Kimberly Lauersdorf, VP Marketing
I was fifteen when my friend died by suicide. He was kind, funny, involved in school and church activities. I sat through his funeral numb and confused. Of course, I had the typical ‘how could he’, ‘he was so happy’ type of confusion. But even greater than that, my young mind didn’t really understand the idea of depression, mental illness and ultimately suicide. As I aged, I would read articles, stories, and studies and I’d see him in my mind. I’d gain a little more understanding with each piece of knowledge just what his struggle must have been like. Lonely, confusing, distracting, desperate, and likely so much more.
Now a couple decades removed, I’m encouraged to believe that we’ve made significant strides in understanding mental health, bringing awareness to its importance, and starting to break down the stigmas and barriers to accessing the care many of us need. However, we’re not there yet and have so much further to go. We’re living in unprecedented times when it comes to mental illness, depression and suicide. Death by suicide has increased by 30% from 2010 to 2016. And it’s affecting every age, gender, income bracket, and race. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death among people ages 10 to 34.
As a health and wellness provider, EmblemHealth is committed to providing access to care, health care professionals that treat your mental health with the equal importance of your physical health, and programming and resources in your community to assist.
This week (September 8th) is suicide prevention week. To show our dedication and support of our members and anyone struggling with thoughts or the effects of suicide, we’ve been sharing resources and displaying the semicolon on our social media platforms. Amy Bleuel, founder of The Semicolon Project, describes the power of the semicolon as “a semicolon represents a sentence the author could’ve ended but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.” To all of our members, and anyone struggling with suicide, we hope that you will continue to write your life story.