Helping those before they are in crisis | Guest Column

By Vincent Shu

I am saddened anytime someone commits suicide, especially when this happens in our community.

In San Juan County in 2016, there were 19 suicide attempts resulting in six suicides. In 2017, 21 attempts and four suicides. Its ratio of about 4:1 suggests that we have to identify and treat at least four individuals in order to save one life. Many individuals with mental, behavior disorders are prescribed anti-depressants. Unfortunately, patients may develop unbearable drug-related side effects such as trouble sleeping, nausea, sexual problems and feeling tired that can jeopardize their quality of life. Furthermore, antidepressants may increase the risk, compared to placebo, of suicidal thinking and behavior. This concern led to a Federal Drug Administration-issued black box warning of suicidal ideation. In contrast, acupuncture can stimulate and increase the production of our own body’s natural neurotransmitters in the central nervous system and plasma (such as enkephalin, epinephrine, endorphin, serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine ) that create the feeling of wellbeing. In other words, acupuncture can facilitate the better usage of our body’s own natural chemistry, creating the potential for similar or sometimes better benefits than synthetic drugs, without the risks of addiction or side effects. Acupuncture can empower patients to help them get back on the path of well-being.

After sessions of acupuncture, I have seen that individuals let go of their emotions. Depression and anxiety are lessened after acupuncture sessions.

The effect of acupuncture is cumulative, benefiting from a series of sessions over a period of time.

Studies suggest a significant role in improving brain health associated with depression is nutrition.

I offer home care visits and provide nutritional counseling. It is important to eat healthy food. This can make a difference.

While collaborating with mental health care providers, our clinic is willing to help out any individuals in need through this difficult time of their life. When there are financial difficulties, the clinic offers acupuncture sessions for free.

In the meantime, our clinic institutes this fundraising letter. I urge you to help us in any way if you are able in this project. Our clinic is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3), meaning donations are tax deductible under U. S. law. if you would like to help by making a donation, write payable to Washington Institute of Natural Sciences and send it by mail in one of two ways:

• Key Bank, 487 Main St, P.O. Box 30 Eastsound, WA 98245, or

• 685 Spring Street Ste. 158, Friday Harbor, WA 98250.

Our board wishes to convey our heartfelt thanks to dedicated, caring donors (whether small or large) to help out this project. For questions, call 360-376-2564 or email

Vincent Shu is a medical doctor who operates clinics at 97 Yellow Brick Road, Eastsound, WA 98245 and 849 Spring Street, Unit A, Friday Harbor, WA 98250.