The mission of Foods-4-Thought is to breakdown the barriers surrounding the discussion ofteenage depression and suicide one conversation at a time. People gather with family and friends around a dinner table or talk over a meal at a restaurant, why not actively get this topic out in the open in those settings? If people would discuss this painful subject, they’d find that nearly everyone has been touched by depression or suicide in some way. Families need information on how to treat teens or cope with a tragedy instead of suffering silently alone. Contact Director@foods-4-thought.org for more information, or review the numerous books, links and resources on our Resources Page.
Our Symbol of Hope
Turquoise Butterfly. Much like the pink ribbon has become a symbol for breast cancer (a topic
that years ago was also taboo), the Foods-4-Thought organization has
chosen the turquoise blue butterfly as the symbol of hope in the cause
of preventing teenage suicide. Our vision is for people to see a our
butterfly and remember those lost, help those still struggling or share a
message of hope to the survivors. Everyone of us can do something to
make the world a better place one conversation at a time.
Two "Public Service Announcement" Videos: California Polytechnic State University (Calpoly) Independent Film Makers have graciously volunteered their time to create two short videos to help get the message out. Please share these and give us your thoughts. We are looking to create messages about the impact of teen depression on the whole family, how common an illness this is (you are not alone), how friends should talk to an adult if their friend is suffering etc. Thanks, Calpoly Film Makers!!
Videos - Please view our two Public Service Announcements. Provide your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you know:
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among Americans between the ages of 25-34 and 3rd among the ages of 15-24
Ninety percent of suicides that take place in the United States are associated with mental illness, including disorders involving the abuse of alcohol and other drugs
Fifty percent of those who die by suicide were afflicted with major depression, and the suicide rate of people with major depression is eight times that of the general population
You can make a difference! Help us raise the awareness of this disease and reach out to others. We can become a community willing to talk about this painful subject and help others
See our "Resources Tab" for references and facts about this terrible disease
For immediate help, contact the National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-TALK
Visitors to this site
Parent’s Worst Nightmare
In 2007, best friends Rachel Crites and Rachel Smith took their own lives sitting in a car on a remote road in rural Virginia. Now, for the first time, the girls’ parents talk about what happened—and the warning signs they missed
Please take the time to read this Recent Article Submitted by Jennifer McGregor of the Public Health Library in Grandville MI:
What Causes Suicidal Thoughts?
Most people believe that suicidal thoughts and actions are the result of depression. While that is true to an extent, there are other reasons people can begin to experience these issues. Understanding suicidal thoughts is the first step in being able to help yourself through a difficult time. Someone who does not know the causes might believe that it is a personal fault causing the symptom while others may not believe that treatment will help them. Understanding the mechanics of your own mind is critical when it comes to mental health care. If you are suffering from suicidal thoughts, the following information may shed some light on the causes of these thoughts.
Depression is a Common Root of Suicidal Thoughts
Untreated or severe depression often leads to suicidal thoughts, which may persist or grow worse over time. The best way to handle suicidal thoughts when you have depression is to ensure you are getting quality help from a professional.
Some people who suffer from depression may not even recognize it as depression. Education on mental health is lacking in the U.S., leaving too many people untreated and undiagnosed. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts in addition to symptoms such as loss of interest, lack of motivation, and difficulty doing daily tasks, it is possible that you have depression.
Personal Crisis Can Cause Temporary Suicidal Thoughts
When a life-altering crisis strikes, a person may feel that her future is gone or ravaged beyond repair. Suddenly, she is left with panicked thoughts telling her that suicide is the only way out. If you experience a crisis, it is important that you either seek the support of a counselor or call a hotline. There are numbers to call in the event of a crisis as well as a suicide hotline (1-800-273-8255). While hotlines are not a permanent form of treatment, they are ideal for an emergency situation.
Abuse of Any Kind Can Also Have This Effect
Any history of abuse can leave a person at greater risk for suicidal thoughts. For some, this is the result of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For others, the abuse alone is enough to damage their mental state, causing suicidal thoughts. In either case, the help of a professional often mitigates the traumatic effects of the abuse and limit the risk of suicidal thoughts. PTSD, in particular, should be treated immediately before the symptoms worsen.
Social Rejection is a Common Issue with LGBT People
As social creatures, we need the support and acceptance of others. For many LGBT people, their daily life experiences include hatred, rejection, and even physical violence. This consistent social rejection, particularly by one’s family, is enough to cause suicidal thoughts as well as substance abuse problems among the LGBT community. In turn, substance abuse also increases the risk of suicide as it removes any inhibitions that may have been preventing suicide. Support groups and counseling are good ways to handle this cause of suicidal thoughts.
If you have begun considering suicide, do not wait to seek help. Reach out to a hotline or a counselor and work to uncover the cause of your struggles. From there, you will be able to treat the problem at its source rather than grapple with these thoughts that can destroy both your relationships and your life. If you cannot find the motivation to get yourself help, confide in someone who can assist you in getting the support you need. Never take the risk of going untreated.
Accepting Grief and Conquering Addiction:
By Christina Underwood
Being a teenager is hard. It’s a time in our lives when everything around us seems to be changing, whether we’re ready for them to or not. Perhaps one of the hardest changes we can go through in our adolescent years is losing a loved one unexpectedly. It’s a devastating experience that has a way of knocking us off our feet with a force we’ve never known before.
This kind of blow — on top of everything else going on in their lives — can cause some teens to fall into such despair that they lose their way in life. When Megan’s son passed away while she was still in high school, her addiction took a turn for the worst. We had the recent opportunity to speak with her and she shared her journey of grief and loss, substance abuse, and overcoming it all to put the pieces of her life back together.
Growing up in Wyoming, Megan explained that a rocky home life led to her early experimentation into the world of drugs and alcohol in her childhood:
“My dad and my mom drank a lot. I took care of my brother. I was sexually and physically abused. And eventually, that led to hanging around people that drank and used drugs.”
When she lost her son, however, Megan fell into a deep depression. Unable to pull herself out, she slowly fell away from her responsibilities.
“[My son’s passing] was really hard for me. I just grew so fast,” she said. “And that’s when I pretty much stopped going to school for the most part. I stopped playing basketball, and I would get to the point where I wouldn’t get out of bed unless I shot up.”
Her moment of clarity
For some in the midst of depression or a tragedy, there comes a time when it suddenly becomes obvious that something has to change. They might see it in the eyes of a concerned loved one, or look around and realize how out of control their life has become. For Megan, it was the latter — and the moment she said that saved her.
“One day I woke up and I looked next to me and there was a spoon, and there were used needles,” she recalled. “I had lost my house, I was living with somebody else, and the way I paid my rent was with drugs. I just woke up and had this overwhelming feeling of, ‘I can’t do this anymore. I can’t.’”
She picked up the phone and called Michigan’s Best Drug Rehabilitation to inquire about inpatient drug rehab. Megan said that at first she had cold feet, but her intake counselor helped her take the next important — albeit, frightening — step toward recovery.
“He just kept encouraging me to come. I would come up with every excuse, but he said, ‘No, you need to come,’” she remembered.
Even though she was afraid, Megan knew she had to find a way to take her life back and find happiness again. She just needed help getting there.
“Through all of it, I had this overwhelming feeling that I couldn’t do this anymore. And I just didn’t know how to stop,” she said.
Finding the help to heal
Even when they have the best intentions, people tend to see you a certain way when your life has hit hard times. Whether it’s battling depression, suffering a great loss, or becoming buried in a substance addiction, it often seems that others see you for your tragedy, not yourself.
But Megan said her fear of being judged disappeared the moment she walked into treatment:
“I just felt very, very welcomed. They didn’t look at me any different than somebody else.”
She added that her time in rehabilitation helped her learn to love herself again. Her counselors guided her to find the self-confidence she needed to get back on her feet, to be able to deal with her past pain and move into a happier future. Perhaps most importantly, Megan was able to see that there is light among the darkness, no matter how hopeless it seems.
“They helped me realize that there is a way to fix it,” she said.
If you’re feeling lost — whether because you’re battling depression, lost a loved one, or are struggling with substance abuse — know that it is always possible to live the happy life you deserve! We can rarely achieve that entirely on our own, so never be afraid to reach out for help.
Foods-4-Thought Cookbook is ready! Get your copy today. Contact us at email@example.com and we can ship one to you. The cost of production is $38 so we suggest a donation of $40 (or more if you can help our mission). Your donations go directly to a worthy cause!
Out of Darkness Walk - F4T raised over $5,000 to support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Active Minds 2012 - F4T donated $1000 to support the mission of Active Minds