Dentist Kim Harm’s 19 year old son, Eric, looked like he had everything going for him. He was a smart, talented jazz pianist who had just finished his first semester at Columbia University. He had been elected to the student council, was getting excellent grades and had a girlfriend he adored. Two weeks into the second semester, his girlfriend broke up with him, and 45 minutes later, he died by suicide.
Kim and her family, as well as so many friends, were devastated. For Kim, this was the third suicide in her family. Her depression worsened as well as she struggled in her grief. She had now lost her mother, nephew and son to suicide. The guilt and second-guessing were overwhelming.
Now, 11 years later, she has been able to put those thoughts to rest, and replace them with a desire to help others. She is working to educate as many people as possible about depression, mental illness and suffering. After working a career as a dentist, she saw the effects of mental illness in the dental office, and felt that she could make a difference.
Through her work as an ADA spokesperson and consumer advisor, she has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, Fox News, NPR and other network affiliates. She has been quoted in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Tribune as well as many others. Some of her published articles will be attached below.
Dr. Harms writes and speaks nationally to dentists who have a much higher rate of suicide than the general population. Many dentist and other professionals struggle to seek help for mental illness for fear of what colleagues or patients might think. She attacks those ideas head on. Kim also discusses how to help staff members and patients who are suffering as well. Grieving, suffering people will come in as patients every day. Kim works to help offices understand how to work with those who suffer to make them feel as comfortable as possible in an environment that can cause anxiety.