Home Men's Health Framingham’s Adam Levine raises awareness months after attempted suicide

Framingham’s Adam Levine raises awareness months after attempted suicide

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Adam Levine hit rock bottom. Now, he’s taking steps to help himself, and others, who struggle with mental health challenges.

Henry Schwan
 
| MetroWest Daily News

FRAMINGHAM — Adam Levine was the recipient of a “food dump.”

His fraternal twin, Hannah, and his parents dumped spoiled food over his head, and it’s not a regular event in the Levine household in Framingham. It was done to raise money to help those suffering with mental health challenges.

It happened Friday afternoon, and those who tuned in online donated money for each item Levine happily allowed to be dumped on him. All money raised went to support the Movember Foundation, a charity event that raises funds and awareness for men’s health.

Levine, 20, knows what it’s like to struggle with mental health. He attempted suicide in September as he started his junior year at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst

With the support of family, friends and medical professionals, Levine is managing his mental health challenges.

All this month, Levine has raised money for the foundation. Friday morning he reached the $10,000 mark, and increased his goal to $12,500. He hopes the “food dump” will get him there. Donations can be made through the Facebook page, Adam Levine’s Movember Fundraiser.

Helping others is Levine’s passion, but when it comes to his future, he knows that’s up to him.

“No matter how much work my sister and parents put in, the only person that can make me get better is myself,” Levine said. 

Levine shares why he almost committed suicide

Levine’s story is one of struggle, perseverance and recognition that it’s OK to share one’s personal narrative. He hopes it will chip away at the stigma of mental illness, and help others share their stories and seek professional help.

Levine’s suicide attempt occurred the night of Sept. 28 in an apartment he shared with college friends at UMass-Amherst. That evening, he couldn’t stop gambling on his mobile phone, and lost $1,500.

The thought of not being able to control his gambling impulses is what Levine said “put me over the edge.”

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The result was an overdose of pills. Within minutes, and overcome with fear, Levine called his parents for help. But he couldn’t bear to talk to them, so he handed the phone to a roommate to convey the news.

“I don’t remember anything after I gave the phone to him. I woke up 14 to 16 hours later in a hospital bed,” Levine said.

The link between depression and suicide is apparent, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. About 2% of people treated for depression in an outpatient setting will die by suicide. For those treated for depression in an inpatient hospital setting, the rate of death by suicide is twice as high (4%).

Those treated for depression as inpatients following suicidal thoughts or attempts are about three times as likely to die by suicide (6%), compared to those only treated as outpatients.

Struggles started in middle school

Middle school is when feelings of loneliness and depression started for Levine.

A “great place in life” is how Levine described his junior year at Framingham High School, when he was named a captain of the wrestling team, was a National Honor Society student and class president.

Everything unraveled the night of the junior prom.

Levine put a lot of work into planning the event, and when it was time for the formal dinner, all the seats at the tables with his friends were taken. 

“I felt very isolated. I didn’t know what to do,” Levine said. “I had very strong negative thoughts. I fixated on suicide.”

More: He lost two brothers to suicide. A Mendon man runs 100 miles in 27 hours for suicide prevention.

He drove himself to a nearby hospital, sat in the parking lot, and contemplated checking himself into the psychological ward.

Instead, Levine drove to a friend’s house, where he spent the night. Within days, he got his first professional diagnosis — mild depression and general anxiety.

“It has since been upgraded to major depressive disorder and general anxiety,” Levine said.

Major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability in the United States for people age 15 to mid-40s, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. It affects more than 16 million American adults, which is about 6.7% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.

Numerous visits

By Levine’s estimation, he’s visited inpatient and outpatient mental health programs a total of 15 times, and he acknowledged his struggles impacted his family. He described his relationship with his parents as sensitive because while they’re eager to see progress, they don’t want to say or do anything that could trigger a downward spiral.

Levine has a solid support system that includes his college professors, mental health professionals and his family, especially Hannah, whom Levine calls his biggest supporter.

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An English major at UMass, Levine is living at home and taking courses online since his suicide attempt. He plans to do the same during the spring semester.

As for life goals, Levine wants to teach in high school or college, so “I can have one-on-one interaction with students and really help them.”

Meanwhile, his immediate desires are to reach his fundraising goal, help others, and himself.

“I do want to get better, and have a happy life,” he said.

Suicide Prevention Crisis Hotlines

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please call one of the 24-hour crisis hotline numbers below right away:

Samaritans Statewide Hotline

Call or Text: 1-877-870-HOPE (4673) (Call or Text)

https://samaritanshope.org/our-services/247-crisis-services/

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Press #1 if you are a veteran

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/talk-to-someone-now/

The Trevor Helpline

866-4-U-TREVOR (488-7386) (Call or Text)

https://www.thetrevorproject.org/get-help-now/

Specifically for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender youth and young adults

Henry Schwan is a multimedia journalist for the Daily News. Follow Henry on Twitter @henrymetrowest. He can be reached at [email protected] or 508-626-3964.

https://www.metrowestdailynews.com/story/news/2020/11/29/umass-amherst-student-adam-levine-raising-money-movember/6422259002/

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