In today’s society I’ve personally noticed a decline in happiness amongst many people, both young and old. Today I saw an article that my brother Jonathan referenced about a poll that showed 2/3 of Americans are not “very happy”. This is quite disturbing to me. After all, I am a person who truly believes we live in the most amazing country and we should all have an opportunity to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance — the Time to Play Philosophy.
I am a research junkie, which you can read further about in Jonathan’s chapter in our newly published book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life (seewww.IfIKnewThenBook.com for more info). Jonathan’s chapter is about his experience with the tabu topic of depression and suicide. I honestly did not know how significant a problem this was, and was horrified when I read statistics published by the National Institute of Health: “Suicide is a major, preventable public health problem. In 2007, it was the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for 34,598 deaths. The overall rate was 11.3 suicide deaths per 100,000 people. An estimated 11 attempted suicides occur per every suicide death(1). Additionally, it was noted that suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in young people ages 15 – 24, which really upset me. After all, life is just beginning for these young people. I also foundthat mental illness affects approximately 20% of our population, which may create a higher suicidal ideation in some component of our population(2).
I became further interested in learning about the statistics of suicide after a discussion I had with my daughter Jacquelyn, who is 18. She recently spoke to me about many of her friends who felt lost or who have given up and had a “what’s the use” attitude. Additionally, my 21 year old son, a Psychology Major at Baruch College in New York City, spoke of the same when I asked his opinion of Jacquelyn’s statements. So, I started to investigate this topic and found the incredible numbers of suicide and depression that affect our people. Even in today’s society, while it is more visible, it is my opinion that the topic of suicide and depression is still quite tabu and hidden. The pains of the great numbers of our society are truly something that the general population needs to be aware of in order to make changes.
It pains me that such a young person could feel so lost. While other situations may come into play, the discussion with my children brought to light that, with the troubled economy, the kids may feel their future is questionable regarding getting a job or “making it”. Perhaps they’ve lost the American Dream feeling, where anything in our Country is possible if you put your mind to it. Instead, maybe, they have become poisoned by news reports and feel that they have a questionable future, that the middle class is shrinking, that they have to deal with college debt, and that it will be difficult to find a job to survive. These are not just my opinions, but opinions of college students I asked as a result of the conversations sparked by my children.
So… I decided to continue my education to learn more so I can help more. I believe education is power. I chose to become a life coach to guide people in their discovery of how to live a life of passion and to help people identify what they want in life. Life coaches help people that may be lost in their life path to identify and create goals and set strategies so they could develop a successful vision, relationships, values, time management, or to identify whatever else is obscuring their future happiness and success. It is important to emphasize that Life Coaches are not therapists.
Perhaps helping people identify their passion, develop a vision, and create life goals will help others live a fulfilled life. A Life Coach may enable them to see past what they perceive to be negative odds. When we, as a people, put our mind to something, nothing is impossible. It is my hope that, with the proper direction, they will find a path and not give up.
That is what drove me to obtain this education. So I can be better prepared to help guide others in their path of discovery. To have insight that may enable me to provide just what a person needs to see past negative thinking and be able to live a fulfilled life to achieve happiness. After all, in the end, don’t we all just want to be happy?