Norman Farberow is acknowledged to be one of the founding fathers of suicide prevention.  In the 1940's, while pursuing his doctoral studies, Farberow started to recognize an urgent need to look more deeply into the causes of suicide, and to think about better ways to prevent it. He wanted to help remove the stigma associated with suicide.

October 26, 2015

Slipped Away

A memoir about Steve Tarpinian by Jean Mellano

October 26, 2015

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jean Mellano


WANTAGH, N.Y. — Over 70 years after Norman Farberow set out to lift the taboo related to suicide, many people still do not want to discuss the causes of suicide and ways to prevent it. "After my partner of over 33 years took his own life on March 15, 2015,"  Slipped Away author Jean Mellano says, "initially, I too, did not want to tell anyone how Steve had died and was advised by more than one person to not include that fact in the memoir."

Suicide and depression statistics in this country are alarming. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention[1] and the Center for Disease Control[2], the following are facts about suicide:

  • Currently, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
  • A person dies by suicide about every 12.8 minutes in the United States.
  • Every day, approximately 112 Americans take their own life (just over 40,000 per year).
  • Veterans comprise 22.2% of suicides.
  • 25 million Americans suffer from depression every year.
  • Depression is among the most treatable of psychiatric illnesses. Between 80 percent and 90 percent of people with depression respond positively to treatment, and almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms. But first, depression has to be recognized.

People should not have to feel discomfort when talking about suicide or depression. Generally speaking, these topics tend to be swept under the rug. Polio, breast cancer, and HIV/AIDS had similar stigmas attached to them in years past. These illnesses are now treated and spoken about as the illnesses that they are. In 2016, note the contrast below in the disparity between two similar awareness events held at Jones Beach, NY in October.

  • On October 16, 2016, according to Newsday[3], over 65,000 participants raised over $2.5 million to fight breast cancer at the Making Strides of Long Island breast-cancer awareness walk.

  •  On October 23, 2016, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Out of the Darkness Walk, which benefits suicide prevention research and education programs raised over $286,000 as of 11/6/2016 with approximately 2800 participants.[4].  

While breast cancer statistics are alarming (about 40,450 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2016 from breast cancer)[5], as a society, we need to get to at least the same point of awareness and support with mental illness as we have with breast cancer. 

Some progress has been made. Celebrities like Lady Gaga and Sarah Silverman have recently disclosed their battles with depression to the public. The fact that the well-known and beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams suffered from depression and took his own life was not suppressed by his family or in the media. The more dialogue there is about mental illness, perhaps more people will talk about their troubles and feel empowered to get the help they need and so desperately deserve.

Slipped Away does not have any answers or solutions, but it does tell the story (through the eyes of many, not just from the author's perspective) of an accomplished athlete, coach, and visionary entrepreneur. Steve Tarpinian was a kind and compassionate soul in spite of his own personal struggles. He was someone who impacted so many lives in a powerful and positive way. If someone like Steve, perceived by many to "have it all," suffered from depression and took his own life, it can happen to anyone.

For more information about Slipped Away, please visit the website at


Slipped Away 

Press Release

When can we talk freely about depression and suicide?