Life can be very stressful and mental health is something some Americans struggle with while others may take it for granted.
On Monday, about sixty people gathered in Stroudsburg at courthouse square to promote mental health and suicide awareness. The crowd paid respects to a local young man whose life was tragically lost to suicide three weeks ago and all of those who suicide has affected in one form or another. Many opened up, sharing intimate details about their own struggles with mental health. Others came to listen and show their support. The rally was organized by three Stroudsburg High School students, senior Gonzalo Ingram, junior Jessica Brady, and sophomore Bri Anunciacao. The group felt compelled to take action and “be a voice for the voiceless” and end the stigma that accompanies mental health issues.
Joel Getz, Jim Shoopak, Jessica Brady, Hope Christman, Bri Anunciacao, Gonzalo Ingram, and Charles Stecker were among the evening’s speakers. Each gave their account of various traumas and obstacles they’ve personally faced and offered valuable insight about how to move forward. However, a common theme throughout the night was the difficulty each had in finding proper treatment and resources.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 4.1 million or 17% of adolescents aged 12 to 17 had one major depressive episode. Major depressive episodes were nearly three times higher among adolescent females (25.2%) than males (9.2%). In 2020, less than half (41.6%) of adolescents received the proper treatment.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the United States. In 2020, there were at least 120,000 suicide attempts leading to 45,979 deaths, averaging more than 120 every day. Suicide is most prevalent among middle-aged white males. White males make up approximately 70% of suicides in the US.
Mental illness is a very serious issue, and finding treatment can often be very difficult. The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone, and there is nothing to be ashamed of. Millions of Americans share similar difficulties, and many are here to listen.
If you or someone you know is dealing with depression or the loss of a loved one who died from suicide, there are resources available to you.
Monroe County Suicide Prevention Taskforce can be reached at (570) 269-5710
Pocono Mountain Center-Human Services is available most days at (570) 424-9229.
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1 (800) 273-8255
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