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Published:July 17th, 2006 02:00 EST
Veronica Decides to Die

Veronica Decides to Die

By Krzys Wasilewski

Veronica does not remember how it happened. The pills she took made her comfortably lethargic. She felt herself drifting off to sleep when the doors burst open and an unknown man ran into her room. When she woke up the man who saved her life was no more. Later she found out that the mysterious guardian was her online friend. Veronica wanted to end her life. But she did not want to die in the same way as she lived " alone. Instead, she logged on to a chat room, turned on her webcam and informed the people about her plans. At first nobody believed her. After all, the Internet is a place where anybody can be somebody and few things that happen there are real. The chatters only grew suspicious when Veronica swallowed a handful of pills. Dozens of people witnessed the suicide attempt, but only one reacted. By coincidence, there was a policeman who had known Veronica from previous chats. He had never met her out of the Internet and had little idea of who she really was but that did not stop him from rushing to rescue. Several minutes later he was in her flat, saving his online friend`s life.

Not everyone has such good luck like Veronica. Most of suicide-to-bes choose to leave the world far from the public eye. With no friends to talk to, no support from relatives, no help from psychiatrists " they lock themselves away. Then the Internet may be their only hope.

A place of hope & compassion for the severely depressed and suicidal. " Using the Internet`s biggest advantage " its animosity " the site encourages people like Victoria not to be afraid to share their worries and concerns with others. Nobody promises that it will be easy: Life may be absolutely unbearable. You may want to just close your eyes and cease to exist. " But, like a good friend, this website will be here to take you by the hand, to understand how you feel, to comfort your suffering, hold on to your life, support you through crisis, and pull you through treatment. " In this case is more than a good friend. Among various links with practical advice from psychiatrists and those who defeated their depression, there is also the Suicide Crisis Center where the desperate may send an e-mail to crisis counselors or simply call one and get a load off his or her mind. It works " it is easier to tell your problems to someone you cannot see and will hear of never again.

But there are two sides of the same coin. The Internet may be an incalculable help for desperate people like Veronica. But the Internet may also make suicides a lot easier. Whereas Japan is renowned for its advanced technology and the great role it plays in everyone`s lives there, the country is also notorious for the growing number of mass suicides first planned on the Internet. The idea is simple: one desperate announces the time and place; others follow him. Only last month the Japanese police registered three such cases where people met for the first time just to take on their lives together. Unfortunately, despite the Government`s pledges to work on the problem, the trend is expected to continue.

The modern world is not an easy place to live in. With the accelerating tempo of life, the increasing pressure from the outside " depression has become an intrinsic part of daily reality. More and more people are single, have no one to talk to and one way or another become prone to have suicidal thoughts. Not always there is a watchful policeman at the post. But it is always possible to type several letters in a browser and find someone ready to help us.