There has been much talk around Facebook & Twitter about the tragic death of Robin Williams who succumbed to the inner demons that Depression bring out. Depression is a silent killer that takes hold of more than 121 million people around the world each year according to the Conference Board of Canada and it is estimated that 1 in 5 people will experience some form of Mental Illness at some point in their lives. That in of itself is a scary number, but what is even scarier is that fact that almost 2/3 of those people will never seek help for the voices of doubt that creep in upon them.
My personal experiences with the demons of Depression, Anxiety and Panic are well documented and so is the lack of support that is actually available. It lead to the loss of income, a marriage and thinking back, the estrangement of friends and family through out my 42 years. It is funny that a disease that affects so many actually has far less support from the medical community here in Canada and this prompted me to do a little “Big Data Digging” for some information that I can put this into context for me and for those who see this.
According to Statistics Canada, Mental Illness is the contributing cause to the deaths of 14 people per 100,000 population. That is higher than Influenza and Pneumonia (10.4), HIV/AIDS (0.7), Viral Hepatitis (1.0), Sepsis (4.8), Assault/Homicide (1.6), Chronic Liver Disease (6.2), Renal Failure (5.9).
One of my favorite sources of information is from the OECD and in their 2011 Report on Health, they listed the Suicide Rates of selected countries:
While Suicide is not exclusively related to Mental Illness it is a good sign of what is going on with the state of our collective caring for those around us and I am actually surprised by some of these numbers but more importantly the extreme difference between Males and Females on the right side of this chart…across nearly every country in this review…men are more than 3 X likely to take their own life than women. Is this because we as a Sex find it “unmanly” to admit we have a problem or is it more likely that it is the stigma that is placed upon mental illness and the risk that it places upon those affected that seeking help could “out them” as “Crazy” or “Unstable” or a “Risk”.
I know that the fact that I speak about my own Mental Illness challenges means that I am less likely to return to my former earning potential as a Sales Professional. I have gathered through the “Grapevine” that when I came out of the Mental Illness Closet I in many ways got black listed from local employers that I would want to work for and therefore I have seen my income drop by nearly 70%, at the same time as I have had to restart my entire life.
For me though I do not see Suicide as a solution. As much as my Life Hurts…I know deep down that the solution to my own pain does not lie in ending it…it is about coming through the other side. I can not speak for others as I am not you…but know this…as strong as the call may be…it is one that is best left to go to voice mail. You will cause far more pain to those around you by leaving them this way than you will be able to solve by not being here.
So regardless if you are Diagnosed or Not. I want to say this…if you are “Not Yourself Today“…it is ok, you are not alone and if you want to talk…I am here. I know that it is hard but talking about your challenges makes them far easier to deal with.
If you are in Ontario, Canada there is the Mental Health Helpline:
Here is a directory of other solutions to find help:
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- The International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression
Other HelpLines (US)
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-TALK
- National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Hotline: (800) 662-HELP
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-7233 OR (800) 787-3224
- National Child Abuse Hotline: (800) 4-A-CHILD
- National Youth Crisis Hotline:(800) HIT-HOME
- National Runaway Switchboard: (800) 621-4000
- Panic Disorder Information Line: (800) 64-PANIC
Europe: World Health Organization
Australia: Mental Health Council of Australia
I hope this helps at least one person…because Life Sure Ain’t Easy…but it is Life!!!