Local author hopes to ‘smash the stigma’ of suicide

SAN DIEGO – La Jolla Cove is a sacred place for author Sebastian Slovin. At age 6, he and his mother and younger sister spread the ashes of his father, Vernon Slovin.

“Anytime my dad’s name came up or anytime suicide was mentioned, the subject would be changed,” Slovin said. “Anytime I got close to talking about it, I felt like I was judged right away.”

But after suffering with his father’s suicide for decades, Slovin took the unique and uncomfortable path of starting that conversation about suicide, writing the book “Ashes in the Ocean: A Son’s Story of Living Through and Learning From His Father’s Suicide.”

“Facing what I had been running away from, which was feeling like I was destined to follow in my father’s footsteps,” Slovin said.

For the last few years, Slovin has investigated his father’s death in an attempt to understand why suicides happen and how it might be prevented in others.

“It’s not just these high-profile people, it’s happening to more people everywhere and it’s absolutely time to smash the stigma," Slovin said.

Slovin says in recent high-profile suicides he sees a potential similarity with what his father, who was a world-class champion swimmer, suffered with.

“Money comes and goes, we’re going to get older, we’re going to slow down, depending on what it is -- my dad’s was a lot based on his physical ability,” Slovin said.

Slovin said with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s shocking statistic of a 25 percent increase in suicides since 1999, people need to physically connect, reach out and help one another and never suffer in silence.

“There is no shame in having these types of thoughts or issues and it’s a matter of taking the next step and finding help or talking to someone and finding the resources that work best for you,” Slovin said.

If you or someone you know needs help, the crisis hotline number is 888-724-7240.