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The hidden struggle

December 17, 2020 | Mental Health

A young couple hiking at the top of a canyon with the sun rising in front of them.

My nephew Lucas suffered with depression and suicidal ideation back in high school and continued while he was in college at Penn State. It is a difficult time for many young people, and he did not know what the feelings he had meant. No one else in the family knew either. Even his twin brother who was attending Penn State with him did not understand that Lucas was suffering silently. Lucas had no idea what he was experiencing because he did not think people with good lives could struggle with depression. Everyone thought Lucas was doing well.

In his final semester at Penn State, Lucas realized he wouldn’t live much longer if he didn’t reach out for help. He called his father and told him what he was going through. He sought treatment, was diagnosed and got better! He joined a group called “Minding Your Minds” and started speaking at schools on the subject -- including his own high school. Recently, Lucas published a book about his journey, My Perfect Life. We were all so happy to be at his (outdoor, socially distant) book signing at his parents’ home in Bucks County Pennsylvania! Lucas is now 28, a chemical engineer and recently married. He chose September 14 for the release of his book to correspond with suicide prevention month. I want to continue to share his story and bought 20 copies of his book for my team members at Aetna!”

Linda Kuczynski has been a nurse since 1992, spending the last five years of her career at Aetna. She works in case management and heads a team of social workers. She lives in Pennsylvania.

Our commitment to suicide prevention

As one of the country’s leading health companies, CVS Health is committed to helping people on their path to better health. Part of that mission is and must be the reversal of our devastating suicide trends. To drive meaningful suicide prevention, everyone must play a role. As employers, health care providers, and community members, we have a collective responsibility to do more to intervene at times those at risk of suicide are most vulnerable.

CVS Health is prioritizing suicide prevention as a strategic imperative, intervening with members and non-members during vulnerable times to offer a range of specially tailored, evidence-based resources and support. CVS Health will also continue to work with suicide prevention non-profits and industry experts such as the American Foundation for Suicide and Prevention (AFSP) to deliver suicide prevention training and expanded resources to Aetna members and the public.

If you are thinking about suicide, know someone who is or need to talk with someone, we encourage you to immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).