As we recently witnessed with the sudden loss of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, wealth and success are not protection from suicide. The CDC has reported that 1/3 of successful suicides are in people who do not have a diagnosed mental illness — and those around them are not aware of any changes preceding an attempt or a suicide.
So what can we do? First, we can become aware of the symptoms of depression and anxiety — it’s a great start to addressing mental health issues. Next, we can talk to our loved ones when we see them struggling….or, just listen if someone is sad or has experienced loss. In these small ways, we not only make it acceptable to discuss suicidal feelings or depression, but also potentially help those in need.
Clearly in the last few weeks, we have been reminded that suicide is a regular occurrence in our society. We all can take a moment for self care. How? First, focus on what you are doing to let someone know if you are hurting or struggling. Next, take time to do things that make you feel good. You can also reach out to someone positive in your life that makes you smile. Be patient with yourself and your mistakes; and, show that same patience with others. Finally, smile at others more…it might make a difference for them in that moment.
Keep in mind that, for the majority of people suffering symptoms of mental illness, treatment works. They do not have to live with sadness or loss, anxiety or depression..symptoms that makes their quality of life so low. There are options available that change people’s lives: encourage treatment…fight stigma…ask the hard question when you are worried about someone (are they thinking of taking their life). If the answer is YES, take them to the local emergency room!