Daniel Patry and Gabriel Kuhn. Daniel Patry, the son of a family friend, was spending the summer with his family in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa. The Patrys were avid campers, and Daniel had grown up spending much of his time outdoors. They had recently purchased a two-bedroom house on a large piece of land. During the first few weeks of their stay in South Africa, Daniel’s parents hosted several guests over for dinner. At the end of one such evening, Daniel asked where his friend Gabriel Kuhn was staying for the holidays. He didn’t know him very well because they had only met once before and that was at a family wedding many years ago. But he knew that they were now living nearby in Stellenbosch as well as playing together every week at their local soccer club.
How Daniel Patry killed his 12-year-old pal Gabriel Kuhn
Many years ago, Daniel Patry’s parents hosted a friend for dinner who, like Daniel, had grown up with a friend named Gabriel Kuhn. Gabriel was 12 years old at the time and Daniel was only six. The two boys were best friends, until Gabriel’s parents died in an accident (a car crash) when he was nine years old. Gabriel’s mother took him out of school so that he wouldn’t be left alone and without support after the death of his parents. Somehow, they lost touch and didn’t see each other for many years. After Daniel’s family moved to South Africa, he found out that Gabriel was living nearby in Stellenbosch, not too far from the family’s new house.
The ‘perfect storm’ of suicide attempts and stigmas
After the dinner, Daniel Patry and his family stayed up to talk with Gabriel’s mother and father, who were also his friends from when Daniel was a kid. The conversation was about their son, Gabriel, and his recent struggle with depression and an attempt to kill himself. The family described Gabriel’s attempts to kill himself as a ‘perfect storm’ of stigma. They admitted that they tried to “help” him by not accepting the cut wrist as a sign of depression and instead treating it as a “trick” that he was trying to play on them so that he could stay home from school and get some attention. The family even called the school’s counseling service to ask them to talk to him and “help” him get better.
Daniel Patry confesses to the crime and is arrested
While Daniel Patry’s family was visiting, Gabriel’s parents hosted a barbecue for Daniel’s family and friends on their property. It was Gabriel’s birthday and he had invited Daniel to come over to celebrate with him. Gabriel’s parents were happy to see Daniel again. They were surprised to hear that Daniel Patry had known that Gabriel was living nearby, but they were relieved to hear that he had no idea why Gabriel had attempted suicide. After a while, Daniel and Gabriel’s mother went out to the barn to get some fresh air. Gabriel stayed inside with Daniel and his mother. When they came back in, Daniel was talking about how Gabriel had tried to kill himself once before, when he was nine years old. Daniel told Gabriel’s mother that he had cut his wrist, too.
What led to Daniel’s desperate decision?
Both Gabriel and Daniel Patry had recently stopped taking their medication. In the days leading up to his suicide attempt, Gabriel complain that he is feeling “crazy” and was “scared”. When Gabriel’s mother asked him if he had been feeling more depressed without his medication, he said that he had. He was feeling more down, and he was having trouble sleeping. He also said that he hadn’t been able to focus on his schoolwork. Gabriel’s mother was concerned because he never missed school, and he always seemed like his “normal self” when he was in the house. He explained that he was having trouble sleeping because he was struggling to concentrate.
The depression and suicidal ideation in a young boy
While people have disagreed about the cause of suicide for many years, most agree that it is a complex disorder. It is not “curable,” and it is usually not something that someone suddenly decides to do, even though it might feel like that from the outside. The risk of suicide is higher in people who are currently experiencing negative emotions like sadness and even mild depression. People who are experiencing depression (which often goes untreated) are at a higher risk of attempting suicide and may have a greater likelihood of carrying out a suicide plan if they do decide to act on it
The narrative of the suicide of Daniel Patry’s best friend, Gabriel Kuhn, is one that is unfortunately too common in our world. It is a story of a young boy who was suffering from depression and had an attempt to kill himself. Like many people who attempt suicide, his family and friends thought that they knew best and that he was simply just playing a trick on them. Fortunately, in this case, his family and Daniel were aware of these stigmas and were able to help Gabriel before it was too late.