Earlier this year, Cynthia Koons and John Tozzi published a startling article that included statistics such as:
- 47,000 Americans died by suicide.
National Suicide Prevention Week (“NSPW”) is September 8th-14th this year. Each year, the nation’s largest suicide prevention organization, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (“AFSP”), hosts NSPW. One focus of NSPW this year is: Creating A Safety Net.This blog is a little bit about how I created a Safety Net for myself, and why you need one, too.
Why Do You and I Need A Safety Net?
Each of us lives a life in which our experience of living may bring along some challenges. I venture that most would agree that life is not a linear or static journey -neither in a practical or emotional sense. Personally, I have found that this great sweep of things we call “Life,” although a wonderful journey, it has not been one of predictability. While I have enjoyed years of stability and joy, years of happiness, years of feeling inspired, I have also faced years of hard-times, loss, defeat and great suffering.
Suicide is a Leading Cause of Death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) WISQARS Leading Causes of Death Reports, in 2017:
We represent a number of clients who suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis. This often misunderstood and “invisible” disease causes extreme pain for its sufferers. On top of the pain, many also deal with the disbelief of friends, family and employers as to the disabling nature of their illness.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (“RA”) is a chronic disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks joint tissue and causes inflammation that can spread throughout the body. It can also cause excruciating pain. Because there are very few visible symptoms during most stages of this disease, its sufferers appear to be fine when in reality, they are in extreme pain.
Another difficult aspect of RA, from a disability standpoint, is that there is no single test for diagnosing the condition. Rather, it is diagnosed by clinical evaluation, lab tests and imaging. This makes meeting your long term disability plan’s definition of disabled more difficult as insurers are often looking for “objective evidence” of disability.
In the last decade in the U.S., teenagers and young adults are experiencing a dramatic increase in mental health conditions that is not present in other American age groups. According to a recent article in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 2010 teenagers are much more likely to develop major depression, have suicidal thoughts, or live with crippling anxiety than teenagers from the 2000s.
Why are today’s teenagers more susceptible to depression and anxiety? Researchers who studied the data theorize that because the biggest increase occurred around 2011, it is unlikely the cause is the political climate, the economy, or genetics. Instead this uptick in mental health concerns is attributed to the cultural changes in the way young people spend their time outside school and work and how they communicate with each other. Teenagers are sleeping less, exercising less, and spending less time interacting with other people face-to-face, instead spending significantly more time scrolling through social media and communicating electronically. The researchers conclude that teenagers and young adults should focus on activities known to improve mental health – face-to-face social interaction, exercise, and sleep. You can read more about the study and its findings HERE.