Janet Aiko Sekiguchi Foundation

Carrying on Janet's legacy of social justice through urban education and ministry.


While we celebrate Janet's life, we recognize that a part of her legacy is rooted in her death. Janet suffered from clinical depression over the last several years of her life. She shared her struggles with those closest to her, and sought medical treatment on multiple occasions, including in the months prior to her death.

We at the Janet Aiko Sekiguchi Foundation recognize that clinical depression is a debilitating illness which is both underdiagnosed and is still stigmatized by a significant portion of our society. While Janet sought both medical treatment and the support of friends and family, we recognize that the pains she endured living with this disease at times were unbearable and directly led to her death.

It is our hope and prayer that Janet's story would increase awareness of depression and mental health issues. We pray that if you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, you would immediately seek help. By actively seeking help, you show not weakness, but the utmost courage.

Get Help: Depression & Suicide Resources

If you or someone you know is suffering with depression or thoughts of suicide, please seek help. The following is a short list of resources available via telephone or on the internet:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
hopeline.com: National Hopeline Network, 1-800-SUICIDE
befrienders.org: locate a suicide helpline within your area of the world
YellowRibbon.org: International Suicide Prevention Program
Mercy Ministries: a non-profit organization for young women who face life-controlling issues
iFred.org: International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression
mentalhealth.org: U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration information center
Protection for Life: suicide awareness & prevention guide (special thanks to students of Ms. C in New York for recommending this link)

Depression Facts

Mood disorders, which include depression, affect nearly 21 million American adults each year, which equals about 9.5 percent of Americans over 18. (source: NIH )

The symptoms of depression include:
•  Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" feelings
•  Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
•  Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
•  Irritability, restlessness
•  Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
•  Fatigue and decreased energy
•  Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
•  Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
•  Overeating, or appetite loss
•  Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
•  Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease with treatment

The depression can be so overwhelming that some sufferers are led to suicide. In the United States there were over 32,000 suicides in 2004, making it the 11th leading cause of death. About 90 percent of those committing suicide suffer from some sort of mental disorder. (NIH sources: 1, 2)