The Tragic Suicide of Stephen tWitch Boss Reveals Mental Health Obstacles

Content warning: This blog contains discussion of suicide.

Marcia Sirota
2 min readDec 19, 2022

Like so many others, I’m heartbroken to learn about the suicide of Stephen tWitch Boss.

I remember watching him on So You Think You Can Dance in 2008 and falling in love with his talent, his charm and his grace.

As a fan, I’ve been keeping an eye out for him over the years as I’ve always enjoyed seeing him perform. His talent was immense and his personality was sparkling.

And like so many others, I had no idea that he was struggling with his mental health.

As a psychiatrist, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the obstacles to getting timely and effective mental health care.

Obstacles to receiving good care include systemic racism and prejudice; financial constraints; the lack of available treatment providers and programs in the community; stigma; shame; social pressure to look good, and lack of support.

There are so many reasons why it’s hard for people to get the help they need. Too many people are being lost to suicide. We’ve got to bring this conversation to the forefront, right now.

tWitch was a loving husband and father. He was a caring friend and ally. He was a brilliant artist who had just turned 40. He had so much to live for. It’s unspeakably tragic.

Many people who commit suicide believe — incorrectly- that their loved ones will be better off without them. (It’s their depression talking.)

Many believe — incorrectly — that they will never get better. (It’s their depression talking.)

Many believe — incorrectly — that they’re worthless, and feel ashamed of their mental illness. (It’s their depression talking.)

Many of them simply didn’t get the treatment that would have prevented them from making this drastic and irrevocable choice. (It’s the fault of our messed-up system.)

Let’s speak out about the obstacles to receiving mental health care and let’s brainstorm about how to break down these obstacles.

It’s the least we can do to honour tWitch and to protect all the others who are suffering from untreated or inadequately treated mental illness.

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, here are some resources:

Talk Suicide Canada (National) 1–833–456–4566

Distress Centres of Greater Toronto (GTA) 416–408–4357

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Marcia Sirota

Writer, speaker, MD, and author of the Short & Sweet Guides to Life book series