Grappling with a substance use disorder or other social determinants of health – such as poverty, unemployment, unstable housing and suffering from multiple traumas, can increase the odds of a person becoming depressed and suicidal, says Dr. Paula G. Panzer, chief clinical and medical officer at the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services in New York City. Doing well professionally and financially may protect you from some of these challenges, but they don’t guarantee good emotional health, she says. It’s important to keep in mind that achieving certain goals doesn’t hold the same meaning for everyone. “We make a lot of assumptions and draw conclusions about the attainment of wealth or acclaim,” she says. “We assume if I could be rich, famous, married or whatever, then all our problems would go away. It doesn’t work like that.”
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