September 2014


Let’s talk about suicide.

More than 39,000 people die each year from suicide. That is more than twice the rate in this country of homicidal deaths. One million people, annually, make a suicide attempt in the U.S. We need to think of these losses as preventable, as we already approach deaths from accidents and illnesses where prevention, early detection, and employing effective interventions are lifesaving.

Lloyd I. Sederer, M.D., “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” on The Huffington Post (see link below).

Knowing what you can do to prevent suicide is like knowing how to perform CPR: you hope you never have to use that knowledge, but if you’re ever in a situation where you do, you’ll be thankful you can. People who commit suicide are just like you. They have jobs and families. They experience stress. They might even seem “perfectly normal” to almost everyone around them. Some have faced joblessness and homelessness. Others are wildly successful at their careers and own multiple houses. You might know someone who has tried to commit suicide (and maybe you don’t even know it). You have absolutely no way of knowing whether you, a family member, a co-worker, or a friend may become suicidal in the future.

September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day, a collaboration of International Association for Suicide Prevention, the World Health Organization, and the World Federation for Mental Health. Consider this post a Public Service Announcement that YOU have the power to help prevent suicide.

I know several people who have contemplated or attempted suicide. In high school, one of my close friends was suspected of being suicidal, as was a mutual classmate of ours; both were taken to a mental health facility.  My friend was (and is) one of the smartest people I have ever met. She has a quick wit, easily learned anything she put her mind to learning from language to musical instruments, and was a prolific writer. People liked her and thought she was hilariously funny. My classmate–someone I didn’t know as well as I would have liked, mainly because she was so incredibly cool that she intimidated me–was gorgeous. She had beautiful wavy hair and the kind of looks that never needed  makeup to light up a room. Her sense of personal style was chic but not commercial; I admired her ability to create outfits and imagined she just rolled out of bed perfectly dressed. She was also very smart, artistic, and seemed to have a lot of friends. Another one of my high school classmates–funny, popular, involved in all sorts of extracurricular activities–exhibited some suicidal tendencies.  His family tried to help; while you might hesitate to call it suicide, he went rollerblading at night on a narrow dark street, wearing all black, with no ID.  These are just my high school friends; I know others too.

Please take five minutes out of your day to learn about suicide and what you can do to prevent suicide. Only have one minute? My friend Carlee is participating in the AFSP Out of the Darkness Walk in San Diego.  Today also happens to be her birthday, so if you have $5 please donate.  (If you don’t have $5, please consider skipping tomorrow’s trip to Starbucks?) From her campaign page you can also learn more about how you can participate in a walk yourself.

The number one piece of advice I have found to prevent suicide is to REACH OUT. Anxiety and depression are very common among adolescents and young adults (but also exist in all other populations!) and can lead to suicidal thoughts. Many of the articles I’ve read today suggest that a sense of connectedness and community are important in preventing suicide.

If nothing else, keep this number handy: Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

If you have reason to believe someone is in imminent danger of killing themselves, this is a life-threatening emergency. Call 911 or your local emergency number.

Other Resources:

The Crisis Text Line

Help A Friend In Need

A collaboration among Facebook, The Jed Foundation, and The Clinton Foundation.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

International Association for Suicide Prevention @IASPinfo on twitter

Follow the links for World Suicide Prevention Day for quick reads on suicide prevention and more resources.

World Federation for Mental Health

Among other resources, there is a downloadable guidebook called “Mental Illness and Suicide–A Family Guide to Facing & Reducing the Risks” available in English and Spanish.

Huffington Post: There are multiple articles posted today on this topic. Here is the link to the one I referenced above.

Although it was not at all evident during the Dumbo Double Dare runs at Disneyland over Labor Day weekend (so much humidity that I might never need a sauna again), we’re entering the last few weeks of summer.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you to stop wearing white (seriously, you’d be a fool to take my fashion advice anyway) and summer is not over until it is over (that would be the fall equinox, which isn’t quite here yet).

Instead of wasting these last few weeks of summer by lamenting that it is ending, I’m slurping the last juicy bits of summer out of these weeks.  Here’s how:

Making good on the #PainFreePledge. Back pain affects 8 out of 10 people–including me. I’ve been rear-ended twice, and had a doozie of a car accident. I’ve been fascinated with pain and the body since I started studying yoga. BackJoy is sending me their signature product, designed to help you sit with good alignment, so I can review it. Anyone can take the #PainFreePledge on the BackJoy Facebook Page. For my pledge, I chose to pay extra attention to my daily body habits–how I sit at work, how often I break to move and look away from the monitor, etc. Go take the pledge, keep your body supple, and maybe win prizes!

Channeling my inner “Frozen.”  As fall nears, it is time for spring cleaning’s better half: the fall purge. Ratty underwear? Clothes I haven’t worn in two years? That makeup I bought in law school? The self-imposed stress that comes from having spring race review posts unfinished?  LET IT GO, Let it goooo! Time to take advantage of the many ways that the resources I no longer need can help others, and quit being so hard on myself.

Gambling on DietBet. Fitness magazine is hosting a DietBet 4 that starts September 9, and it isn’t too late to join.  The game works like this: you gamble $30, betting that you can lose 4% of your body weight over the course of the game. Weight-loss is verified with two mandatory weigh-ins (confidential!); everyone who loses 4% “wins” and splits the pot–currently over $47,000!  Interested?  Click here to join: Fitness Magazine Diet Bet.

Play-testing The Fitness Games. I met the two guys who started this app at IDEA World last month, and immediately downloaded it. This month, I’m testing it for Sweat Pink! It takes social fitness apps from merely reporting to directly challenging your friends to workouts–available in real time! New to working out? The included workouts have photos, descriptions, and video. Read more at The Fitness Games then go download the iPhone app here: The Fitness Games on iTunes Let me know you’re playing by inviting me to a challenge (or send me a friend request, and I’ll send you my class plan for this week).

Studio hopping an Francisco with Class Pass. Class Pass is so flippin’ brilliant that I wish I had thought of it! I pay $99 for a month, and in exchange I can attend 10 classes at a wide variety of studios, boot camps, and boutique gyms. Options go from aerial silks to Zumba. Last month I discovered Barry’s Bootcamp and BodyFi, and tried Laughing Lotus for the first time. I’ll be writing about my adventures in the blog. While you can only take 3 classes per month at a single place, most have an intro package or other great offer for newbies. Class Pass is currently available in Boston, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. You can learn more on their facebook page, or head to Class Pass (Tell them I sent you!)

Preparing for Run 10 Feed 10. Hunger is a “first world problem.” It exists all around you–even my affluent Alameda home needs a food bank–and many American children go hungry. We have the power to help feed the hungry. Sign up to Run 10k, and your registration fee pays to feed 10 meals in the community where you run. You can choose from organized events, or a “run your own” option.  Register at Run 10 Feed 10 and use code WHBAIN to save a few bucks (but still feed 10 meals!). Not interested in running?  Click to donate to my fundraiser instead: Action Hero Elizabeth’s Run 10 Feed 10 Fundraiser

Gearing up for the Berkeley Half Marathon. Have I mentioned I’m one of the lucky Ambassadors for the Berkeley Half? After the inaugural race, organizers listened to runner feedback and made a number of changes, including a change to the route.  Come run through the UC Berkeley campus with me! Also, as an Ambassador, I get a free entry to the race–but I signed up to run before I was picked as an Ambassador!  (Oh no! What should I do?)  Watch this space for a very special giveaway later this week! (Hint: you might also want to follow me on twitter and facebook.)

Tell me, how do you celebrate the end of summer?