Instagram’s monthly active user base — to name just one social network — has increased more than 10 times since 2013, to about a billion people today.

Many of these users are exchanging ideas in a respectable fashion. Even those who agree to disagree are respectful.

But many aren’t.

Instead of caring for each other these days, we seem more interested in tearing each other down.

And I honestly don’t believe I’m exaggerating when I say the way we communicate going forward is the difference between life and death…

2 Types of Wealth … Both Are Equally Important

As I hope you’ve seen in what we do here at Banyan Hill, money isn’t all that drives us.

Financial wealth is super important, but so is emotional wealth.

There are many definitions of emotional wealth. One source says emotionally wealthy people are positive risk-takers who are secure in what they do. They invest, but they also give.

I won’t disagree with that.

It’s important to address both types of wealth. You see, there is an epidemic happening right now here in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the number of suicides in the U.S. has increased every year except one since 1999.

In 2016 (the latest data provided), nearly 45,000 people killed themselves here. It is the 10th-leading cause of death.

This number is remarkable because for every death by suicide, 25 people attempt it.

It is the second-leading cause of death among young people aged 15 to 34. And the underlying numbers are rising.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports the rate of suicide has increased by 30% and 37%, respectively, since 2000 for young people aged 15 to 24 and 25 to 34.

Kids are not very nice to each other. You have likely heard or even made some of the anecdotal observations of “kids these days.”

They live on their phones. They don’t actually talk to each other. They are involved in some heinous hazing stories.

Except for the last one, these anecdotes are probably caricatures of the truth.

But we can observe the numbers.

Suicide is a public health crisis.

Who Does It Affect?

My friend’s daughter tried to kill herself the other day.

Many people who consider or carry out suicide have mental health conditions.

And some simply don’t love themselves … even if that self-loathing is just temporary.

Professionals say one factor in the rising rate is the Great Recession that hit in the late 2000s. Economic downturns have a strong relationship with the number of suicides.

All of the above issues can lead people to do some extreme things.

That list of extreme things includes the ultimate sacrifice: taking one’s own life.

That is unacceptable to me.

I want everyone reading to know that I care about you.

“How could you?” you might say. “You don’t know me.”

I mean it. I care about you … and I believe in you.

I know that you have the ability to do amazing things … some of you already have and are.

I know that you can change the world.

I am thankful that you made the choice to read this article. Your decision allows me to do the thing I love the most … research investments to help people like you be more successful.

But, above all, my desire is for you to be happy.

And to be good to others.

That starts with loving ourselves.

And even though I don’t know most of you personally, I do know something about you.

I know that you can make a difference.

A Short List of To-Do’s

Some people are struggling out there. And though most of us are not psychologists … there are some things we can all do.

As crazy as it may sound, sometimes a simple smile or a “hello” is enough to break people out of their funk.

We don’t know their story. Maybe no one has offered such a simple gesture in a really long time.

If you have a conversation, tell them it was great to speak to them. Encourage them to “have a good day.”

Show them they are important by treating them with respect. That they have value. That you enjoyed the brief talk.

But this doesn’t have to be a verbal conversation. Maybe a friend of a friend you occasionally interact with on Facebook writes some things that worry you.

Send him or her a note that you care.

Or encourage someone you know who is close to them to do so. Then follow up. Make sure it happens.

You may not have any idea of how huge this can be for someone who is down in the dumps.

Why Am I Telling You This?

As much money as I expect you will go on to make during your lifetimes, can you imagine the value of helping someone love himself or herself a bit more?

To do this … you have to start with yourself.

Please think about this … and find a way to love yourself.

It doesn’t matter how old you are or how much money you have.

Once you do that, there is no limit to what you can do…

Or the number of people you can help.

Good investing,

As I hope you’ve seen in what we do here at Banyan Hill, money isn’t all that drives us. Financial wealth is super important, but so is emotional wealth.

Brian Christopher

Senior Analyst, Banyan Hill Publishing

P.S. This topic is huge. It’s so big that I can’t do it justice in this short essay. If you or someone you know has concerns about suicide or wants to learn more, here are couple of sites you can visit: