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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Family Talk Blog
Our global pandemic has resulted in terrible loneliness for some adults and way too much togetherness for others. With schools closed and legions of office employees working from home, families are glued together day in and day out. Add a dollop of nowhere to go, and we have a recipe for cranky children and grouchy adults. Even couples who get along famously, on a non-pandemic day, can get snarky during our forced home stay.
My wife Diane and I, in love for 47 years, bump into each other a little more than we’d like. Diane, a writer and a psychologist, has always worked from her... Read More
When I lived in Massachusetts, my good friend Bill would drive across the state to visit. He would always bring his tools with him so that he could help me with my various house projects. He would cheerfully help me repair whatever was broken — or I should say, I would assist him, since I have no idea how to fix anything.
When my wife passed out at the gym while I was out of town, my friend Patti showed up to help. She spent 24 hours keeping an eye on her while I flew home. And when my daughter crossed the finish line after running a marathon, my friend Tracy was there to help.... Read More
Today, I walked around Green Lake in the early morning. The sky was filling with light as the sun reared up in the Eastern sky. It was quiet and mostly empty. The leaves on tall trees waved in the breeze. I saw ducks swim in circles, chewing on lake grasses. It was cool and pleasant. I came home and meditated. My mind busily followed the ducks, swimming in circles, going nowhere. But at the end of the hour, I felt a deep sense of peace.
Afterwards, I baked sourdough bread that rose overnight, enjoying the yeasty smell of fresh bread. I ate warm bread with melted butter, savoring... Read More
In this time of COVID, families are making difficult decisions, often without much guidance from the experts. My daughter struggled for weeks trying to decide whether to send her 3-year-old to day camp. She’s a researcher at heart and read every newspaper and internet article on the web. School administrators and government officials also grapple with making important community decisions without clear guidelines. These are challenging times.
Yet, it’s not uncommon for adults to face a decision without any guarantees. Should I look for a new job? Should we move to a new neighborhood... Read More
By now, it’s pretty obvious that the coronavirus is not on summer break. Indeed, in some states, infection rates have surged and even surpassed the grim days of March. We’re all feeling discouraged.
It’s created more uncertainty. Should schools open in the fall? Should states lock down, step back, or delay further opening? What will happen to small businesses? How will we manage? What should we do? What will happen to our jobs and the economy? How much and what kind of contact can we have with friends, family, and co-workers? What will tomorrow bring?
The good news for... Read More
Joan feels like she’s running all day, every day—taking care of her 6-year-old, doing laundry, cooking, cleaning the kitchen, supervising schoolwork during school-at-home, with a never ending to-do list that stretches out as far as the eye can see. “I’m always doing something,” she sighs.
With many parents working from home and fewer opportunities to go out, our homes are needing and getting more attention. It’s amazing to me how many dishes can pile up during a work day! Our living spaces are way more lived-in than ever.
Of course it feels good to... Read More
Several years ago, when I was Director of Behavioral Health at The Everett Clinic, I started a pilot project to test using “video visits” for our patients. I wanted to see how patients and providers would adapt to this technology. Using an audio-video platform, like Facetime or Skype, to conduct visits with a mental health professional isn’t new. The Veterans Administration has been using video visits for decades to reach out to veterans in rural areas. But change in health care is often slow.
Or is it?
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a rapid explosion of... Read More
In the last several weeks I’ve heard from numerous people — “I feel like I’m going crazy! I just can’t stand it anymore!” The coronavirus pandemic is taking a toll on our mental health. Just when we hoped that our communities and our lives would open up, albeit in a reduced fashion, we hear that the infection rate is growing, not stabilizing or shrinking as we hoped. Many states and counties are returning to more restricted regulations.
It’s the uncertainty that gets to us. We don’t know what to expect. We grasp at any good news and feel discouraged when we hear bad news. One... Read More
During the last six months, many adults have spent an unusual amount of time with their partners. My wife and I are both working from home, when I used to go to my office in Everett. We bump into each other all day—sometimes it’s more than a bump and instead like a head-on collision.
I notice that after a while, I can get grumpy. And then, where can we go on the weekends? While stores, restaurants, parks, and beaches are slowly opening up, there is always the ever-present threat of the coronavirus. We’re fortunate that summer is here, with long, wide open sunny days offering hikes... Read More