IF death is a difficult subject to talk about, then suicide has got to be tens of times tougher.

My brother tells me that within the space of a week two people he knows both shot and killed themselves.

I should say now that he lives in America, and the deep south at that, so there’s a good deal more access to guns.

One apparently planned things well, notes, phone messages to loved ones and one clean shot.

The other poor fellow got it wrong and took six hours to bleed to death before being found in his kitchen.

It is, of course, hard to imagine what state of mind, or more accurately how out of your mind, you must be to contemplate such an action.

But in a week when there have been another two desperately sad stories, featuring people who appear to have chosen to jump from high buildings rather than continue to live, it has once again raised the question of suicide.

As a young reporter I myself witnessed the aftermath of a husband/wife suicide pact which was so horrific I’m still not allowed to report the details to you.

Suicide was decriminalised in 1961 and everyone has every sympathy for anyone driven to such an action, but as a civilised society, there is still so much more we need to consider.

Not being afraid to talk about suicide is a good starting point, and while no-one can expect a suicidal person themselves to consider the effect on those left to deal with the aftermath, this should also be a talking point.

In many cases voluntary euthanasia would not solve the problems, but I know in two of the four cases I’ve mentioned, the protaganists would definitely have taken this as a preferred option.

This in itself raises even more ‘delicate’ questions, but it’s definitely time for us all to start debating the pros and cons of suicide.