The older sister of a former Hasidic woman who jumped to her death from the rooftop bar 230 Fifth in July has also committed suicide. Sara Mayer, 31, was reportedly found hanging from a staircase in her parents' Borough Park home Sunday afternoon. According to the NY Post, Mayer had recently been released from the South Beach Psychiatric Center in Staten Island, where she had been an inpatient for two years.
Sources tell the Daily News that she "suffered from mental illness" and had been hospitalized multiple times. One law-enforcement official told the tabloid she was supposed to move into a group home, and had been gathering her belongings from her parents' home when she hung herself. A family member told the Post "she left a note to her parents saying that she loved them and she was sorry."
Mayer's sister, Faigy Mayer, had been estranged from her family after leaving the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community and attempting to establish herself in the secular world. Both sisters grew up in the insular Belz Hasidic community in Borough Park, but Faigy, who also suffered from depression, left five years ago. A week before she committed suicide, she wrote a lengthy email to friends describing her struggles adjusting to life outside the community, declaring, "IF PEOPLE WERE ALLOWED TO THINK, THEY WOULD NOT BE RELIGIOUS. Thinking analytically when it comes to basic life decisions is something new to me and something I still struggle with, 5 years after leaving."
A month after Faigy Mayer's suicide, we took a look at what some say is a pattern of suicide and depression among people who leave the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.
If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide: do not leave the person alone; remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt; and call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.