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Dawn Harris Memorial

Dawn Harris
Dawn Harris

Remembering an Angel:
Doctor Dawn Harris

by Kevin Caruso

"Dawn just expected too much of herself, pushed herself too hard. She was a perfectionist. She was someone who was striving to provide as much as she could for other people and not concerned for her own welfare. She judged everything she did too highly; she cared for everyone and loved her job. She had become depressed because of the stress of the job she longed to do but also because she couldn't do more to help heal people."

Those words were spoken by the husband of Dr. Dawn Harris, Michael Churchill, shortly after Dawn died by suicide.

Dawn, 38, hanged herself. Her body was found by her husband at their home in Greater Manchester, England.

Dawn was a devoted family doctor.

She was enthusiastic, hard working, energetic, and intelligent. Everyone liked her. And she had a wonderful medical practice.

Her husband saw her a few hours before she died; he said that she appeared fine and that they had discussed their next vacation.

So, what happened?

Doctors are supposed to be strong and smart. They shouldn't have mental disorders, right? And they shouldn't die by suicide, right?

Wrong. Anyone can have a mental disorder. And anyone can die by suicide.

Dawn was strong and smart, but she was also human. Perhaps she did not seek help because she did not want to be labeled as mentally ill. Seen as weak. Seen as being an unfit doctor.

But she was a fit doctor. She was a great doctor. And she was not weak, she just needed help. She probably was depressed, and expended an enormous amount of energy hiding her depression. Her untreated depression caught up with her, and she died by suicide.

If you are depressed or suicidal, hiding your feelings will only exacerbate them. You need to get help now.

If you are suicidal, call 911 or 1-800-SUICUDE or your local emergency number.

Tell someone that you trust about how you feel.

Take action.

There is no shame in having a mental disorder or being suicidal. It is just like having any other medical condition. And that means that you need to be diagnosed and receive treatment.

So if you need help, get it now.

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