Editorial: Depression awareness increases

Aug. 12, 2014 @ 11:25 PM

Realizing the difference between emotions of the moment and a deeper depression can be the difference in life and death.

It matters for each of us, whether we are the one struggling, or we see someone else on a downward path. The darkness can eventually lead to death, no matter how seemingly impossible that reality may seem.

A little less than a month from now, suicide prevention will have its annual awareness events as put on by the America Association of Suicidology. Sept. 10 is the date highlighted; Sept. 8-14 is the week.

For generations who enjoyed the performances on stage of Robin Williams, it came on Monday. Williams died at age 63. It’s believed he took his own life.

According to AAS, the world loses 1 million people a year to suicide. That’s one every 40 seconds. For each we learn about, another 10 to 20 are estimated to have been attempted.

Nearly 20 million attempts should shake us into action. Statistics confirm no bias exists among the victims due to age, gender, race or religion.

In the 21st century, we have experienced a social frenzy. Time and place hardly separate any of us due to technology. And yet for all the ability to be together, to remain in touch, to stay alert to our friends and family, suicide victims often feel disconnected.

The factors most often cited include mental illness, substance abuse, hopelessness, access to lethal means, loss of loved ones, unemployment and vulnerability to harming one’s self.

Depression and bipolar disorders are both mental illnesses for which people should seek treatment. Several avenues are available to help.

A reference to a mental health professional can be given by a family or primary care doctor, pediatrician, or obstetrics and gynecology physician. Students and their families can talk to guidance counselors, and college students can contact the student counseling or health centers on campus. The psychiatry department of local hospitals can also be accessed.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available toll free at (800) 273-8255.