Jacob WeiskopfIt has been a year since we lost Jacob, a dear friend’s beautiful, kind, wonderful, young son, to depression through suicide. When I think of the loss of him, I still tear up a year on. And I still have trouble putting my thoughts into intelligent words.
This isn’t a post about lessons learned from Robin Williams’ losing battle with depression, which lead him to suicide. With the passing of Williams through suicide recently, it brings up the feelings of loss. Loss that depression and suicide creates in those left behind. The feeling of being powerless. That has to change.

Depression and suicide are a major health issues facing the United States. 

Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the U.S. while homicide is 15th. The strongest risk factor of suicide is depression. Fifteen percent of those who are clinically depressed die by suicide.

Did you know that 80% of people that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully?

Depression affects nearly 10 percent of Americans ages 18 and over in a given year, or more than 24 million people. It is one of the most treatable of psychiatric illnesses with over 80 percent of people with depression responding well to treatment. But first, depression has to be recognized.
What are the signs of depression? 
From the National Institute of Mental Health:
– Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
– Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
– Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
– Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
– Decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed down”
– Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
– Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
– Appetite and/or weight changes
– Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
– Restlessness, irritability
– Persistent physical symptoms
If you or anyone you know have most of these symptoms, it is advised to seek professional help. And don’t be ashamed to do so.
I don’t want to forget Jacob. I don’t want to forget the loss I feel when I think about his passing. That keeps me grounded. It keeps me reaching out to people when I sense they are suffering. It keeps me asking if people are OK or do they need someone to talk to about what is troubling them. Depression is something we shouldn’t be ashamed to talk about or seek help for to treat it. Learn more about depression. Knowledge is power. You may save yourself or another person.
Depression is treatable. Suicide is preventable. Together we can help each other through the darkness.

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