After cancer and heart disease, suicide accounts for more years of life lost than any other cause of death. While other leading causes of death have decreased or remained steady in recent years, U.S. suicide rates have hit a 50-year high. According to the CDC, 47,173, people died by suicide in 2017. Suicide is currently the 10th leading cause of death in America, and the 2nd leading cause of death among 10-34 year olds.

U.S. suicide rates are the highest among white, middle-aged men and American Indians, but suicide knows no boundaries. Suicide deaths occur across all ages, genders, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Many people who die by suicide have an underlying mental health condition, however suicide is rarely caused by a single factor. Other problems related to relationships, substance use, physical health, and job, money, legal, or housing stress may also contribute to self-harm. While there’s still more to learn about suicide, one thing’s for sure: we need to erase the stigma if we want to help save lives, and it begins by breaking the silence!

Our Mother, Our MOM

Our mother, Gail Boledovich, was an incredible woman. There was no one else like her on the planet, and no one we’d rather have as a mom. She was beautiful inside and out with a smile that could light up a room. She was vibrant, young at heart, and so much fun to be around. She was extremely creative and multi-talented, but her number one gift was being a mother. Unfortunately, our mother was no match for mental illness. Untreated schizophrenia stole her zest for life and replaced it with debilitating fear and desperation. It caused her to lose her job, her home, and place in society.

On May 1, 2005, just days before her 49th birthday, we lost our mother to suicide. We were shocked, devastated, and every emotion under the sun. We didn’t know how we’d survive her tragic death, but we knew we needed to move forward and turn our pain into purpose. In 2006, we founded Mind Over Matter, lovingly referred to as MOM, and started the annual MOM Race in our hometown of Royal Oak. It’s the ultimate tribute to our mom and all those lost to suicide or coping with mental illness.You are not alone. When all else fails, hope prevails.

Julie, Trisha, Lisa & Paul