Rising Suicide Rates–What Can We Do?

Shhh, If We Don’t Talk About It, It Won’t Happen, Right?!  Wrong!

We are more connected than ever before.  Social media and the internet helps us know minute by minute what our “friends” are up to, what President Trump is thinking about, that your high school English teacher had a retirement party, and that your college roommate just had her second baby.

But, we are lonelier than ever before.

Most of us have probably seen the latest statistic released by the CDC–suicide rates have increased 30% across all demographics.  That’s a lot, y’all.  I also read that suicide rates more than doubled that of homicides in 2016.  

June is the month we celebrate our fathers, and I will pass another Father’s Day missing my Daddy because he committed suicide. He suffered from depression for a long time before he decided to take his own life.  Previous threats may have been “cries for help”, but it didn’t mean he didn’t have plans to follow through with it.  

We can talk about testicular cancer and breast cancer, but people shy away from talking about depression and suicide.  Did you know 1 in 6 Americans take some kind of antidepressant?  That means lots of people you know and love are on them.  We have laws to protect patient’s privacy and most people don’t walk around advertising they are taking these medications.  

Why not?  

Because it is still a very taboo topic.  After my Daddy died, most people were so kind and compassionate.  Many people didn’t want to say anything at all, because it seemed awkward or uncomfortable, more so than with a “normal” death.  And that’s OK.  I understand.  But there were a few that said really terrible, awful things.  Things that contribute to the stigma around depression and suicide.  Things like “too bad you won’t get to see him in Heaven.”  Really?  Because I thought Jesus died for all of our sins.  And I am pretty sure the only unforgivable sin is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.  Read your Bible.  It’s in there…black and white.  

Depression is an illness.  A true medical illness and not a choice.  No one chooses to wake up feeling hopeless and helpless everyday.  No one chooses to smile and hide the shame and guilt of being a Christian person who KNOWS what God did for them, but still longs to leave this world and enter the next where there is no despair, no loneliness.  It is a chemical imbalance in the brain that has a multifactorial cause–some of it by our choices (alcohol is a depressant), some of it genetic, and some of it still unknown. Some of us are born into families predisposed to mental health disorders, and we fight that battle for years.  (Just like many of us are born into families with heart disease or diabetes and have to fight that.)  

My God and my Jesus would not condemn their child to hell based on a decision that was made during the darkest days of a medical illness.  And none of us knows what happens in that split second between decision and death.  Forgiveness?  Grace?  Mercy?  I believe so.  

So, what can we do?  With these rising statistics, we have to do something.  Remove the stigma.  Make it OK to talk about it.  Let’s stop pretending it doesn’t exist or it doesn’t affect us or our families.  Be open.  We don’t hesitate to put someone with cancer on our prayer list at church; let’s make changes in our day to day lives that make it OK for someone to ask you to pray for them because they suffer with anxiety or depression.  Be willing to share your struggles with others who may need to hear a story of help and hope.  Let’s make it safe for people to come out of the shadows and ask for help.  

And, lastly, let’s all make a greater effort to put down our devices and really connect with the people around us.  Open your heart and your mind and your home and your arms, and love those in your circle.  You may not realize right now who is there that is suffering. Love one another as Christ has loved us–unconditionally, gracefully, whole-heartedly.  

So, as Father’s Day approaches, I will undoubtedly miss my Daddy.  He was sweet, funny, generous, and loving.  I could write for days about him and about this topic.  But I would like to stop and thank God for the other men in my life–my step-father who loves me and mine like his own, my grandfathers who set such a Godly example, my precious husband who is always there, my brother, my brother-in-law, and my uncles, cousins, and friends who are like family.  

Most of all, I am thankful for a loving Heavenly Father, who makes beauty out of ashes.  He, who can take the darkest times in our lives and make them something wonderful, can help you and me through any trial life brings.  He is never far away if you need Him.

And neither are we at 3:16 Healthcare.  We understand depression, because many of us have been there.  

God bless, Allison Key, MD

Staff Spotlight:  Chelsea Downs

Chelsea Downs was born in Canada. When she was five, her family made the big move to Georgia. She then graduated from Bremen High School. She then went on to attend West Georgia Technical College where she obtained her Master Cosmetology degree. She worked for five years as a hairstylist, but with the hectic hours hairstyling can bring, she really wanted to pursue a career where she could spend more time with her family. That is when she joined our team at 3:16 Healthcare as our Spa Front Office Coordinator. She and her husband have two beautiful girls together—Stella, who is six, and Saylor, who is one. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, shopping, and going to the movies. Her favorite part of being of working at Spa 3:16 is getting to interact with all the sweet customers, and helping them get on their way to achieving a healthier self.

Massage Therapy:  Necessary for You Health

There’s no denying the power of bodywork. Regardless of the adjectives we assign to it (pampering, rejuvenating, therapeutic) or the reasons we seek it out (a luxurious treat, stress relief, pain management), massage therapy can be a powerful ally in your healthcare regimen.

The incredible benefits of massage & bodywork are doubly powerful if taken in regular “doses.” Touch Research Institute professionals at the University of Miami explain the more massage you get, the greater benefits you reap. Here’s why: Experts estimate that upwards of ninety percent of disease is stress related. And perhaps nothing ages us faster, internally and externally, then high stress.

While eliminating anxiety and pressure altogether in this fast-paced world may be idealistic, massage can, without a doubt, help manage stress. This translates into: •    Decreased anxiety. •    Enhanced sleep quality. •    Greater energy. •    Improved concentration. •     Increased circulation. •    Reduced fatigue.

Furthermore, clients often report a sense of perspective and clarity after receiving a massage. The emotional balance bodywork provides can often be just as vital and valuable as the more tangible physical benefits. Profound effects in response to massage, specific physiological and chemical changes cascade throughout the body.

Research shows that with massage: •    Arthritis sufferers note fewer aches and less stiffness and pain. •    Asthmatic children show better pulmonary function and increased peak air flow. •    Burn injury patients report reduced pain, itching, and anxiety. •    High blood pressure patients demonstrate lower diastolic blood pressure, anxiety, and stress hormones. •    Premenstrual syndrome sufferers have decreased water retention and cramping. •    Preterm infants have improved weight gain.

Research continues to show the enormous benefits of touch—which range from treating chronic diseases, neurological disorders, and injuries, to alleviating the tensions of modern lifestyles. Consequently, the medical community is actively embracing bodywork, and massage is becoming an integral part of hospice care and neonatal intensive care units. Many hospitals are also incorporating on-site massage practitioners and even spas to treat post-surgery or pain patients as part of the recovery process. The more you get, the more it does.

Taking part in this form of regularly-scheduled self-care can play a huge part in how healthy you’ll be and how youthful you’ll remain with each passing year. Budgeting time and money for bodywork at consistent intervals is truly an investment in your health. And remember: just because massage feels like a pampering treat doesn’t mean it is any less therapeutic. Consider massage appointments a necessary piece of your health and wellness plan, and work with your practitioner to establish a treatment schedule that best meets your needs.

Workout of the Month

Always check with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise regimen.  The workout provided below should be done to your own comfort level. 

Core Work-Out Do this circuit 5 times for a super core burn!

Warm Up with 20 In & Outs, Then:

30 Second Elbow Plank 15 Sit Ups 50 Flutter Kicks 25 Russian Twists with Kettle Bell 10 V-Ups 10 Second Superman Plank

Cool Down & Stretch!

Healthy & Easy Recipe: Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken Slow cookers are for more than cooking just soups and stews. Cook this traditional Asian dish low and slow, too!


8 Servings

  • 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast (all visible fat discarded, cut into 1-inch cubes)
  • 2, 20-oz cans pineapple chunks (in light syrup or own juice, undrained)
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 2 medium bell peppers (chopped)
  • 1 medium red onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (lowest sodium available)
  • 1/4 cup plain rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 medium garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 1-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 tsp pepper


  • In a large bowl, stir together all the ingredients. Divide the mixture between two 1-gallon resealable plastic freezer bags. Place the bags flat in the freezer and freeze.

Directions for Cooking

  • Thaw the bags overnight in the refrigerator. Pour the contents of the bags into a slow cooker. Cook, covered, on low for 6 to 8 hours, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center and the vegetables are tender. Serve over brown rice.

Recipe copyright© 2017 American Heart Association. This recipe is brought to you by the American Heart Association’s Healthy For GoodTM movement. For more simple, quick and affordable recipes, visit heart.org/recipes.

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