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Suicide is on the rise. Why?

Have you ever thought: why is suicide on the rise? Why are so many people mentally ill? How are record numbers of people taking antidepressants? Shouldn't we be doing better. . . not worse? Why is this happening?

Johann Hari is such a great force in this space. Hari has two Ted Talks. He is Scottish so they are a super fun listen. There are two talks, but they have a similar message. If you have time, listen to both. {Links at the bottom of this post}

The overall opinion of Hari is that depression and anxiety are the cause of missing connection. He spent years interviewing people - professionals and others just like him - understanding why and how people feel better. Hari himself was on anti-depressants for years. It wasn't until he found the value of connection that he really began to feel better.

We can be disconnected in several ways: in work, from people, from values, from self, trauma, and the future. In the longer Ted Talk, Hari describes how a man working in a rice field lost his leg in an explosion. When he returned to work, he felt immense pain working in water in the same fields where he lost his leg. Of course, he must have felt emotional pain returning to this place each day. Cambodian doctors decided to buy him a cow and help him become a dairy farmer. His depression lifted. It wasn't an antidepressant that resolved his depression, it was a change in his environment.

Hari states, "Your depression is a signal telling you something." It is a symptom, not the problem.

The key to managing depression and anxiety is in your connections. In the case of the rice field worker, he was disconnected from his work and constantly reminded of the trauma of how he lost his leg. A cow was this man's medicine.

I would never advise against taking an anti-depressant, but if you find yourself feeling depressed or anxious, take a look at your life. Where might you be disconnected? Is work not fulfilling? Are you missing social connection with friends? Is there a childhood trauma that hasn't been addressed?

I love Hari's approach and his research. I have no doubt that if we are unhappy in any way, which is inevitable, then we need to look at our own lives. What is disconnected? Where am I missing out?

One way we can evaluate where we might be disconnected in life is by looking at the wheel of life. Google "wheel of life" and print one off. Essentially, this tool allows us to look at various areas of our life and see where we might improve. Its a great tool to use and allows us to check in with ourselves. If you score only a 2 in the social life section, perhaps we need to reconnect with our friends or create new friendships. Create connection.

Let me know your thoughts. This research is incredible and I hope it is the way our society is moving. Like most things, riveting and controversial ideas take time to make the mainstream. If you are intrigued, please share on social with your friends.

With love,


Links to Johann Hari's Ted Talks:

15 minute talk with over 15M views:

20 minute talk:

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