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Mary Richardson Kennedy Died from Asphyxiation by Hanging
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The wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Mary Richardson Kennedy, passed away due to asphyxiation by hanging, according to the Westchester County Medical Examiner’s Office. Kennedy’s body was discovered at an outbuilding on the couple’s property in Bedford, N.Y. on Wednesday. Her death has yet to be officially ruled a homicide. Psychologists recently said that events such as reported use of drugs and alcohol could have caused an increased risk for suicide.

“When these things come to together in just the wrong way, they can really put someone at greater risk of suicide,” said Dr. Ken Robbins. Robbins works as a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin. Robbins also said that 90 percent of those who commit suicide have a history of substance abuse to go along with a record of psychiatric illness. That illness is typically depression.

  
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“When it [depression] is combined with alcohol in particular, it increases the risk of suicide dramatically because of the disinhibiting effects of alcohol. It becomes much harder to talk yourself down from the suicidal thoughts,” Robbins said.

Mary Kennedy and her husband, the son of Senator Robert Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy, had four children. Mary Kennedy and her husband were married for 16 years. According to police records in 2007, Mary Kennedy ran into the road out of her car when Robert tried to take her to a psychologist’s office. In 2010, the couple filed for divorce, just one day after police were called to the couple’s Bedford residence for a ‘domestic incident.’ According to the police, Mary Kennedy was allegedly intoxicated, and she said that her husband was verbally abusive to her children and her. Just three days later, Mary was charged with driving under the influence as a result of running her station wagon onto a curb out front of a school close to her home. Then, in August of 2010, Mary was arrested once again for driving under the influence of drugs.

“Very often at the root of a person’s substance abuse problems is a depressive illness that comes out in some way with the family,” said Dr. Paul McHugh, a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical Institution. “But it’s tougher to say if the environment, the stress in family was provoking the depression, or the depression was provoking the trouble.”

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A professor and chief psychologist from Emory University School of Medicine, Dr. Nadine Kaslow, said that members of the family need to help each other with this tragedy, especially since Mary’s children range in age from 10 to 17.

“Suicide is one of the hardest deaths for a family to deal with,” Kaslow said. “It brings up all sorts of issues like who’s to blame, sadness, anger and guilt. It’s often tougher for families to stick together after a suicide, but it’s also very important to be able to do so.”





 

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