Fighting America’s Battle with Depression Is a Difficult Task

The suicides of two famous individuals in the span of a week is bringing national attention to the severity of the problem. The death of Kate Spate on June 5 and the death of Anthony Bourdain on June 9 may force many families to talk about the elephant in the room that no one really wants to address.

In fact, news stories, posts, and talk show hosts have all addressed the topic of suicide, an issue that is not typically fodder for the masses. The reality is, though, that the trauma of suicide is a real threat to millions of people in America. Information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that were gathered in the year 2014 show a frightening reality:

  • 16,108 homicide deaths.
  • 41,143 suicide deaths.

That fact that Americans kill themselves more often than they kill each other is a statistic that holds true for every age group except the youngest group which counts the deaths of children 14 and younger. Spiking in the age group 45 to 54 years olds and dropping off only slightly in the age group 55 to 64 years olds, these statistics seem to be a frightening predictor of the deaths of Spade and Boudain this week. As the nation attempts to come to grips with not only these two widely talked about suicides, there are thousands of families in America who are dealing with their far less publicized suicides and attempted suicides in their own families.

Depression Is an Illness That Many Americans Deal with on a Regular Basis
Behind the actual trauma of a suicide is often a person who has struggled with depression. Uncertain or unable to figure out how to get help, the people who take their lives are just the tip of the iceberg of the millions of people who are dealing with depression and its devastating effects.
Although there are many people around the world who cannot find a way to successfully and healthily deal with their depression, there are doctors and researchers who have devoted their lives to understanding this complicated illness and the toll that it takes not only on individuals, but also families and entire communities. In fact, the estimated annual cost of depression in the U.S., because of lost productivity and health care, is $80 billion. The emotional costs are far greater.
Consider some of these other facts and figures about depression and the available treatments in the U.S. and around the world:

  • Psychotherapy treatments for depression usually last 10 to 20 weeks, though it varies depending on the condition. In all cases, experts recommend giving the medication four to six weeks in order for antidepressants to take full effect.
  • 50% of Americans with major depression do not seek treatment for their mental illness.
  • Making up approximately 6.9% of all adults in the country, nearly 16 million of U.S. adults had at least one major depressive episode 2012.
  • Women are 70% more likely than men to experience some form of depression in their lifetime.
  • By the age of 18, 11% of adolescents have a depressive disorder.
  • 35 million people around the world are affected by some form of depression.

The trauma that surrounds a family or a community dealing with the stress of depression is overwhelming. For the individual. For the family. And for the friends. Traumatic situations themselves can lead to further issues. With the help of continued therapy services and the right medications, some people are able to find a temporary solution, but the fact of the matter is that battling depression is an ongoing process.

The two latest suicides of famous people may have brought attention this week to the devastating effects of depression, but there are families across the country who deal with these struggles every day, every hour, and every minute.

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