September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, a nationally recognized effort to bring awareness to suicide and depression.
Arkansas City native Nate Lind recently spoke at Harvard University regarding suicide and the increase in suicide rates among men.
“Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for people (younger than) 44. Eighty percent of people that die by suicide are men, and it is on the rise,” he said.
“Depression and feelings of isolation are some of the leading causes of suicide,” Lind added.
He shared his own experiences with depression and suicidal ideation in his speech.
False calm before the storm
“Two years ago, my business (Legendary Man) was killing it,” Lind said.
“I was doing $5 million a month in sales at a 15-percent profit margin, selling health and beauty products around the world.
“It was exciting, it was addictive, I was obsessed with work. I considered it my primary purpose on Earth and my role to provide for my family.”
But there was another facet to his success — he neglected to take care of himself, both physically and emotionally.
“My two boys barely saw me and when they did, they were afraid of me,” Lind said. “And in my marriage, I was being passive-aggressive and ‘keeping score.’”
In 2015, a customs issue in Australia caused Legendary Man’s products to be withheld.
This, in turn, caused customers to blame the company for their purchases being held up in customs.
“We immediately became Australia’s public enemy number one,” Lind said.
His reactions to this new development were born of anger and confusion.
“I eventually became seriously depressed. I closed myself off to my wife, which made her feel like I didn’t love her,” Lind said.
In three months, he was overwhelmed by the feeling of failure, fear of bankruptcy and thought of having to lay off all employees of Legendary Man.
“The feeling of failure was so overwhelming, I remember (thinking) one night how easy it would be to veer off a cliff near my office and end it all,” Lind said.
At this point, Lind reached out to a group of entrepreneurs he had assembled.
This community of like-minded people armed him with contacts and information that helped to get his business back up and running again.
“By the end of the year, we only ended up losing $750,000, which really was a miracle, and I kept the team together,” Lind said. “The following year, we rebounded to make a seven-digit profit.
“Inspired by the support that saved my life and curious (about) my own feelings of failure as a man, (this experience) prompted a journey of self-discovery where I found that I wasn’t the only man confused and frustrated by antiquated notions of masculinity.”
Suicide warning signs
Suicide deaths affect many throughout the United States.
While females are more likely to have suicidal thoughts, men are nearly four times as likely to actually take their own lives.
About two-thirds of people who commit suicide are depressed at the time of their deaths. Depression that is untreated, undiagnosed or ineffectively treated is the No. 1 cause of suicide.
People who have a dependence on alcohol or drugs, in addition to being depressed, are at a greater risk for suicide.
Common symptoms of individuals who are contemplating suicide include:
- extreme hopelessness;
- a lack of interest in activities that previously were pleasurable;
- heightened anxiety and/or panic attacks;
- global insomnia;
- talking about suicide or a prior history of attempts/acts;
- irritability and agitation.
Family Life Services
Family Life Services is just one organization in Cowley County that offers help to those experiencing depression or suicidal ideas. Individuals in need of support also can receive help at Four County Mental Health or by visiting their general practice physician.
“My experience is that even when people feel hopeless and determined to end their life, if they receive the attention they need, they are always glad they did not do it,” said Director Tim Durham.
The catalyst that causes the suicidal ideas often is a crisis that an individual needs help to navigate through.
“In order to help them, you have to have the boundary of staying outside their inability to reason normally,” Durham said.
“If someone you know displays the signs that show a risk for suicide and you are not trained to talk to someone in this situation, get a professional involved. Get help for them, even if they resist it. Remember they are in a temporary, disabled condition — they will thank you for it soon.”
“Trying to ‘talk someone’ out of feeling a certain way can backfire,” Durham added. “In other words, listening is very important as it lets the person express their hopelessness, and feel and process the pain.
“This is the main reason professional help is needed, since that helping person is not emotionally involved and is not personally afraid, guilty, appalled or otherwise overcome with their own feelings about the situation.”
Legendary Man community
Lind’s experience with depression and suicidal ideation inspired him to create a community with his company, Legendary Man.
“It is a community where we celebrate men — every day is Father’s Day, Brother’s Day and Son’s Day,” he said. “In this community, they are inspired to wake up and realize that the only thing holding them back is their own naiveté and lack of initiative.”
In the end, Lind said, he realized that Australia’s customs agents were not who wrecked his life.
“My outer life was just a reflection of my inner turmoil,” he said. “It was my own denial and ignorance. It was my lack of health and support, and the lack of balance I had with my family.”