Rising Suicide Rates--What Can We Do??

Rising Suicide Rates--What Can We Do??
Dr. Allison Kimball Key Family Practitioner Bremen, GA

Dr. Allison Kimball Key M.D. is a top Family Practitioner in Bremen, . With a passion for the field and an unwavering commitment to their specialty, Dr. Allison Kimball Key M.D. is an expert in changing the lives of their patients for the better. Through their designated cause and expertise in the field, Dr. Allison Kimball... more

Shhh, If We Don't Talk About It, It Won't Happen, Right?! Wrong!

We are more connected than ever before. Social media and the internet helps us know, minute by minute, what our "friends" are up to, what President Trump is thinking about, that your high school English teacher had a retirement party, and that your college roommate just had her second baby.

But, we are lonelier than ever before.

Most of us have probably seen the latest statistic released by the CDC: Suicide rates have increased 30% across all demographics. That's a lot, y'all.  I also read that suicide rates more than doubled that of homicides in 2016.  
June is the month we celebrate our fathers, and I will pass another Father's Day, missing my daddy because he committed suicide. He suffered from depression for a long time before he decided to take his own life. Previous threats may have been "cries for help", but it didn't mean he didn't have plans to follow through with it. 

We can talk about testicular cancer and breast cancer, but people shy away from talking about depression and suicide. Did you know 1 in 6 Americans take some kind of antidepressant? That means a lot of people you know and love are on them. We have laws to protect patient's privacy and most people don't walk around advertising they are taking these medications. 

Why not? 

Because it is still a very taboo topic. After my daddy died, most people were so kind and compassionate. Many people didn't want to say anything at all, because it seemed awkward or uncomfortable, more so than with a "normal" death. And that's OK. I understand. But there were a few that said really terrible, awful things. Things that contribute to the stigma around depression and suicide.  Things like "too bad you won't get to see him in Heaven."  Really?  Because I thought Jesus died for all of our sins. And I am pretty sure the only unforgivable sin is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Read your Bible. It's in there...black and white.  

Depression is an illness. A true medical illness and not a choice. No one chooses to wake up feeling hopeless and helpless everyday. No one chooses to smile and hide the shame and guilt of being a Christian person who KNOWS what God did for them, but still longs to leave this world and enter the next where there is no despair, no loneliness. It is a chemical imbalance in the brain that has a multifactorial cause--some of it by our choices (alcohol is a depressant), some of it genetic, and some of it still unknown. Some of us are born into families predisposed to mental health disorders, and we fight that battle for years. (Just like many of us are born into families with heart disease or diabetes and have to fight that.)  

My God and my Jesus would not condemn their child to hell based on a decision that was made during the darkest days of a medical illness.  And none of us knows what happens in that split second between decision and death.  Forgiveness? Grace? Mercy?  I believe so.  

So, what can we do?  With these rising statistics, we have to do something. Remove the stigma. Make it OK to talk about it. Let's stop pretending it doesn't exist or it doesn't affect us or our families. Be open. We don't hesitate to put someone with cancer on our prayer list at church; let's make changes in our day to day lives that make it OK for someone to ask you to pray for them because they suffer with anxiety or depression. Be willing to share your struggles with others who may need to hear a story of help and hope. Let's make it safe for people to come out of the shadows and ask for help.  

And, lastly, let's all make a greater effort to put down our devices and really connect with the people around us. Open your heart and your mind and your home and your arms, and love those in your circle. You may not realize right now who is there that is suffering. Love one another as Christ has loved us--unconditionally, gracefully, and whole-heartedly.  

So, as Father's Day approaches, I will undoubtedly miss my daddy.  He was sweet, funny, generous, and loving. I could write for days about him and about this topic. But I would like to stop and thank God for the other men in my life--my step-father who loves me and mine like his own, my grandfathers who set such a Godly example, my precious husband who is always there, my brother, my brother-in-law, and my uncles, cousins, and friends who are like family.  

Most of all, I am thankful for a loving Heavenly Father, who makes beauty out of ashes. He, who can take the darkest times in our lives and make them something wonderful, can help you and me through any trial life brings. He is never far away if you need Him.

And neither are we at 3:16 Healthcare. We understand depression, because many of us have been there.  

God bless,
Allison Key, MD