Sadly, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) suicide remains the fourth leading cause of death for adults ages 35-54, and the second leading cause of death in younger people ages 10-34. The suicide rate increased 35 percent from 1999 to 2018. In 2019, there were close to 47,000 deaths by suicide compared to nearly 39,000 who died in car accidents. Yet consider how much thought, engineering, and safety resources go into the prevention of automobile accidents compared to suicide prevention. Countries that have made suicide prevention a public health priority have seen drops in... Read More
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Autumn has arrived. Summer in the Northwest is everyone’s favorite season. The sky is a deep blue and the sun shines. We all look back at those lazy, bright days of summer with warm nostalgia.
I love the long days of summer. On July 4th, we have almost 16 hours of daylight. The sun rises around 5:15 a.m. and sets at 9:10 p.m. The western sky is lit until almost 10 p.m. It’s tough to get kids to bed in the summer and they’re up with the birds. The summer sun feeds our Northwest spirit.
But by October 15th, we only have around 10 hours and 50 minutes of daylight. The sun rises... Read More
Despite the rapid growth of social media, a recent survey of 20,000 American adults found that nearly half reported feeling sometimes or always lonely. It’s a paradox. On the one hand, some adults have acquired hundreds of Facebook and Instagram friends and follow their every move. Some folks are receiving and sending texts to family and friends by the bucketload. But on the other hand, these same adults feel lonely. It doesn't make sense. Or does it?
Humans are pack animals, like our close friends, canines. We want to be part of a pack (family), have connections with others, and... Read More
It’s time. Turn on the lights.
The days are getting shorter and as of the end of October, we have about 10 and a quarter hours of daylight. At the winter solstice, we only see the sun for about 8 and a half hours! It gets pretty dark around here. And that doesn't figure in that Seattle is the top city in America with the most number of cloudy days—226 to be exact.
I moved to the Northwest 26 years ago in July. I fell in love with the long, sunny days of summer. The western sky was still glowing at 10 pm! But when autumn arrived, I noticed right away that the sunset a lot... Read More
With the recent suicides of two celebrities, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, both of whom were at the peak of their fame, once again we find ourselves trying to understand one of the most mysterious causes of death—suicide. Just last month, the Center for Disease Control issued their report on the dramatic increase in suicide, particularly in middle aged white males and in females.
It’s difficult to make sense of two disparate statistics—the significant increased use of anti-depressants among teens and adults and a rising rate of suicide. According to the American Psychiatric... Read More
In the last year, many of my medical colleagues have asked me— “Do you think that there is an increase in depression and anxiety”? I hadn’t thought much about it, but in the first three months of this year, our Behavioral Health department at The Everett Clinic was hit by a tsunami wave of adults and children coming in with these conditions. In January through March alone, we saw over 1500 new patients asking for help. This is unprecedented in the 25 years I have run our department. What’s going on?
With regard to depression, a 2017 study of over 600,000 individuals found... Read More
Several years ago, Joe’s 18-year-old son, Bill, left home without a word. His early adolescence was marked by chronic lying to his parents, drug use, school failure, and defiance. Joe and his wife tried to re-engage with their son. But all they heard from him was tall stories and promises that were never kept. After several years of this same story, they were discouraged, hopeless, and heartbroken. They feared that Bill would never find his way back to his family. They worried that he wouldn’t find his way into a responsible, successful adulthood.
As a psychologist, I see these... Read More
Lately, it’s hard to pick up a newspaper. Hurricanes, one after another, have pounded the Caribbean, Florida, and Texas. Mexico has been beset with earthquakes—hundreds have died. It seems like the earth has been in a state of crisis, taking out its fury on innocent men, women, and children.
It’s easy to experience compassion fatigue. As soon as the new hurricane hit, we didn’t hear much about Houston anymore. But trust me, there are still thousands of people in Texas up to their eyebrows in water logged furniture, walls, and belongings.What can we learn from these natural... Read More
Like many others, my holidays are tinged with sad memories. When I was 13, my beloved grandmother who lived with us, died suddenly of a heart attack two weeks before my birthday, which happens to fall on December 26th. That year, both my birthday, and the holiday was touched with sadness and loss. When I was 28, my brother was killed by a drunk driver. The last time I saw him was over the Christmas holiday. Just three years ago, my mother had a heart attack during our yearly holiday gathering that brought her to the end of her life two months later.
These personal losses are not so... Read More