The Depression Epidemic

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The Depression Epidemic

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Laila Avery, Reporter

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Our generation has had no Great Depression, no Great War. Our war is spiritual. Our depression is in our lives.”

— Chuck Palahniuk

 

 

The following facts are presented by the CDC, American Association of Suicidology, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the US for all ages.

Every day, approximately 123 Americans die by suicide.

There is one death by suicide in the US every 12 minutes.

Suicide takes the lives of over 44,965 Americans every year.

There is one suicide for every estimated 4 suicide attempts in the elderly.

Mental illness is a factor in most suicides and is the most common cause of death for people aged 15 to 24.

Untreated depression is the number one risk for suicide among youth.

Suicide is…the fourth leading cause of death in 10 to 14-year-olds.

Young males age 15 to 24 are at the highest risk for suicide, with a ratio of males to females at 7:1.

25 million Americans suffer from depression each year.

An estimated quarter million people each year become suicide survivors.

 

According to MentalHelp.net, “Depression was initially called ‘melancholia’. The earliest accounts of melancholia appeared in ancient Mesopotamian texts in the second millennium B.C. At this time, all mental illnesses were attributed to demonic possession, and were attended to by priests…In contrast, early Roman and Greek doctors thought that depression was both a biological and psychological disease. Gymnastics, massage, special diets, music, and baths, as well as a concoction of poppy extract and donkey’s milk were used to alleviate depressive symptoms.”

More recently, according to Mental Health America and National Mental Health Reform, the organization, which is now “the country’s oldest and largest nonprofit organization addressing all aspects of mental health and mental illness”, was established in 1909 by Clifford W. Beers after witnessing and being subjected to horrible abuse.

On December 6, 2004, 1-800-273-8255, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, was founded to aid those in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Since then, people have been proposing new ways to prevent suicide using it, like this one person that tweeted, “Who agrees that every student should have crisis hotline numbers on their student ID? 👏🙋‍♀️ We’re excited to partner w/ @Active_Minds & @CrisisTextLine on the launch of this new, impactful student advocacy resource!…”

The phenomenon now known as depression has been studied since ancient times, and in the 21st century, multiple organizations and associations have risen to treat its victims and encourage them. According to the latest statistics, even today, depression has managed to continue to claim lives. In fact, this sudden encounter with death has become so commonplace that we pay it no mind whenever it happens. The ages of the victims get younger and younger, and even young children—the ones viewed as the juvenile minds beaming with imagination and hope for the future—are viewing the lives they have as something worthless. Our youth is getting weaker and weaker, and families still view mental illness as something taboo and unimaginable.

What’s more, Psychology Today states, “Comedian Robin Williams’s death in August rocketed depression into the headlines, and his suicide became a defining moment when the nation would finally reckon with depression. But this reckoning never happened.”

Mental health suddenly became an important topic when someone who was famous took his own life. Why is that? Why do we, as Americans, not see or acknowledge our own suffering? Why do we not care? Why do we turn our noses up at the people who have lost their light? Families are grieving the loss of their loved ones, and we gossip about and slander people, not knowing if we’ll inflict the damage that finally pushes them over the edge.

There are too many reasons to name at the end of the day. There are too many questions, and there are too many suggestions. It all boils down to this:

Love all. The hours we have is unknown. Premature death is among the worst, and the graveyard remains the richest place in the earth. Dreams that never came to realization went there with the people that shattered. Encourage. Your words have the ability to give life and death. Have empathy. Compassion is what makes us human.