Depression – How Giving Back Helps Fight It

The views presented are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the United States Department of Defense or the United States Navy.


Anthony Bourdain’s show “Parts Unknown” is by far one of my favorite shows on television. He introduced you to and helped you learn about peoples’ culture through their food. Most people he portrayed on his show looked happy, even while depression ruled his life. However, this occurred ever when he knew he would commit suicide while he was at the peak of professional life. Anthony Bourdain seemed to have everything going for him. However, even though he was at the height of what the world considers “success,” he unfortunately committed suicide on June 8th, 2018. On average, every 12 minutes a fellow human being commits suicide in the United States. From the time you wake up to the time you go to bed, 120 human lives have likely been lost. The next day, an additional 120 people will die in the time it takes to get back in bed. What could you do to help prevent at least one death?


To answer this question, we need to get to the root of the problem. In the case of America’s mass suicide epidemic, this happens to be depression. Depression is the leading cause of suicide, and affects all layers of society and all ranks of our military. What we are blind to however, is that there is hope for those who suffer from this disease. As humans we are incapable of maintaining two opposite thoughts in our mind simultaneously. For example, a person cannot think of how hopeless her life is while feeling excited about the future. In conjunction with currently available psychological therapy, this would be a breakthrough in suicide rates. However, do we see the world taking advantage of it?

Thankfully because of technology, we are just a click away from making a difference in someone’s life. Each evening, send an email to at least one person you are most grateful for that day. You might be amazed at the light that such a simple act of kindness can bring to someone’s else darkness. Of course, this also has the added benefit of brightening your tomorrow. I know it is hard to know when someone is battling depression but if we stay connected enough, we can be the ray of hope for someone in need.

How you can help.

If you know someone who suffers from depression, remind them that you are grateful for them. Introduce them to an encouraging TED talk like the one presented by Sean Achor on the topic of gratitude. Don’t forget to share the phone number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline as well. You can reach them at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). All calls are confidential and available 24/7 to anyone in need.

In case you are looking for a reason to be grateful for after reading this post, how about starting by being grateful of the fact we are for living in a world where we can bring sight to the blind, food to the hungry, and use the power of our mind to bring hope to the despairing?

You can learn more about the topic of gratitude by reading chapter 6 of “7 Checklist Items for Success” by Jean G Mathurin, M.D.

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