Tragically, I’ve had family and friends who committed suicide. I have struggled with depression due to family estrangement (I wrote about my struggle in The Washington Post), and thankfully was able to get the medical attention I needed to prevent a deeper unraveling.
Many, however, are not as fortunate. America’s suicide rates have risen nearly 30% since 1999, with the Center For Disease Control and Prevention reporting nearly 45,000 people committing suicide in the United States in 2016. What’s more, in 54% of suicide cases in 27 states in 2015, the deceased did not have a known mental health condition.
Many of these individuals suffer in silence. Meanwhile, our social media culture promulgates a glossy image of impossible perfection to which we are all supposed to aspire, and which may contribute to poor mental health and suicide for the fragile among us who strive to attain it. Unsurprisingly, cyberbullying and online gossip fuel a high-octane cycle of negative feedback that may be partly responsible for the spike in American suicides. And given the ever-increasing cyber-centric nature of the world, these sad statistics aren’t likely to taper off.
Carrie Sheffield is the founder of Bold. She is passionate about storytelling to empower and connect others. A founding POLITICO reporter, Carrie contributed on political economy at Forbes and wrote editorials for The Washington Times. After earning a master’s in public policy from Harvard University, she managed credit risk at Goldman Sachs and researched for American Enterprise Institute scholar Edward Conard. She earned a B.A. in communications at Brigham Young University and completed a Fulbright fellowship in Berlin.