Kurt Cobain, lead singer and songwriter of the alterative rock
band Nirvana, took his own life 10 years ago Monday. Cobain’s
songs, heavy with angst and anguish, struck a chord with a nation
of disenchanted youth. Full of overwhelming adulation, Cobain
almost unfairly had the title of “spokesman for a generation”
thrust upon him. Constant media attention followed, and, coupled
with the physical ailments that Cobain suffered throughout his
life, the musician was carried to the depths of depression, drug
addiction and ultimately suicide.

In the past decade, Americans as a whole have become more
conscious of the mental and physical pressures that can affect both
youths and adults. Suicide awareness has grown considerably over
that time in conjunction with the spotlight Cobain’s death brought
to the issue. Numerous organizations have been founded in
commitment to educating people about the issue of suicide and its
causes. Many universities, including this one, offer
suicide-counseling services for students. We applaud the various
organizations that have committed themselves to finding ways to
educate people about suicide and have made efforts to end the

The Mental Health Center of Dane County has offered youth crisis
services for more than a decade. The organization primarily
monitors the need for involuntary hospitalizations, but sees a
relatively constant flow of troubled youths in need of counseling
for suicide contemplation. Similar services are provided for adults
facing mental disorders and substance abuse problems that often
fuel the idea of suicide. The center also offers a 24-hour suicide
hotline at (608) 208-2600.

Similarly, Helping Others Prevent and Educate about Suicide
(HOPES), a Madison non-profit organization, has held an annual walk
for suicide awareness for the past five years. The organization is
committed to educating and informing both the youths and adults of
Wisconsin about the particulars of suicide. HOPES’ sixth-annual
Walk for Awareness will take place May 8, 2004. More information
about the Walk for Awareness can be found on their website,

The University of Wisconsin Health Services offers counseling to
all members of the UW-Madison community. In wake of the events of
the previous week, staff in the Offices of the Dean of Students are
available by phone to coordinate support and connect students in
crisis to resources, both on and off campus.

We applaud the efforts of these organizations that no doubt work
tirelessly to educate and inform people about suicide in efforts to
end a very preventable problem.