September is (US) National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. In May of this past year, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) website shared new survey findings that reveal people experience anxiety (53%) and sadness (51%) more often now than before the coronavirus pandemic. Despite physical distancing guidelines, Americans connect with friends and family at approximately the same frequency as they did before the stay-at-home orders and talk more frequently about mental health (38% compared to 28% before the pandemic) and stress and anxiety (52% compared to 35% before the pandemic). 16% of people who stated that they were uncomfortable talking about their mental health before stay-at-home orders were issued now say they are comfortable doing so. 55% of parents feel anxious more often now than before the COVID-10 pandemic began.
The death rate by suicide among people with eating disorders is not only higher than average, but also higher than in those with depression, schizophrenia or any other mental health disorder. The following article was written by my cousin, Judy Krasna, a parent of a young woman with an eating disorder who recently lost her life to the disease. Judy’s story shows us that even the most wonderful parents, the most incredible advocates, the most sensitive and perceptive mothers (and therapists) can’t always save their loved one. But her story is also one of inspiration and there is much to be learned from her.
May Gavriella’s memory be a blessing to her family and her spirit soar in the Heavens above.
By Eta Levenson