

  4. Cara, Excellent effort so far… stick around, would you? I’d like to invite you to a community risk reduction conference in Colorado in April. We need more people like you and JD Schramm reminding us that’s it’s ok to talk about risk because talking is the first step to doing.

    • Hi Einar,

      I lived in Colorado for 30 years before moving to Montana. I am happy to hear that you are working on these issues. It’s especially timely since my older daughter, who still lives there with her family, just told me today that two Douglas County students have committed suicide in the past week.
      I have been running a support group here for suicide attempt survivors/people with serious depression (I wrote my story for Cara last July “A lot of very hard work…”). There is a HUGE need for more talking, and it can’t happen soon enough. I am actually “coming out” nationally in an upcoming fund-raising publication for the Menninger Clinic in Houston, where I learned — quite late in life — how to manage my depression. If I hadn’t gone there, I wouldn’t be here!

      Thank you for all you are doing!!

      Debi Strong

  5. Dear everyone on this blog,
    Do you know about Amanda Todd’s plea for help on youtube? for anyone that doesn’t know about it
    Amanda suicided. She tried twice and it happened the 2nd time.
    The link for her plea to help is on this

    Go to that link.
    Never let it happen to you

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