Confusion, despair and anger. In the aftermath of a suicide, these are often the emotions loved ones most easily summon. Confusion about the thought process that led to such a drastic decision spirals into despair at the tremendous and permanent loss this final act caused. When few satisfactory answers are available, anger usually hovers in the near distance. Yet this emotional roller coaster of hurt often pales in comparison to the pain the departed experienced. Whether that pain was real or imagined, in their minds suicide provided the best option to end the suffering. The difficult reality is that it wasn’t, but few other possibilities can seem tolerable when consumed by overwhelming pain.
Losing Robin Williams hurt. Without a doubt his ability to bring a smile to the most stoic faces was unmatched, but as a clinical psychologist it was him becoming one of over 30,000 individuals in the U.S. who complete suicide each year that most unnerved me. Over 90% of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable mental illness, with depression and substance abuse leading the way.
Mental illness, by definition, creates distortions in how a person experiences the world. Growing psychological and neuroscience research is illuminating the brain’s role in bolstering one of the most potent distorters of reality and consistent predictors of suicidality: hopelessness. Hopelessness that leads to suicide, at its core, represents an embedded belief that life has little to no meaning and is not worth continuing.
The power of this belief to distort the simplest interactions and confirm itself is pervasive and can be all consuming. “Of course she wouldn’t talk to me, what’s the point”, “I can’t do anything right, why am I even here” are just a few of the thoughts that may constantly swirl around the hopeless mind. Couple these beliefs with neurochemical imbalances that illnesses such as depression and substance abuse can foster and life becomes extremely difficult to navigate. While impulsivity and access to lethal means for suicide are key factors in the moment, it is hopelessness that plants the seeds for what the person may eventually believe is the logical conclusion: suicide.
How do you tackle hopelessness? It feels as abstract a question as ‘what’s the meaning of life’. Yet it’s a question that mental health professionals have attempted to answer for over a century, with modest results at best. Suicide rates have remained relatively stable between 10.4 and 12.5 people per 100,000 for the past two decades. While the rate for African Americans is slightly below the average at around 8.0 people per 100,000, Black males have a 4.3 times higher rate of suicide than females.
Efforts to fine tune assessment and bolster mental health resources for individuals through expanded insurance coverage and onsite counselors at work and school have likely saved plenty of lives, but have they saved enough? Maybe the answer lies not in where mental health resources are going, but to whom. Doctors and patients are most folks best bet for where to invest time and energy. Doctors heal. Patients need healing. Makes sense. But doctors also have many patients and even fewer hours. Patients have tremendous pain and usually limited coping strategies at the time. Collectively, their time together amounts to game planning for the next crisis.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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