Mental Illness, Depression and Suicide
Submitted by RKenyon on August 17, 2014 - 10:24am
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Hi group members,
I waited for quite a few days until posting this message due to the sensitivity of the topic. After the passing of the great comedian and actor, Robin Williams, there has been much dialogue on the topic of mental illness and suicide. Suicide is seldom a topic of honest discussion unless a significant loss of a public figure occurs.
Depression is a potentially life-threatening mood disorder that affects 1 in 6 persons in the United States, or approximately 17.6 million Americans each year. The current economic cost of depressive illness is estimated to be $30-44 billion annually in the United States alone. It is well documented that depression is the leading cause of suicide. Also, there is a direct connection between mental illness, depression, substance abuse, and suicide. When you add in other risk factors such as job loss, homelessness, illness, and other family tragedies, the connection is clear. Yet, seeking professional help often has a negative stigma (http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/805459-overview).
Having worked for many years with students that had mental illness, and having lost students to suicide, I know that the feeling of loss is hard to overcome.
My thoughts are that we put more emphasis on our physical health than our mental health. Most of us have yearly wellness exams, but how many schedule brain wellness exams?
What are your thoughts on this topic?
Have you had a student that was experiencing symptoms of mental illness/depression? What options did you have to address the problem?
Please share your thoughts on this important topic.
Rochelle Kenyon, SME