* Annual suicide deaths in the USA now outnumber deaths from auto accidents.
* Twice the numbers of people die in the USA from suicide than from murder.
* Between 1999 and 2016 (latest figures), suicide rates in the USA have increased by at least 25%. In some areas of the country it has reached 30%.
* More females commit suicide than males. Between 1999 and 2016, the incidence of suicide committed by white females between the ages of 45 and 64 rose by a whopping 80%.
* Two thousand teens commit suicide annually in the USA.
Professionals who work in fields related to suicide agree that almost all suicides result from severe depression and/or mental illness. So, how is it, in a country that boasts a quality of life better than anywhere else in the world, that so many people are so out-of-balance that they feel the only way out of their emotional pain is to terminate their lives?
How did we get here?
More importantly, how do we move towards a culture of understanding and compassion that commits to providing care, support and direction to the thousands more just steps away from their self-induced demise?
How many more senseless deaths will it take before we recognize that, even if not evident by physical disability, depression and mental illness are real – very real. And like any other unattended illness, left to its own, guarantees a poor outcome.
This seems like a national crisis to me, more so than the influx of parents and children from other countries trying to carve out a safer existence for their families.
Retail therapy distracts us – for awhile – from the pain and emptiness that result from a lifestyle detached from self and others. Social media tricks us into believing that we are connected – when we’re not.
When I hear of another pointless suicide or murder I have to work hard not to resort to anger or despair. I struggle to understand the choices people make; I’ve never experienced those levels of hopelessness. How do we stop this madness?
My early life – a critical time in everyone’s development – was blessed by loving parents, grandparents and siblings, and a stable, safe home-life. There was no violence, substance abuse, absenteeism or poverty.
My early childhood taught me the importance of others in my life. Throughout my entire life, I have always surrounded myself with friends that made me laugh, stood by me when I cried, called me out when needed, and are just plain ‘there’ for me – and I, them.
Later, massage school taught me to connect with myself and how to create a safe environment in which to invite others to do so. Beyond helping people with chronic foot pain or headaches, I think the power in the work that I offer is the opportunity for someone to experience herself as safe and deeply relaxed. To get out of the ‘talking head’. To feel stress-free – if only for an hour. To connect with self and maybe with another (me) in a meaningful way.
I’m so grateful for the path I have been led to follow. It has given me opportunities, through my reflexology practice and teaching, to connect with others and to witness people ‘falling into themselves’. It’s those moments, in addition to my friends and family that remind me to give thanks. Self-care, connection, love, friendship – that’s how I got here.