Recently I was invited to attend a luncheon hosted by the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation. The foundation was started by the parents of Jordan Elizabeth Harris, a beautiful young lady who during the last few months of her life suffered from severe depression, and eventually committed suicide.
Hearing Jordan’s story made me think of how a young woman who was outgoing, fun and yes beautiful with a loving family could end her life. While researching information on depression and suicide, I came across a fact that stopped me in my tracks.
The largest increases in depression/suicide are in young women and women of a certain age. Men traditionally die from suicide more than women, but women have been catching up with them. Middle-aged women who are between 45 and 69 have had the highest suicide rates in the last couple of years.
Some of the reasons for this increase are:
- Age-related illness
- Treatable mental health condition
- Reliance on pain relief and sleeping drugs
- Middle-aged women are more aware of their mortality
- Disappointed and disillusioned–feel that it is too late for happiness
- Empty Nest Syndrome
As we enter the holiday season, it has been reported that depression rises among women of a certain age. Is there anything that we can do to prevent depression/suicide? While researching I found that some people lived daily with those who suffered from depression and/or committed suicide, and they saw no outward change. There were those that saw the change, but we unable to get them the needed assistance.
The Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation mission statement states “to eradicate suicide by funding depression research, creating awareness through education, erasing the stigma, and providing hope to those who are struggling in silence”.
The Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation along with others including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is seeking to lower suicide rates. These efforts include educating doctors especially primary care doctors so that they may be better able to identify people who are at risk for suicide.
As I sat at the luncheon I thought of the people who I had known in my lifetime that had taken their own lives. There were two who had an illness that would eventually end their lives and one that no one could ever tell me the reason why.
It’s getting close to Christmas and New Year’s which brings on a time of reflection. Let’s take the time to visit, call, text, facetime–let’s stay connected–we may be able to spot changes.
To find out more about depression and suicide prevention take a look at The Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation.
Remember “thisisyourbestyear”, take the time to connect with others–it can only help.