In our book, Ladies Who Launch: Embracing Entrepreneurship and Creativity as a Lifestyle, we took surveys that showed that women who are "launching" actually have higher self esteem and are happier than those who don't make their own schedules or report to nine to five jobs. In light of model Ruslana Korshunova's suicide, we see that here's a woman who was making her own way, who did own her life to a great extent, but maybe didn't truly know it. One wonders what her community did to support or sustain her, since studies also show that women do better when they have a tribe of like-minds around them who not only create companionship but also accountability and enthusiasm for life goals and benchmarks.
As a foreigner, maybe she lacked this community? As many know, the modeling world isn't always the ideal "incubator" for self-esteem and happiness. We see so many women in our Incubator program who arrive feeling disconnected, frustrated, isolated and sometimes even despondent about their life goals - and over the course of four weeks, find a community of women who care about helping them move forward. When you feel low, it's actually those who feel high who can help pull you out of it (not those who are also feeling badly.)
No one can ever know what's behind suicide. It's a great mystery; a tragic and wasteful one. But we can build communities of people who serve to support and sustain in the high times as well as the long stretches of desert where things lack hope. These can live in our neighborhoods, within our peer groups, professional communities - they can thrive and survive anywhere - but the key ingredient in making them truly trusted and useful is that they go beyond the fundamental purpose of why they live in the first place.
Our Ladies Who Launch community is grounded in helping women launch businesses and ideas, but our mission goes beyond that in making sure they stay connected to each other for all of life's goals. We are multi-dimensional creatures; we need communities that speak to this complexity to both avert disasters like suicide and depression, but also create oasis' of support and well-being. And this, my friends, is gender neutral.