Even in our open society where everyone seems to know everyone’s business, depression is still considered a taboo subject among many people. When you look on social media, the majority of people seem to be having the time of their lives; posting about successful careers, satisfying relationships, well-behaved children, and expensive vacations. But as we well know, many of these posts do not reflect reality. Still, it’s enough to silence people who may think that everyone has it together except for them.
Depression can strike anyone at any time. It crosses all socioeconomic lines and affects both genders at various ages. Depression is more than just being sad, and you can’t just snap yourself out of it. It is a long-term mood disorder and leads to a disinterest in things you may have once enjoyed, as well as loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, and body aches and pains. Even performing day-to-day tasks may be daunting.
Depression can also lead to thoughts of suicide. According to WebMD, “in 2014, the last year for which statistics are available, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. That year, there were nearly 43,000 suicides, and 1.3 million adults attempted suicide, according to the CDC. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in people from age 10 to age 34.” Some of the warning signs to look out for can include talking or thinking about death, engaging in risky behaviors, giving away possessions, experiencing a sudden switch from being very sad to extremely happy, and making comments such as “I can’t cope anymore; I want out.” People used to think that if someone talked about committing suicide, they wouldn’t do it. We now know that not to be true; this is often a serious cry for help.
If you or anyone you know is showing signs of the above, please reach out for help. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). If you are a veteran, press “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line. Or contact a mental health professional, your doctor, or a close friend or spiritual leader. If you believe someone is in imminent danger of hurting him or herself, do not leave that person alone. Call 911 or if able, take the person to a hospital emergency room. Do not attribute it to someone just having a bad day, or being dramatic. This is a true medical emergency.
The Scotch Plains Rescue Squad is a volunteer organization of Neighbors Helping Neighbors. With over 90 volunteers, we answer calls not only in Scotch Plains but in surrounding towns as well when needed. Besides answering calls, you will see our ambulances at many special events held in town, such as Scotch Plains Day, the Memorial Day Parade, high school football games, and the summer concerts on the Village Green. We are also available to provide demonstrations for Boys and Girls Scout troops, clubs, and any other group that may be interested in what we do. In addition, we lend out wheelchairs, crutches, canes and other assorted medical equipment free of charge. Please reach out to us if there is something we can do for you. firstname.lastname@example.org or call (908) 322-2103 for non-emergencies.
Author: Susan Baldani, a life member of the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad.