ABC's Ginger Zee candidly, courageously opened up about her suicide attempt.

Warning: Suicide is discussed in this article.

Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Hearst.


Ginger Zee, chief meteorologist at ABC News, knows most viewers only see her through her done-up, smiley, scripted appearances on "Good Morning America." Her new book aims to change that.

“This is the anti-Instagram book,” the on-air personality told People magazine, noting it won't present her life story in a polished, picture-perfect way. "I’m so worried, because there’s still a part of me thinking, 'Oh gosh, this is a lot to tell people.'"

In her book, "Natural Disaster: I Cover Them. I Am One," the 36-year-old opens up about her battles with mental illness going back several years.

Zee was 21 years old, fresh out of college, and living with a former boyfriend when she attempted suicide.

Fortunately, the amount and combination of drugs she swallowed wasn't lethal. After being admitted to the hospital, however, she was diagnosed with depression.

Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Women's Health Magazine.

“I’d lost all hope,” Zee told People. “I just shut down. [Life] wasn’t worth living. I was wasting people’s time and space.”

In retrospect, Zee attributes her suicide attempt at least in part to being newly diagnosed with narcolepsy and ill-prepared to handle a medication's powerful effects; her senses had been heightened — emotional highs were very high, and emotional lows were very low.

Regardless, her mental health desperately needed to be addressed. As depression is one of the most common types of mental illness, Zee understood she wasn't alone. In 2015, about 16.1 million American adults experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

As the Mayo Clinic pointed out, there are various medical reasons why people experience depression, from a person's genetic makeup to brain chemistry and hormonal imbalances. External factors like stress and trauma can also contribute, research has found.

"It’s scary, the way your mind can overpower what is real and what is right," Zee said. "Now as a mother, to think that that could be my child? That is frightening.”

Zee (right) and her husband, Ben Aaron. Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images for Women's Health.

Zee's life with depression has been an ongoing journey. In 2011, 10 days before starting her lucrative new gig at ABC News, Zee checked herself into a medical facility in New York City, sensing her mental health was spiraling. She didn't want her career and personal life to suffer.

“I realize, too, that just because I’ve been in a good place for six years and I’ve gotten myself to a much healthier mental state ... I don’t think that I’m cured,” Zee told People. “I don’t think anybody’s forever cured."

Now, she's decided to share her story so that others know the best thing they can do is express and address what they're feeling internally: "Being aware of [depression], sharing it, talking about it — this is where I hope that the healing happens.”

Need help? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

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Prior to European colonization of North America, millions of bison roamed the Great Plains. By the turn of the 20th century, those numbers had dropped to less than 1,000. The deliberate decimation of buffalo herds was a direct attack on the Native American people, who colonizers saw as an obstacle to their "Manifest Destiny," and who the U.S. government engaged in a systematic attempt to eliminate or force into docile submission.

For thousands of years, bison were a sacred, inseparable part of life for Indigenous tribes of the Great Plains, used for food, shelter, utensils, and clothing, in addition to spiritual and emotional well-being. Wiping out the bison population nearly wiped out the Native tribes they were connected to.

Though bison numbers have increased significantly thanks to conservation efforts, governments are still grappling with the ugly legacy, and some municipalities are taking steps to try to repair some of the damage done. As one example, the city of Denver, Colorado has taken the step of giving some of the city's bison population managed by Denver Parks and Recreation to Native American tribes engaged in bison conservation efforts.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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