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Depression and suicide

Published February 18. 2012 09:01AM

The National Institute of Mental Health states a depressive disorder is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts. It affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. A depressive disorder is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away. People with a depressive illness cannot merely "pull themselves together" and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years.

To understand the seriousness of mental health issues, consider the following statistics. According to the Center for Disease Control, suicide was the 11th leading cause of death for all ages and in 2005, more than 32,000 suicides occurred in the United States. This is the equivalent of 89 suicides per day or 1 suicide every 16 minutes. It is estimated that there is one suicide completed for every 100-200 attempts. Over 100 youths commit suicide every week.

There is a desperate need to educate the public and to research treatment and prevention options. That is what the Bo Tkach Foundation is all about.

Jim Tkach, Bo's father, was a former coach for the Palmerton and Northern Lehigh School Districts and Lehigh University, coached both of his sons, and led the Bulldogs into their 2003 State Championship game. Today, he directs the Annual Nike Coach of the Year Clinic for the Eastern Pennsylvania region and lives with his wife, Sandi, an RN at Lehigh Valley Hospital, in Delaware. They both give free presentations to promote awareness of bullying, depression and suicide and what can be done to help children in need.

To learn more about the Bo Tkach Foundation visit

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