“People have suffered in silence”

The moving Facebook video and text post of 27-year-old Dublin man Doug Leddin opening up about his struggle with depression has gone viral:

Here’s the text of Doug’s Facebook post:

It’s not often I post something too serious on Social Media and I’m not sure this is the right thing to do and to be honest i’m nervous as hell writing this status but I hope it helps others and I hope you can share this if you think it will help someone.

There is something I have wanted to get off my chest for a long time, 10 years in fact. This will come as a surprise to some of my closest friends who I just couldn’t talk to for fear of loosing them or not being accepted.

But after a lot of thought and consideration I decided to make a video to lift this burden off my shoulders and to share my experiences with you.

I’m talking about depression and its something we all need to talk more about, for too long people have suffered in silence and its not right and as hard as it is to talk about it, it genuinely does help. Im not saying that by opening up to your friends, family, colleagues or even teammates that it will make everything ok, but it will certainly help.

To my best friends I have to say sorry, sorry for not having the courage to do this sooner.

To my family, thank you for the support over the past 10 years.

I’m now 27 and in a much better place in my life. I have spent years in and out of doctors, John of Gods and various other places getting help since the age of 16. It was a dark place and I suffered alone and I shouldn’t have. The past year have been much better and i’m thankfully in a place now that I feel comfortable sharing this and although I wish it didn’t take me this long to open up it did and I cant change that but hopefully I can encourage a few others to do the same.

I suppose the reason I’m doing this is to try encourage others to speak about their mental health issues with family, friends or even organisations.

If you think this could help someone please feel free to share it.
Together we can beat the stigma associated with mental health, an issue that is on the rise with people of our generation.
Just remember you are not alone!
If anyone needs to talk to anyone there are plenty of organisations out there that can help:

Console Ireland
Pieta House, Preventing Suicide and Self Harm
Reach Out Ireland
Samaritans Ireland
A Lust For Life
Possibly the most nerve wrecking thing I have ever done is writing this and clicking “Post”.

NCHS Report: Suicide Rate 30-Year High

A friend of The Sophie Fund passes this on…

The suicide rate in the United States increased 24 percent from 1999 to 2014, according to a new report by the National Center for Health Statistics of the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. Click here to see the online NCHS report, “Increase in Suicide in the United States, 1999-2014.”


From the New York Times article on the study:

The increases were so widespread that they lifted the nation’s suicide rate to 13 per 100,000 people, the highest since 1986. The rate rose by 2 percent a year starting in 2006, double the annual rise in the earlier period of the study. In all, 42,773 people died from suicide in 2014, compared with 29,199 in 1999.

“It’s really stunning to see such a large increase in suicide rates affecting virtually every age group,” said Katherine Hempstead, senior adviser for health care at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, who has identified a link between suicides in middle age and rising rates of distress about jobs and personal finances.

Researchers also found an alarming increase among girls 10 to 14, whose suicide rate, while still very low, had tripled. The number of girls who killed themselves rose to 150 in 2014 from 50 in 1999. “This one certainly jumped out,” said Sally Curtin, a statistician at the center and an author of the report.

[If you or someone you know feels the need to speak with a mental health professional, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.]

From The Cornell Daily Sun


The Cornell Daily Sun, April 19, 2016

Sophie MacLeod ’14 Dies After Battle With Depression

By Josh Girsky

Sophie MacLeod ’14 died the weekend of March 25 from a prescription drug overdose while on medical leave from Cornell after a long battle with depression. She was 23.

“Many of you will remember Sophie as a vibrant young artist, a talented violinist, and a young woman with a unique global background and perspective,” said Dean Kent Kleinman in an email sent to students and faculty in the College of Architecture, Art and Planning. “We mark her untimely passing with sorrow.”

The daughter of American foreign correspondents, MacLeod was born in Johannesburg and lived in South Africa and France before attending high school at Cairo American College in Egypt, where she was a member of the national honor society, sang in the choir and played violin in the orchestra, according to her father Scott MacLeod.

At Cornell, MacLeod studied Fine Arts in the College of Architecture, Art and Planning and brought a unique perspective to her studies, according to the email.

In addition to her studies at Cornell, Sophie also worked at the dessert bar at Madeline’s restaurant for a year and a half and at Argos Inn, where she was affectionately known as “the chemist” for her “craft cocktail concoctions,” according to MacLeod.

Rachel Donohue, a high school friend of MacLeod remembers how passionate MacLeod was.

“One of the biggest characteristics I really loved about her was how passionate she could get in how much she loved her friends or her family or even greek yogurt,” Donohue said.

Donohue remembers specifically how much MacLeod loved baking.

“It was artwork when she baked anything. Everything looked like it should come out of a magazine,” she said.

Aliana Heffernan ’14, said that after meeting MacLeod when they lived together in Risley Hall, MacLeod’s became one of her best friends.

“She had such a creative mind, from her photography to her cooking,” Heffernan said. “Sophie just had a certain way of seeing things. She also had the weirdest sense of humor, but she could always crack me up even if I was absolutely miserable. Her creativity and her off-color humor, that’s what I’ll miss most.”

Her father added that most of her friends believed Sophie would succeed in her battle with depression.

“It was a struggle she was determined to win, and nobody around her doubted that she would do so,” he said. “She touched the hearts of everyone in her intersecting circles of friends, mentors and family members, who she loved dearly and who so dearly loved her.”

The MacLeod family has established The Sophie Fund under the umbrella of the Community Foundation of Tompkins County, which will help support the fight against mental illness in young people, according to the fund’s website.

Her father said Sophie will be remembered for her many wonderful qualities including her “sweet smile” and her “unwavering attachment to friends.”

“Much much too short, Sophie’s was a wonderful life,” her father said.

University Resources: Members of the Cornell community seeking spport can called Gannett Health Services’ Counseling and Psychological Services (607-255-3277), the Faculty Staff Assistance Program (607-255-2673), the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) or find additional resources at caringcommunity.cornell.edu.


From the Ithaca Journal

Ithaca Journal, April 9, 2016

1992 – 2016 Obituary Condolences

Sophie Hack MacLeod, age 23, died in Ithaca, NY, on Saturday, March 26, 2016. She was on medical leave from Cornell University, and was an employee of Argos Inn in Ithaca. Sophie was born in Johannesburg on August 23, 1992.

As the offspring of two American foreign correspondents, she spent her childhood living overseas, first in South Africa, then France, and eventually Egypt. She spoke French and Arabic as well as English. Her lifelong involvement in the creative arts included 15 years as a violin student in the Suzuki Method, 11 of them in the Cairo Opera House Youth Talent Development Program; she performed in many concerts in Paris, Cairo, and Ithaca, including a solo performance at the Cairo Opera House.

Sophie graduated in 2010 from Cairo American College, where she was a member of the National Honor Society, performed in the school orchestra, sang in the choir, played water polo, soccer, and volleyball, and served as class vice president. At CAC, she participated in school trips to Russia, Spain, and Vietnam; she counted knitting caps for the children’s cancer hospital in Cairo as one of her most fulfilling experiences.

Earlier, Sophie was an elementary and middle school student at the Lycée Français du Caire, and earned a brown belt in karate in the school’s martial arts program. In 2010, she enrolled as a Bachelor of Fine Arts candidate in Cornell’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning and lived in the Risley Residential College. She excelled in artistic media from painting and drawing to photography and printing.

While at Cornell Sophie’s zest for baking and her distinctive creative talent merged into a professional pursuit in the culinary arts; for one of her first sculpture assignments she created a gingerbread house in the form of an ornate mosque. She ran the dessert counter at Madeline’s Restaurant in Ithaca for a year and a half, and was exploring a career as a pastry chef and bakery owner after completing her degree at Cornell. She was working on a cookbook about craft cocktails provisionally entitled The Prep: Handbook of Spells, Hexes, and Poisons. Sophie also operated an online vintage clothing business, EerieVintage.

With her prodigious appetite for life, Sophie enriched the lives and touched the hearts of everyone in her intersecting circles of friends and mentors in Ithaca and far beyond. She will be remembered for her fierce independence; her defense of justice and equality especially for those marginalized by society; her unwavering attachment to friends; her quirky and mischievous manner; her sweet smile and laugh; her original sense of style; her fondness for Ithaca and its vibrant restaurant scene, farmer’s market, and organic grocery stores; and her devotion to Bagel, her beloved cat.

Sophie is survived by her parents, Scott MacLeod and Susan Hack, of Cairo, Egypt; her grandparents Melvin and Rosalinda Hack, of Chicago, IL; her uncle Andrew MacLeod, of St. Simon’s Island, GA.; her aunt and uncle Laurie and Walter “Skip” Knoll, of Erie, PA; and her cousin Rachel Schneider, of Pittsburgh, PA. She was preceded in death by her grandparents Robert MacLeod, of Coraopolis, PA and Jeanne MacLeod, of Erie, PA.

Friends may call at the Burton Westlake Funeral Home, 3801 West 26th Street, Erie, PA on Friday, April 15, from 6-9 p.m., and are invited to attend a service celebrating Sophie’s life at Lakewood United Methodist Church, 3856 West 10th Street, Erie, PA on Saturday, April 16, at 12 Noon. Interment will be at Laurel Hill Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made by check payable to the “Community Foundation of Tompkins County,” 200 East Buffalo Street, Suite 202, Ithaca, NY 14850. Contributions should be designated for the “Sophie Fund,” which will be used to support mental health services for young people in Ithaca. For more information, contact the Community Foundation at (607) 272 9333 or by email info@cftompkins.org.



A Way To Help

The Sophie Fund, established in April 2016 in memory of Cornell University fine arts student Sophie Hack MacLeod, supports mental health initiatives aiding young people in the Ithaca, New York area.

Sophie was bursting with talent and plans for the future until she succumbed to her battle with depression at the age of 23 on Easter Weekend in 2016. At the time of her death from an overdose of prescription drugs for her condition, she was on medical leave from her senior year studies. She was working in Ithaca’s vibrant culinary scene, and exploring a career as a pastry chef and opening a bakery after completing her degree.

Please consider making a contribution to The Sophie Fund through the Community Foundation of Tompkins County

Send a check payable to the “Community Foundation of Tompkins County” to the Foundation’s address:

Community Foundation of Tompkins County
200 East Buffalo Street
Suite 202
Ithaca, NY 14850

Or, visit the Community Foundation’s online giving page here.

Please be sure to designate that your donation is for “The Sophie Fund.”