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Self-Assessing Mental Health

This week there was horrific news about a former Ms. USA, Cheslie Kryst, committing suicide by jumping off a high-rise Manhattan apartment building.  Ms. Kryst was 30 years old and incredibly accomplished:  She was an attorney, she had an MBA, well known for her work for social justice and she was a correspondent for a television show. How is it possible that a person with so many positive aspects of her existence felt compelled to end her life?   Some of her last writings indicate a concern about aging and some exposure to “body shaming”. 

Each day about 132 people die in the United States from suicide.  About 1.4 million Americans attempted suicide in the year 2020.  Suicide is the 10th leading cause of deaths in America.  Studies have shown that about 6 million Americans thought about suicide.  What motivates/triggers people to think about ending their lives?  Here are some factors:

• Loss of a loved one (particularly in last two years)
• Legal problems or a previous criminal record
• Being a victim of abuse
• Relationship problems
• Financial stress or job loss
• Depression, anxiety or other emotional problems
• Feelings of isolation (e.g., many people may be feeling this due to COVID-19)

  • Serious medical problems

Turning our attention to weight control, often we will “treat” unhappiness/depression with immediate gratification food and drink sources that will “dull” the psychological pains.  The weight gain that occurs because of these behaviors will further add to the mood issues.

It is VERY important that we all self-assess our states of mental health.  Yes, it is normal to feel sad at times, especially during these dark/cold/cloudy months.  However, if the sadness reaches the point when we start to even think about “life is not worth living”, immediate help and evaluation is needed.  

A simple and very old tool can be used to self-assess your state of mental health.  The Zung Depression scale has been used by professionals for decades.  Take the time to fill this out and see where you stand:

“Health” is not just important from the physical standpoint but mental health is every bit as important.  If you ever need immediate help, my cell number is: 703-609-0388.

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