…according to the World Health Organization and How we can help change the course.
Listen to the podcast and then click on the links for information on how to get involved.
Greetings, this is Elle Madelyn with Alert Aware Mindful and this is my podcast. This week I wanted to talk about suicide. Just recently one of my former High School classmates, (but I’m not actually sure I just suspected based on the vagueness of the news and what other people have said, like comments that have been left, for example, “I didn’t know she was struggling,” or “I didn’t realize she was having such a hard time.”
I don’t really know for sure if the way this person passed was a suicide and because it’s fresh and the last thing I want to do is dig into the people who are still mourning her. “Oh, what happened?” It’s not the most sensitive thing to do.
I’m bringing her up because suicide has been at the forefront of my mind lately. When I was in college in my senior year I returned from a school trip to DC and a good female friend of mine broke the news to me that another male friend had committed suicide. Later, it was determined that he had what looked like the early stages of schizophrenia and when he found out, he was in despair. I don’t know how much of having that happen affected my choice of study, because I was already studying or at least looking into psychology and counseling but my first job as a social worker I ended up working with people who had severe mental illness mostly because I didn’t want to be a counselor that only knew how to counsel 2 things Anxiety and Depression because those are seen as the “easier” ones.
But I don’t think that’s true (considering how severe depression and anxiety can be) but it seemed less hairy when you’re in school. But my experience made me realize that if my friend had time the process and to learn—he could have lived a productive life. But I think he had a picture of the way he wanted his life to be and the way _he_ wanted to be and when it wasn’t going to be that…He was just desperately sad and heartbroken and *in that moment* of heartbreak and desperation he made a decision that ended his life. I think (in fact I know) that mental illness is so prevalent that the World Health Organization says that depression will be the world’s second-largest health risk in 2020, now remember the endpoint of depression it’s not just a nap or not eating, or a lazy someone who doesn’t feel like going to work.
No, the endpoint of depression is death. People need to stop downplaying depression like it’s some easy walk in the park thing, that can just get up just go to work. People have lost their will to live, to progress, to proceed, to get up. “I could get up but why? Get up for what? You know I’m just going to fall down again so I should just stay here.”
I hear that I see that working with people that experience homelessness and mental illness. Many feel that deeply. they know what it is to be alone, they know what it is to not fit, not be welcome, to be invisible in a society that values big, loud, bright, shiny visibility. When you’re not given (or flat-out denied) that, then you’re told very explicitly that we value *this* (visibility) and you don’t have *this*, therefore, we don’t value you.
And there are so many things in our society that are constantly telling us that we’re just not good enough or haven’t gained enough success or lose enough weight. It’s just crazy.
For me the most eye-opening statistics from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and NIMH were things like: almost a quarter of the people, (25%) aged 18-25 have depression. So in the US, all people 18-25 25% of those people are experiencing depression right now. A quarter.
I didn’t know that 45000 people die every year in the US from suicide. I didn’t know that one person kills themselves every 12 minutes, which means but by the time this podcast is over two people would have ended their lives.
Also, I knew that men committed suicide at a higher rate than women but I didn’t realize it was as much as four times as high. I knew that usually if somebody is going to kill themselves almost half of the people used a gun. It’s not that shocking there are a lot of guns in this country and they are easy to procure. Since its a pro-gun country, a lot of people don’t need to procure them, a lot of them already have them or know somebody who does.
Shocking to me was that Native American / Alaskan native people have the highest rate of suicide, both men (32 out of 100k) and (10 out of 100k) women. Then the second largest demographic are white Caucasian people with men (28 out of 100k) then women (8 out of 100k)
I got this data from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) go check them out.
I wanted to leave you with some hope. So I will leave you with some hopeful statistics on how we can change some of these numbers for the better for everyone.
For instance, did you know that,
Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression receive treatment. (NAMI)
80% -90% of people that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and/or medication. (TADS study)
So if only half of the people are getting the treatment, but the half that are getting it, it is effective it lets you know that if we can expose the other half to treatment, then we can make a lot of gains.
That means if we support and raise awareness about the lack of access to affordable mental healthcare and help lower stigma against seeking help (in the first place) then lives can be saved. That is EVERYTHING. I want to talk about the issues happening, but I also want people to know that there are solutions.
The solution is us. We need to be braver, kinder, and more open and less scared of connecting or being rejected.
This week’s call to action is a musical piece. Called Meditation by Thais played by Jules Massenet. I play it when I’m sad or if I just want to hear what Hope and Beauty sound like.
I hope it brings you the serenity and calm it gives me. My friend thinks that it sounds too sad but it’s achingly beautiful in its way. This has been Elle Madelyn with Alert, Aware, Mindful, reminding you to hold onto your hope and if you can’t—– ask a friend to help you. Please remember Suicide and depression are real. We lose someone in the US every 12 minutes, check on your loved ones, your strong friends the ones that always propping up everyone else, that you don’t think need any help. I can promise you, that you are not alone in your despair. I see you. Please don’t be another light that snuffs itself out, the world is dark enough as it is.
If you are in crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to anyone. All calls are confidential. http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org