How to cope with "survivor's guilt"

Posted at 6:39 PM, Apr 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-15 18:39:32-04

Thirteen videos uploaded to YouTube, 50 pages of goodbyes to his parents, sister, aunts, friends, a list of resources and a book over 300 pages long titled "A Most Reasonable Death" are all that Patrick Kegan Cochrane left when he took his life earlier this week.

"I just really wanted to leave something behind for people to better understand the situation of things, the state of affairs of things," Cochrane explained in one of his videos.

"Kegan was brilliant, spoke so many languages and loved learning," said Keara White, a friend of Kegan's. "And, yeah so we'll, we are gonna graduate next month and so losing him this quickly towards the end is surprising to all of us."

White met Kegan five years ago when the two were seniors in Wyoming and traveled to MSU together to receive the STARR Scholarship.

"Everyone who's around us has really been supportive and involved and engaged in this in checking on us and working through this grief with us," White said.

That supportive community is what MSU's Chair of the Department of Psychiatry, Dr. Jed Magen, said will help people push through such a tragic event.

"You have to ultimately come to some understanding that you can't help everybody, you know, individuals do have some free will about these things. And, sometimes, you know, awful things happen and you have to come to some peace with that," he explained.

He told me you can't hold on to that feeling of guilt.

Dr. Magen explained, "It's natural to feel guilt. The question is, what are you gonna do with that? And, how will you deal with that guilt over time? You gonna be immobilized or are you gonna eventually be able to carry on and deal with all the other important things and the other important people in your life?"

Which is probably what your loved one would wish for you.

Dr. Magen told Fox 47 News adult suicides are on the rise right now with older men at the highest risk. And, the likelihood rises if there's a gun in the house.

Help is available if you or someone you know is struggling.


Listening Ear Crisis Center (517) 337-1717

Gateway Community Services, Statewide Crisis Lines (517) 351-4000

Michigan Association for Suicide Prevention, Contact: Larry Lewis (734) 624-8328

NAMI Michigan 800-331-4264, (517) 485-4049

Mental Health Association in Michigan (248) 647-1711

Ele's Place (517) 482-1315