The Mayor of Springfield,Illinois and Bernie Madoff’s son, and less known people like your neighbor or your co-worker may have all taken their own lives. A thought like “what a waste of human life” crosses our minds, but I believe we mostly ponder about what could drive a person to kill themselves.

I thank God that I have never been there. Nothing has ever seemed terrible enough to get me to consider doing myself in. I even back away from railings in tall buildings when random thoughts turn to how I would go splat if I somehow fell. I don’t know how window washers are able to quiet the part of the mind that’s preoccupied with “what if I fall?” I certainly can identify with ABM CEO, Henrik Slipsager who during a recent episode of Undercover Boss cut short a window washing assignment. So with most of us determined to stay alive, what could make someone want to choose death?

A review of notes left behind by those committing suicide, or a look at their lives often reveals a state of mind where sufferers believe their problems are insurmountable and they have nothing to live for - they feel worthless. Sure, one can convince oneself that this is true, but most problems are solvable and a choice can always be made to find something to live for. And even if mounting problems seem overwhelming and it’s hard to identify a good reason to live, consider what really will happen if you take your own life.

I can attest to the fact that the fallout is terrible. On those occasions when I have encountered the real victims after a suicide, it’s as if an emotional bomb has detonated. In addition to the typical grief that comes with a loss, there’s the guilt. Adults like spouses, parents, siblings and friends initially feel like they should have somehow seen it coming and prevented it. Later grown ups often conclude that the suicide was a selfish and cowardly act. On the other hand, children in their innocence seem to reduce suicide to its simplest form - abandonment. They feel hurt and angry and we can only pray that they get the help needed to avoid turning the pain on themselves and others.

“What a waste” is apropos not only for the fatality, but all the emotional capital friends and families must expend just to cope in the aftermath of a tragic suicide.

During this holiday time, know that it is always the right season to save a life -- including your own. You may be able to come up with reasons to take your life, but there are many more reasons to save your life. In your hour of distress give those who are committed to being your lifeline a chance to help.

You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.

I thank and salute crises hotline workers everywhere for helping you, my fellow man or woman. Be well, and may God be with you. I’ll conclude with the caring words my teen goddaughter would say whenever I was leaving on travel: “don’t die”.

Author's Bio: 

Retired DEA Special Agent in Charge holds a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice and Criminology earned at the University of Maryland. She has 28 years of law enforcement experience from 3 different agencies including the Detroit Police Department and Central Michigan University’s Department of Public Safety.

Ms. Werdlow Rogers is the Author of Becoming Ethically Marketable: A Guide for Criminal Justice Majors and Recruits). She also was a contributing author in the book Police Psychology into the 21st Century (Kurke and Scrivner) writing Chapter 11 on Counseling and Diversity Issues. Ms. Werdlow Rogers’ newest book CRACKING THE DOUBLE STANDARD CODE: A Guide to Successful Navigation in the Workplace was released in June, 2010 by Cable Publishing.

In March, 2010 Ms. Werdlow Rogers was named WIFLE’s (Women in Federal Law Enforcement) regular columnist for the online law enforcement resource. Additionally she has written numerous articles on ethics, leadership, victimization avoidance and about the dangers of drug use and drug trafficking. Ms. Werdlow Rogers has been interviewed on television and radio bringing forth a message to encourage and equip the forward minded.

Ms. Werdlow Rogers has been a speaker on numerous occasions among diverse audiences, including national professional conferences, colleges and universities, and at numerous training seminars (see attachment). Her many public appearances are often quoted and widely accessible via the internet. Ms. Werdlow Rogers has received numerous awards. She has held membership in many organizations including the International Association of the Chiefs of Police, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, served on the executive staff for the Interagency Committee of Women in Federal Law Enforcement (ICWIFLE), and was at one time a church trustee. Currently she is a member of WIFLE and the Michigan Women’s Foundation.

Ms. Werdlow Rogers developed a videotape and presentation entitled “Dangerous Liaisons: Drug Dealers and You,” designed to inform people about the dangers of involvement with drug dealers, and to provide information about how drug dealers behaviorally operate. She continues to educate community groups in a presentation entitled “Risky Business: How to Avoid Involvement in the Drug Trade,” in an effort to reduce drug facilitation. In 2007, her efforts led to the nationally recognized Generations Rx: Children in the Medicine Cabinet, a public awareness effort aimed at reducing pharmaceutical drug abuse through a unique forum. This novel campaign piloted in Brockton, MA offered a drug identification and drop zone, permitting the public, for the first time, to properly dispose of unwanted drugs and learn the identity of any surrendered drug that the participants suspected was being abused by loved ones.

Articles written by Ms. Werdlow Rogers may be accessed at her website You may contact her via email at