The recent suicides of two celebrities—the fashion designer Kate Spade and the chef, author and TV host Anthony Bourdain—have drawn attention to new federal data showing a rise in the number of suicides across the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide rates rose by 25 percent between 1999 and 2016. In 2016, 45,000 Americans aged 10 or older committed suicide, making it the tenth leading cause of death in the country (and one of the three that is on the increase—alongside Alzheimer’s disease and drug overdose).

What explains the apparent disconnect between this worrying/disturbing phenomenon and the concomitant increase in attention paid to wellness?  Social connections are the “missing” link.

The authors of the CDC report said that one effective strategy critical to preventing suicide was to establish more “social connectedness.” Wellbeing pundits say the same: The quality and richness of our social connections are one of the most critical determinants of wellbeing. When they are left wanting, they negatively impact our social and mental wellbeing and, in extreme cases, pave the way for suicidal thoughts.

While the critical nature of “social connectedness” is now recognized, the suicide statistics suggest that society in general, and the wellness industry in particular, are not yet doing enough to rise to the huge societal challenge this represents.

3 thoughts on “The US Suicide Epidemic: Social Connections May Be the Missing Link”

  1. So very sad!! Just last night I was messaging a coworker and invited him over today after work for supper. He’s been telling me how lonely he is and has no real friends. I hope he comes today– he said he’ll probably just go home and drink himself to sleep. He said he’ll let me know by noon if he’ll come. If he doesn’t message me by then, I will say please come. Do you have any other suggestions as to how to help??

    1. People who are isolated and sad usually are afraid to meet a lot of people, which gives them anxiety. It’s not a bad idea to check on him at his home or invite him individually to have coffee or a meal. Talk to him and listen. Check whether he has suicidal ideations or not.

  2. The reason for suicide can be different from one person to another. I believe we can just blame to lack of social connections for it. The very common reason for those who do suicide is that they FEEL like to die. They don’t see beauty, love, and attraction in their world. Feeling good from Inside is important (internal force). Seeing beauty, love, and attraction is also important (external force) which hold the person to live on this planet. In the lack of both forces, a person wants to go far away, and no one knows where.

    Besides that, a person is not just that person living in his or her body. More than half of your body is not human, scientist says. Human cells make only 43 %, the rest is non-human cells ( source: Those trillions of cells which has its own DNA and make their own decisions and provide instructions. So there are trillions of players inside the human body, mind, and spirit. We have a very complex body and mind that we can imagine.

    So instead of looking at the vast sector or social connection, why don’t we simply focus and promote on our own skin? The skin has 3 very important characteristics: 1)Skin wrap us giving a human shape and give us a two-way protection from outside and inside. 2) It is the largest organ in the body. 3) it has the ability to FEEL. Skin and brain share some same cells that have the ability to feel. Researchers have discovered, for example, that neurotransmitter called imipramine is produced abnormally in the brains, and not only in the brain but also in the skin cells of the depressed people.

    Importance of Touch: A study done at University of California, San Diego in 2017, suggests that the sense of touch is up there among the superpower senses. So humans have an incredibly powerful sense of touch. What can we do with that information? “This is the greatest tactile sensitivity that has ever been shown in humans,” said Darren Lipomi, a professor of nanoengineering and member of the Center for Wearable Sensors at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, who led the interdisciplinary project with V. S. Ramachandran, director of the Center for Brain and Cognition and distinguished professor in the Department of Psychology at UC San Diego. Often ignored when we talk about our fundamental senses, the sensation of touch is a fundamental part of our daily experience, influencing what we buy, who we love and even how we heal. We use this sense to gather information about our surroundings and as a means of establishing trust and social bonds with other people.

    The movement of “touch, skin, and feel good” will definitely bring the great wellbeing of the people.
    I am looking for investors, partnership, and collaboration. The perfect example of collaboration and partnership is our own body, body parts, organ, and organ system. Each of the body and organs specialized in very specific function, they do their job plus collaborate with each other and create a unique human experience for each person. And our skin specializes in Feeling, so let the skin feel good so that it can contribute to a good human experience and save the life of the people.

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