Suicide Rises Amongst Millennials – Sense of Purpose and Support System May Be Key Factors

Posted by on July 20, 2016 in Cathy's Thoughts | 0 comments

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One of my cause clients, The Love Effect, is taking on depression and suicide prevention head on. The three founders and co-directors, Tyler Atkins, Drue Metz, and Ari Blinder, have all been affected by friends and acquaintances who have taken their lives or dealt with depression. So they came up with the idea of writing and acting in a film of course called, The Love Effect. The award winning short film will be featured this weekend at the Santa Monica International Film Festival.

The foundation has also created a one-of-a-kind adult and youth program to interactively discuss themes of depression, suicide and LOVE in a unique, sensitive and educational way by using their highly acclaimed short film.

The foundation offers presentations to schools in classrooms, seminars, and private groups where participants can watch their 30 minute cinematic film, then discuss and interact with the filmmakers after.

Their approach is to engage and interact through use of cinema, analysis and unique discussion. This includes question and answering and “lead learning out” instruction, a variation of “the socratic method” with the filmmakers, who guide the discussion to educational discoveries on these themes.

The goal is to create a meaningful and memorable experience that provides engaging discussions and positive education on mental health and love. Finally after demonstrating their program and message, they identify further mental health resources such as MENTAL HEALTH AMERICA’s digital toolkit, website and other extracurricular activities to share with others.

A key part of their approach is being mindful to the feeling of “preachiness” or “lecturing” in their audience presentations. They want it to feel like a dialogue. and aspire to inform, inspire, and connect with their audience.

The reason I am sharing this post today is that as I study the statistics around depression and suicide, I have learned that suicice continues to be the leading cause of death among millennials. We are a generation coping with dangerous levels of stress, stagnation, and limited resources to address suicide risk factors. Millennials, in particular, are found to have the highest rates of perceived stress when compared to other generations. Our generation engages in behaviors fraught with risk such as drugs, drinking, and driving under the influence, and emotional health among college students continues to fall year after year. Over the course of the past decade, suicide rates have inched higher, following a decrease the decade before. Research suggests suicide rates can be affected by socioeconomic status, employment, occupation, and sexual orientation — most of which are factors inflamed by the current economic and political environment.

And again, when you think about the fact that over 70 % of the workers do not like their jobs per a recent Gallup study, we, as a society, need to take a closer look on many levels about how we can empower, support, and understand one another in and out of the workplace. The Love Effect movie may seem like a simple start to amplify these issues, but is it really? Is working on love and compassion for others, especially in the workplace such a hard thing to do?

As we become more disconnected as a society and are becoming more “soft-wired” than “hard-wired,” we are going to no doubt see more depression, more prescription drugs being used, and the medical, and mental wellness programs working in overdrive. As we know, facing depression and being more preventative around suicide is about treating underlying issues as well as this post states, helping others feel seen, heard, loved, and most of all, needed. We need to feel more than ever that we are here on this earth with a purpose and that we are not alone.

Check out the Love Effect short film, share it with others, and see if you can get it seen in your workplace. Who knows who you will touch, help, or maybe even save. Be an advocate for proactively helping people who are facing depression.  Help get them help and provide a loving hand.

Corporate America no doubt would benefit from sharing such a film with its employees. The topic may not be warm and fuzzy, but the outcome of helping others see that they are here to make our world a better place for all is HUGE! None of us should be alone or feel alone when we are facing depression. We need to be here for one another more than ever. It is all about THE LOVE EFFECT. And I do not think our society gets this at all. We have an epidemic on our hands and need to face it and FEEL it for one another.

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