How to be a woman in the 90s
NEW YORK — A decade ago, when I was still working in my parents’ living room in New Jersey, I was surrounded by a sea of pink-and-blue prints of a dozen-plus women who had died suddenly, from cancer, heart disease, or other causes.
In my closet, there were more than a dozen women who died in the same period, including my wife and my sister, who were each found in their 80s.
“It was a lot of shock, a lot,” said Lisa Stokes, now 70.
“I was a young woman and I was in a position to be able to put my hand up to say, ‘Thank you.'”
Stokes was a spokeswoman for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which had been working with a group of survivors and their supporters to help raise awareness about the prevalence of depression and suicide among the female population.
One of those women was Stokes.
The day she was found dead, she was in her final weeks of life and her body had turned pink.
That’s when I realized what it meant to be young and alone, she said.
I started to think, What is this woman thinking?
The NAMI-NRA was a network of women’s groups that worked to raise awareness of the health risks associated with the disease.
The group also was working to help the families of women who suffered suicide and depression.
Stokes was one of the groups’ first volunteers.
The organization’s first national summit, in 1993, drew nearly 2,000 women who were battling the disease, and the group helped to organize a conference in New York City.
It was during the conference that Stokes met her future husband, who also became one of NAMI’s first staff members.
Stakes, now 81, says she has come to terms with her role in the group, which she describes as being a sort of surrogate mother to the women who shared their stories.
“I’ve learned how to have compassion, I’ve learned to be more understanding, and I’ve had a good time doing it,” she said, adding that she is glad that NAMI helped to raise the awareness about suicide among women and the mental health issues it causes.
“When I look back on it, I wish that more people knew about it and that they had resources available to help,” she continued.
NAMI’s mission is to combat the spread of mental health disorders through a combination of research and social service work.
The network, founded in 1997, was also involved in the early development of a program for women that offered financial and emotional support, and in the development of an online mental health resource, NAMI Now.
As NAMI is now a part of the National Institutes of Health, the organization also offers educational resources, and also provides grants for research.
The National Alliance, founded by the late activist Gloria Steinem, has also been helping women with depression and suicidal thoughts since it was founded.
The organization’s mission, as stated on its website, is to promote the use of alternative, nonjudgmental, supportive approaches to help people living with mental illness and to educate the public about the risks of suicide.
“We are also committed to addressing the cultural issues that have led to the disproportionate rates of suicide among individuals of color,” the organization states on its mission page.
“Our goal is to change the way our culture views suicide.”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK.
The suicide toll among women ages 45-49 is estimated to be about 15,000 per year.
Stoking said she thinks that is an underestimate because it is often assumed that suicide is a male-specific problem, especially among younger women.
She is not the only one to say so.
In January, a woman named Sarah Tishler, who was found by her husband and two other people in their 90s, was found hanged in her bed in her suburban Chicago home.
A judge sentenced Tishlers husband, John, to 25 years in prison, saying that he did not take responsibility for his wife’s death.
Tishles husband was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for her murder.
More recently, a California man, Joshua Denniston, was sentenced on July 1 to life without parole for killing his girlfriend, Emily Smith, after she called 911 to report a domestic dispute.
Dennistons girlfriend, who has not been identified, was left with extensive facial and other injuries.
A New Jersey man, who is now in prison for killing two people in the name of religious faith, killed his mother, then himself, in her home after his mother died of cancer in 1997.
Marianne Varela, a mental health worker with NAMI, said the organization has seen increased support from both the government and the private sector in