The Mighty Logo

Tina Turner Shares One Word She Associates With Her Son's Suicide

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

It was only a few sentences in a longer interview about her career and new book, “My Love Story,” but Tina Turner, 78, shared a profound statement about her son’s recent suicide. Although it was brief, it’s an important reminder.

“I think Craig was lonely,” Turner told CBS News’ Gayle King. “That’s what I think really got him more than anything else.”

Craig Turner was Tina’s first-born son. He worked as a real estate agent in the San Fernando Valley in California until he died by suicide in July. His biological father was saxophonist Raymond Hill, but he was later adopted by Turner’s first husband, Ike Turner.

Suicide is complicated, and usually can’t be pinned down to one “cause.” In general, though, people who are lonely die earlier than those who have a strong support network, and social isolation is a risk factor for suicide. In fact, in a piece about his interpersonal-psychological theory of suicidal behavior, suicide researcher Thomas Joiner, Ph.D. wrote social isolation may be one of the more reliable suicide risk factors.

Indeed, a persuasive case can be made that, of all the risk factors for suicidal behavior, ranging from the molecular to the cultural levels, the strongest and most uniform support has emerged for indices related to social isolation.

It makes sense that loneliness would make someone who’s struggling more at risk of suicide. In a piece about how depression and loneliness interact, Mighty contributor B.L. Acker shared her perspective:

You close doors, put up walls and stop communicating. It is not long until you’ve distanced yourself for so long, you feel like you’re no longer entitled to reach out to those you have pushed away. You feel guilty for being a bad friend. You rationalize that since it has been so long since you’ve spoken to everyone, to contact them now just because you’re struggling more would be wrong. Even the thought of reaching out to anyone else feels awkward. You feel like you’re being unreasonably needy for even wanting or wishing someone was there. By this point, the depression has come into every aspect of your life. Everything feels utterly hopeless. You feel completely lost, isolated and alone, like no one else could possibly understand.

Suicidal thoughts can make you feel isolated, but no one is truly alone — and there is hope for people who are struggling with loneliness or suicidal thoughts. If you’re looking to support someone who may be lonely and struggling, the pieces below might be a good place to start:

Image via Wikimedia Commons/Philip Spittle

Originally published: October 16, 2018
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home