News Archive: October – December 2016


December, 2016


More US troops commit suicide than die in combat in the war on ISIS

Suicide, not combat, is the leading cause of death of soldiers deployed to the Middle East to fight ISIS.

Of the 31 troops who have died since December 27, 2014 when the campaign began, 11 were suicides, reports USA Today. Eight died in combat.

The other deaths were a result of accidents, illness or injury and, one case is being investigated.

Combat fatalities as a result of direct contact with ISIS have been limited, according to the outlet, thanks to airstrikes and drones that have killed 50,000 ISIS fighters.

The Daily Mail, December 29, 2016


Thousands of Utah kids using suicide intervention app to get help

Kids often have difficulty asking adults for help when they’re being bullied or having suicidal thoughts — these are sensitive issues, Barry Rose said, that are difficult to say out loud.

But sending a text message about it can be much more comfortable than talking to a stranger on the phone, said Rose, crisis services manager for University Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI) at the University of Utah.

That’s why SafeUT, a free app kids can download on their smartphone to chat or text confidentially and anonymously with UNI crisis counselors, has been so successful since its launch in January, he said.

The Salt Lake Tribune, December 28, 2016


Teen suicide clusters prompt mandate for California schools to confront taboo topic

In California and across the country, suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens—a grim reminder that many high school students’ primary barrier to adulthood is themselves.

More young people take their own lives than the number killed by cancer, heart disease, birth defects, stroke, flu, pneumonia and chronic lung disease combined. And under legislation set to take effect in January, school systems up and down the state will be forced to confront the taboo topic head-on.

The Mercury News, December 27, 2016


Study: 1 in 6 Sarasota County kids contemplated suicide

Troubling new numbers show one in six Sarasota students have created a plan to commit suicide in the past year.

One mother says her son finds a lot of stress at school.

“There’s a lot of bullying and stuff like that in the schools,” said Jennifer Edwards, who lives in Sarasota County. “I think that affects his grades.”

She also knows about drug use in her son’s school and in the homes of his fellow students.

“I’m constantly torn between just letting him roam free basically and just wanting to protect him,” Edwards said.

ABC Action News Tampa Bay, December 27, 2016


Suicide: The stigma, and what schools are doing to combat the problem

Kristen Vaughan pressed her lips together tightly, trying to hold back tears. Breathing deeply, anger flashed in her eyes as she attempted to speak again, her voice cracking slightly as she steadied her words.

Less than a month earlier, her 15-year-old nephew, Samuel Barrow Jr., had killed himself, and Vaughan was angry.

She wasn’t angry at the teen; rather, it stemmed from the stigma around suicide, the taboo subject no one wants to talk about.

Forsyth County News, December 25, 2016


Newburgh mom embarks on suicide awareness mission

Brody’s Lofton’s last communication – a goodbye apology text to his mother shortly before he committed suicide – indicated he suffered from the “pain of life.”

But up until then, Lori Sullivan Lofton says there were no signs that her 12 year-old was struggling.

“He was just a happy kid – people have asked me, ‘Was he was bullied; was it girlfriend issues?’  … Brody’s personality was just like mine,” Sullivan Lofton, 49, said recently. “Very outgoing, never met a stranger, very up, the center of attention all the time. But unfortunately, maybe he was the center of attention because he was so hurt on the inside, and we didn’t know it.”

The Gleaner, USA Today Network, December 24, 2016


When A School’s Online Eavesdropping Can Prevent A Suicide

Ken Yeh thought his school was buying software to keep kids off of certain websites.

What he didn’t know was that it could help identify a student who might be considering suicide.

Yeh is the technology director at a private K-12 school near Los Angeles. Three years ago, the school began buying Chromebook laptops for students to use in class and at home. That, Yeh says, raised concerns from parents about what they’d be used for, especially outside of school.

He turned to a startup called called GoGuardian, which helped the school create a list of off-limits sites: porn, hacking-related sites and “timewasters” like online games, TV and movie streaming. The software also has another feature: It tracks students’ browsing and their searches.

And that’s how Yeh was alerted that a student appeared to be in severe emotional distress.

KVCR, NPR, 91.9, December 23, 2016


Fresno County health, education leaders meet to fight teen suicide

Faced with a big jump in suicides by young people this year in Fresno County, local school districts, hospitals, government agencies and law enforcement met Wednesday to begin addressing how to best handle mental health issues and ensure each agency has the ability to help those in need – especially children.

“There’s stigma and discrimination against issues related to mental health that make people reluctant to seek help,” said Dawan Utecht, director of Fresno County’s behavioral health department. “You go to the doctor when you get a cold – take insulin when you have diabetes. It should be the same with mental health. Sometimes you just need to talk to someone.”

The Fresno Bee, December 21, 2016


New resource advises how to prevent, respond to trainee suicide

A doctor a day. No one knows exactly how many physicians in the U.S. commit suicide each year, but one per day is a common estimate. 

It means the medical school community has to graduate about three average-size classes every year just to replace the physicians who are taking their own lives. A new initiative aims to prevent suicides among physicians and medical trainees by encouraging help-seeking behavior. And in the tragic event of a peer’s suicide, it provides expert guidance on how to respond.

American Medical Association, December 20, 2016


Clovis West student suicides not connected, but point to larger trend, experts say

While the suicide deaths of three Clovis West High School students since August left that school reeling, mental health experts say more emphasis should be placed on prevention.

The most recent suicide involving a Clovis West student occurred Thursday. Police said the student was found dead around 6:30 a.m. at a home near the school.

Afterward, more than a dozen school psychologists and a therapy dog were made available to students. Clovis Unified School District spokeswoman Kelly Avants said those resources continued to be available Friday and will be available as long as students need them. 

The Fresno Bee, December 16, 2016


Cyberbullies Haven’t Stopped Targeting This 18-Year-Old, Even After She Committed Suicide

“I thought all this was behind us, but it’s not over.”

Late last month, Brandy Vela committed suicide after being the target of relentless cyberbullying. The 18-year-old had texted her family, “I love you so much just remember that please and I’m so sorry for everything,” before killing herself in front of them. And while her family deals with the grief and trauma that come with losing her, they also have to deal with the online abuse she once faced. CNN reports that even after her death, Vela is the target of horrific online harassment. 

Cosmopolitan, December 15, 2016


Holiday season suicide spikes: The facts and myths

Suicide is not more common during the holiday season, despite what you may have been hearing for years.

In fact, in New Jersey last year, December tied for the fewest number of suicides, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over the past five years total, only three months – January, February and April – saw fewer suicides in the Garden State.

Morris County resident Wendy Sefcik, an outreach worker for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, quickly learned the holiday-suicide connection was just a myth after her 16-year-old son took his own life on Dec. 1, 2010. Her research showed her no evidence points to an uptick in Christmas time suicides.

New Jersey 101.5, December 14, 2016


Why teen suicide is so unpredictable?

The recent suicide of Grace Loncar and the subsequent death of her heart broken father has haunted me since I first read of her death. As high school counselors, my colleagues and I have all dealt with teens who told us they no longer wanted to live. I, personally, never worked with a student who completed the act, though some tried and thankfully didn’t succeed. But some of my colleagues worked with students who did take their lives. No doubt they wonder to this day if they could have prevented the deaths of these young people who had the whole world at their feet.

Dallas News, December 13, 2016


Parents attend suicide awareness discussion after deaths of James River High students

What could possibly cause our children to want to die? And how do you help someone if they constantly push you away?

These were the first questions parents and students lobbed at a panel of suicide prevention representatives, mental health professionals and a school administrator at James River High School in Chesterfield County on Monday night.

James River’s principal, Jennifer Coleman, said the discussion about suicide prevention and awareness that drew more than 50 people was the beginning of the community’s path toward healing.

Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 12, 2016


A mother’s story: Don’t miss signs of teen suicide

On Nov. 23, 2014, Donna Besler-Tatem of Canandaigua received a horrifying phone call. Her son Brennan Tatem, a 19-year-old Pepperdine University sophomore in Malibu, California, had taken his life by hanging himself.

Two years later, Besler-Tatem remains a mother in pain. But she has channeled anguish into action – educating herself about mental health, suicide and reaching out to others like Brennan. She honors her son’s memory by sharing his story and speaking out publicly about suicide. It is an uncomfortable, often misunderstood topic.

Democrat & Chronicle, December 11, 2016


Understanding suicide in children and early adolescents may lead to more effective prevention

The thought of a child or teenager taking his or her own life is startling to say the least. Yet, suicide is the third leading cause of death in adolescents ages 15 to 18 in the United States. Although suicide in early adolescence and elementary school-aged children is much rarer, it was still the 10th leading cause of death for U.S. children in 2014. Unfortunately, little is known about the characteristics and precipitating factors of suicide in children and early adolescents. Even less is known about the causes for the recent increase in suicide rates among black children. A recent study published in Pediatrics in October of 2016 sheds some light on this important issue.

Harvard Health Publications, December 9, 2016


New biomarker is higher in suicide attempters and associated with stress response

Researchers have measured a biomarker in cell-free blood plasma which can be linked to an overactive stress system in suicidal individuals. This biomarker can hopefully be used in future psychiatric studies.

Science Daily, December 8, 2016


Patients with acute coronary syndrome are at an increased risk of suicide compared to otherwise healthy people

Results suggest the need to identify patients at risk for suicide and develop effective interventions to prevent such deaths.

Journal of the American Heart Association Report, December 7, 2016


Suicide and the myth of the holidays

Contrary to what you may have heard, this is not the time of year when people are more likely to take their own lives.

The notion that it is — allegedly due to the holidays and the darkness of winter — is a myth, the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania reports today. But that fact hasn’t stopped it from being repeated.

For 17 years, the Center has been tracking the coverage of suicide and only in two of those years have more than 60 percent of news stories debunked the myth, it said in a news release today.

Minnesota Public Radio, December 7, 2016


New effort aims to reduce suicides in Montana

As of 2014, Montana had the highest per capita suicide rate in the country, and the number of people that take their own lives here is consistently double the national average. In each of the last two years, there has been a spike of suicides in January.

In 2014 and 2015, a combined total of 68 Missoula County residents completed suicide. And so far, 2016 has been even more deadly. From January through October, 28 people have completed suicide in the county.

Susan Hay Patrick, the CEO of United Way of Missoula County, said it amounts to a public health epidemic that doesn’t get enough attention.

Missoulian, December 7, 2016


The rate of suicides among women has increased to its highest level in a decade

THee number of suicides among women in the UK has increased to its highest level since 2005.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 6,188 people in the UK intentionally took their own lives in 2015, up from 6,122 in 2014.

This increase was driven by a rise in deaths by suicide among women with the rate rising from 5.2 to 5.4 per 100,000 people. 

The Telegraph, December 2, 2016


Suicide at 14: ‘I Have Racked My Brain Trying to Understand’

At age 14, Connor Ball had seen more of the world than many people could hope to see in a lifetime.

As a perk of his parents’ airline jobs, he got to travel with his family far from their home in Brentwood, New Hampshire, to Europe, South America and Africa.

He loved history and the outdoors, but like millions of teenage boys, he loved baseball more.

And despite his years of globetrotting, his favorite place of all was relatively ordinary: Boston’s Fenway Park, just over an hour’s drive away.

Connor Ball was 14 years old when he took his own life in 2011.

“The boy loved the Red Sox,” his mother, Tara Ball, told NBC News. “If you saw him walking down the street, he’d always have a Red Sox hat or jacket.”

Connor was an honor student, a hockey player and an aspiring filmmaker. He had worked on shorts for the New Hampshire Film Festival and was one step away from becoming an Eagle Scout. He had friends and was close to his younger brother.

When he took his own life in the fall of 2011, it was a complete shock.

NBS News, December 2, 2016


Suicide of 11-year-old Champaign County girl has national impact

The suicide of an 11-year-old Champaign County girl after her parents said she faced bullying has affected people around the country, including a softball team in Missouri.

The U-16 3n2 Force softball team has dedicated their 2017 season to former Triad Middle School student Bethany Thompson and an anti-bullying campaign. It will kick off on Saturday night with an anti-bullying forum in Holden, Mo., where the team will hand out bracelets and host Bethany’s mother, Wendy Feucht, and a leading voice in anti-bullying, Gabrielle Ford.

Dayton Daily News, December 2, 2016


Suicide Dangers Are Real Among Students

The holidays are a time for happiness and joy, but for many people it means the complete opposite, even for teens.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens. Studies show 1 in 5 youths think about taking their own life at some point and one in eight actually attempt it.

“It’s terrifying to me as a mother,” said Cynthia Brock, the Director of business development at Red River Hospital.

Another statistic was added when police say a female student at Old High took four prescription pills, reportedly saying “I don’t want to be here anymore.”

Wendy Risner, a counselor at Rider High School, said they see students suffering from depression every day. And about once a week, she said they see a student in a crisis situation or having thoughts of suicide.

Texoma, December 1, 2016


The Ultimate Taboo: Medicine and Suicide

Just hours before a new crop of medical students are to be welcomed into the world of medicine, Kaci McCleary, John Pienta, Aline Sandouk, Mark Moubarek, and Lisa Wehr confront one of the most uncomfortable topics in medical education: resident and student suicide. 

Among doctors, suicide rates are much higher than among the general population. The long hours, high pressure (from both one’s internal monologue and from outside sources) to succeed, fear of public humiliation regarding one’s shortcomings, isolation, inadequate supervision, the stigma against mental illness, the career penalties faced by those who admit to unwellness, and more, all contribute to the problem.

The Short Coat Podcast, December 1, 2016

 


November, 2016


 

Suicide among Young People and Adults in Ireland: Method Characteristics, Toxicological Analysis and Substance Abuse Histories Compared

Information on factors associated with suicide among young individuals in Ireland is limited. The aim of this study was to identify socio-demographic characteristics and circumstances of death associated with age among individuals who died by suicide.

Based on this research it is recommended that strategies to reduce substance abuse be applied among 25-34-year-old individuals at risk of suicide. The wide use of hanging in young people should be taken into consideration for future means restriction strategies.

PLOS | ONE, November 29, 2016


Bloomfield Woman’s Book ‘The Option’ Explores Daughter’s Suicide, Mom’s Search For Answers

Kristina Stahl was an honors student and all-state soccer player at Kingswood Oxford School in West Hartford. She went on to become an all-American lacrosse player and excellent student at Colby College. After graduation, Stahl returned to her high school alma mater to teach English, coach soccer and lacrosse, and work on her master’s degree.

But on Sept. 11, 2002, the athletically gifted and educationally driven Stahl, unable to cope any longer with years of anxiety and fear that she hid from her family, friends and therapist, committed suicide.

Her death at the age of 25 led her mother, Karin Stahl, on a painful and enlightening journey to write “The Option: A Memoir Of Suicide, Mystery, And Finding Our Way.”

Hartford Courant, November 27, 2016


Preliminary Report indicates that the Trevor Project’s Suicide Prevention Services are Effective

A preliminary release of data from a new report conducted by The University of Southern California (USC) and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) reveals the crucial need for The Trevor Project’s services.   In a survey conducted among youth who contacted The Trevor Project, over half of youth with medium or high-level suicide risk de-escalate their risk level during their interaction with Trevor counselors.  However, during the time between The Trevor Project contact and survey completion (average duration: 12 days), practically all (96%) of youth with medium or high-level suicide risk reported a de-escalation.

The Trevor Project, November 25, 2016


The Ripple Effect: Researchers look into impacts of suicide on farming communities

People from farming communities affected by suicide are being asked to complete an in-depth survey to help researchers better understand the impact suicide has on families left behind.

A website called The Ripple Effect, which was launched less than six months ago, aims to reduce the stigma surrounding suicide in farming communities.

ABC News Australia, November 23, 2016 


New Report Outlines Roadmap for Preventing Youth Suicide

More than 12, 000 people aged 10 to 34 years took their own lives in 2014, making suicide the second most common cause of death in these age groups. Now, an independent National Institute of Health panel has proposed a plan to prevent youth suicide over the next decade.

JAMA Network, November 22, 2016


USA Suicide Official Final Data for 2014

American Association of Suicidology, November 22, 2016


The app that could stop suicide: Algorithm looks at language used in everyday conversations to spot people at risk

  • •A machine learning algorithm analyses verbal and non-verbal cues
  • •It could correctly identify if someone is suicidal with 93% accuracy
  • •Researchers incorporated the algorithm into an app trialed  in schools
  • •By recording conversations and analysing cues such as pauses and sighs, it could help to flag those most at risk of taking their own life

Daily Mail UK, November 21, 2016 


POV: It’s Time to Destigmatize Suicide: New approaches needed to help those at risk

Thoughts of suicide have been a constant presence in my life ever since I was 15 years old, sitting in my bedroom with an assortment of pills cupped in my hands. That day was the first time, but not the last, I came close to losing my life to suicide.

Until recently, this part of my history was known only to a few very close friends. Because I knew that there is a stigma associated with suicide, I avoided sharing these experiences and very rarely discussed my suicidality.

Boston University Today, November 18, 2016


Ending Gun Suicide: A Personal and Professional Movement

Gun violence is inarguably one of the most divisive issues in the United States, whether we are arguing with family members around the holiday table, or watching political candidates point fingers at each other like children in the school yard.

It almost seems as if we hear about another senseless tragedy – a mass shooting, a traffic stop gone wrong – on a daily basis. But what we may not be hearing about as much is gun suicide.

We may think this is because gun suicide isn’t as large of an issue. But in fact, over 60% of people in the United States who die from guns, die by suicide.

Institute for Public Health, November 17, 2016


Economic Recession, Alcohol, and Suicide Rates: Comparative Effects of Poverty, Foreclosure, and Job Loss

Suicide rates and the proportion of alcohol-involved suicides rose during the 2008–2009 recession. Associations between county-level poverty, foreclosures, and unemployment and suicide rates and proportion of alcohol-involved suicides were investigated.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine, November 9, 2016


Creating Hope Through Suicide Prevention

Students conduct research that may save lives

In Room G-4 of O’Boyle Hall, there is a sense of hope. Home to the Suicide Prevention Lab, the students who work there believe the research they are doing will help save lives.

Overseen by Professor of Psychology David Jobes, the lab focuses on suicide risk assessment in various populations, such as military veterans or young people. The approximately 30 doctoral, master’s, and undergraduate students in the lab analyze clinical trial data on the effectiveness of the Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS). Developed by Jobes, CAMS is an innovative and flexible therapeutic approach to treating suicidal risk.

The Catholic University of America, November 11, 2016


Sacramento State President Opens Up About Son’s Suicide

Sacramento State President Robert Nelsen and his wife are talking about the day that changed their lives forever—the day their son Seth committed suicide.

Behind each of the backpacks is a story of someone who was loved—one of the 2,100 students who die from suicide in the United States every year.

CBS Sacramento, November 10 , 2016


After a Suicide Attempt, the Risk of Another Try

My family is no stranger to suicide and suicide attempts, and we are not alone. To recount just two instances:

A 20-year-old nephew, after receiving a very caring letter from his sister-in-law explaining why she could not be his lover, went to his room, shot himself in the head and died.

A beloved uncle, who had been plagued for years by bouts of severe depression that alternated with mild mania, was seen at a major hospital psychiatric clinic on a Friday and told to come back on Monday. Instead, he took every pill in the house and lay down on a rock jetty in the ocean waiting to die. Luckily, he was found alive by the police, and after hospitalization, a proper diagnosis and treatment for bipolar disorder, he lived into his 80s. 

The New York Times, November 7, 2016


Middle School Suicides Reach An All-Time High

There’s a perception that children don’t kill themselves, but that’s just not true. A new report shows that, for the first time, suicide rates for U.S. middle school students have surpassed the rate of death by car crashes.

The suicide rate among youngsters ages 10 to 14 has been steadily rising, and doubled in the U.S. from 2007 to 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2014, 425 young people 10 to 14 years of age died by suicide.

NPR, November 4, 2016


Young Adolescents as Likely to Die From Suicide as From Traffic Accidents

It is now just as likely for middle school students to die from suicide as from traffic accidents.

That grim fact was published on Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They found that in 2014, the most recent year for which data is available, the suicide rate for children ages 10 to 14 had caught up to their death rate for traffic accidents.

The New York Times, November 03, 2016


Suicide deaths on the rise in kids

Since 2007, the rate of suicide deaths among children between the ages of 10 and 14 has doubled, according to new government data released Thursday.

The death rate data, published in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, measured children’s fatalities due to motor vehicle traffic injury, homicide and suicide between the years 1999 and 2014.

CNN, November 3, 2016


Increase in US Suicide Rates and the Critical Decline in Psychiatric Beds

The closure of most US public mental hospital beds and the reduction in acute general psychiatric beds over recent decades have led to a crisis, as overall inpatient capacity has not kept pace with the needs of patients with psychiatric disorders.1 Currently, state-funded psychiatric beds are almost entirely forensic (ie, allocated to people within the criminal justice system who have been charged or convicted). Very limited access to non-forensic psychiatric inpatient care is contributing to the risks of violence, incarceration, homelessness, premature mortality, and suicide among patients with psychiatric disorders.

In particular, a safe minimum number of psychiatric beds is required to respond to suicide risk given the well-established and unchanging prevalence of mental illness, relapse rates, treatment resistance, non-adherence with treatment, and presentations after acute social crisis. Very limited access to inpatient care is likely a contributing factor for the increasing US suicide rate. In 2014, suicide was the second-leading cause of death for people aged between 10 and 34 years and the tenth-leading cause of death for all age groups, with firearm trauma being the leading method.

Journal of the American Medical Association, November 03, 2016

 

 


October, 2016


Teachers given suicide prevention training

Suicide is second-leading cause of death among those aged 11 to 18.

For many students, school is a safe environment where they can share their concerns with trusted adults or peers. That’s why teachers, guidance counselors, school psychologists, school nurses and social workers gathered for the Screening for Mental Health SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention Program in Northampton.

22News WWLP, October 31, 2106


Suicidal in the teens

Suicides among young people continue to be a serious problem. Each year in the world, thousands of teenagers commit suicide. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-to-24-year-olds, and the sixth leading cause of death for 5-to-14-year-olds

Teenagers experience strong feelings of stress, confusion, self-doubt, pressure to succeed, financial uncertainty, and other fears while growing up. For some teenagers, divorce, the formation of a new family with step-parents and step-siblings, or moving to a new community can be very unsettling and can intensify self-doubts. For some teens, suicide may appear to be a solution to their problems and stress.

Press TV, October 27, 2016


Author to speak locally about youth depression, suicide

Jasmine Warga’s book, My Heart and Other Black Holes chronicles the fictional story of 16-year-old Aysel and her obsession with plotting her own death. She finds help in Roman, another teen she meets online. But as their pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she has to choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover their potential energy together.

Warga’s book has been translated into 20 languages and is currently in development to become a major motion picture.

Wilmington New Journal, October 26, 2016


Problem of teen suicide in Colorado Springs tackled by Youth Documentary Academy filmmakers

During the summer of 2015 two Palmer High School students committed suicide within one week of each other.

One of them was Dominic Saunders, 14, who had recently lost his mother. The story of his life and death is the subject of his peer Kalia Hunter’s documentary “Dom.” The senior made the film during this summer’s third annual Youth Documentary Academy at the Fine Arts Center. Her film is one of nine YDA documentaries making their premiere Wednesday at the FAC.

“Suicide is a prevalent issue in Colorado Springs,” Hunter says. “Colorado has the highest suicide rate in the nation and Colorado Springs has the most suicides in the state, especially youth suicides. It’s prevalent at my own high school. It’s an issue a lot of people don’t really know about. I wanted people to understand and feel a personal connection to it.”

The Gazette, October 25, 2016


Years later, Army follows up with soldiers from suicide risk survey

Researchers are following up with more than 70,000 soldiers as they try to learn more about troops’ experiences with stress, mental health and other risks for suicide. 

The work is part of an extensive and expansive survey that first began in 2010. 

From 2010 to 2014, the Army surveyed 110,000 soldiers about their experiences and found that commonly accepted risk factors like combat trauma were not the definitive reasons soldiers were taking their lives.

Army Times, October 24, 2016


Teen Suicide: Becoming almost ‘commonplace,’ reports state, act is like a contagion

Across the United States, teen suicide has become a more frequent tragic reality that is occurring at higher rates. In El Paso County, the youngest person to die by suicide this year was merely 13. Dr. Leon Kelly, one of the region’s county deputy chief medical examiners, shared how tragic the statistics are and the lack of control adults seem to have over the epidemic.

“[Even] for a job that’s generally pretty tragic, it’s disheartening. You feel powerless. You feel like, Another one? Another day, another kid. It’s hard.”

Inquisitor, October 22, 2016


Suicide prevention: creating a safer culture

Suicide is a worldwide public health problem, with 800 000 recorded suicides per year, and an estimated 16 million episodes of self-harm per year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15–29 year olds, and the leading cause of death in young women. The burden of suicide is particularly high in Japan, India, China, and Russia, but comparisons between countries are limited by variations in the reliability of reporting and mortality records. In England, rates in men are three times higher than in women; the highest rates are in men aged between 40 and 54 years.

The Lancet, October 22, 2016


Mother who lost one son in Iraq, another to suicide speaks to reduce stigma

Our teenagers and seniors are thinking about and completing suicide higher than the rest of Virginia. That was shared at a suicide prevention conference in Salem sponsored by Mental Health America and the Suicide Prevention Council of Roanoke Valley.

The all day event also featured Carol Graham, a mother in an Army family who lost her son Kevin to suicide. Now she travels the country combating the stigma of suicide. “We’ve moved the needle, not far enough, it’s still very hard to get mental health care in this country,” she said.

WBDJ7, October 21, 2016


Landmark Study Shows Antidepressants Make People ‘TWICE as Likely’ to Consider Violence & Suicide

According to the latest research coming out of the United Kingdom, patients should think twice before taking SSRI antidepressant medications. Brand names can include Prozac, Luvox, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa and others. Researchers in the UK evaluated clinical trials of SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors) and concluded healthy adults, who had showed no signs of depression before the clinical trials began, reported double the risk of having feelings which could lead to suicide and violence.

The Free Thought Project, October 19, 2016


Teen Suicide is Contagious, and the problem may be even worse than we thought

Students of Rampart High School practice a performance about suicide prevention on September 27. Because they are facing a teen suicide cluster, many schools in the Colorado Springs area now have presentations about spotting the danger signs for suicide and encouraging students in need to seek help.

“…Even though her mother had no sense that Riley was having problems, she knew it was important to talk to her daughter about suicide, and so she did. Between 2013 and 2015, 29 kids in their county had killed themselves, many from just a handful of schools, including Riley’s. There had been gunshot deaths, hangings and drug overdoses. And then there were those choking deaths the victims’ parents insisted were accidental.”

Newsweek, October 19, 2016 


Instagram introduces new suicide prevention tools

You can now report troubling posts, and support options will pop up for specific hashtag searches.

If a friend is having a hard time or even in danger of hurting themselves, sometimes the first warning signs appear in social media. Instagram can now help you intervene anonymously with some new support options. If you report a post that worries you, your friend will get a message saying, “someone saw one of your posts and thinks you might be going through a difficult time. If you need support, we’d like to help.” They’ll then get the option to talk to a friend, contact a helpline or receive tips and support.

Engadget, October 18, 2016


Spirit Lake Nation battles youth suicide

In 2008, Spirit Lake Nation tribe member Cora Whiteman lost her teenaged daughter, Jami, 14, to suicide.

As the Whitemans went through the traditional healing process that follows such a loss, Cora said it was as if they received a message from Jami; to tell other youth contemplating suicide to stay in this life.

From there, Cora and her family went to their community—and to Washington, D.C., for a forum on youth suicide—to speak publicly to prevent others from following that path.

“We wanted to get her message out there,” Whiteman said. “Not only that, we wanted to talk about the pain parents go through when they lose someone to suicide. Losing a child, it’s not the same as losing another relative, another family member.”

Grand Forks Herald, October 16, 2016


Can Treating Nightmares Prevent Suicides?

These nighttime terrors have been shown to increase the risk of suicidal behavior independently of other risk factors.

Over 40,000 fatalities in the United States last year were due to suicide, a rate that has increased more than 20 percent in the last 10 years. And for every suicide, there are an additional 25 attempts. These statistics suggest one thing: that current interventions are not working and we need new methods for preventing people from taking their own lives. But where to start? Michael Nadorff, a psychologist at Mississippi State University, claims one treatable risk factor has been hiding in the dark: nightmares.

Over the past five years, Nadorff’s research has shown that nightmares are associated with a higher risk for suicide—and that among suicidal individuals, treating the former may be one innovative approach to preventing the latter.

Scientific American, October 14, 2016


Gujarat suicide prevention campaign: ‘10-12-year-old kids too have suicidal thoughts’

Describing the tendencies, the panel categorised these into mild, moderate and severe tendencies and explained how to identify these.

Children of 10-12 years of age also have suicidal thoughts. This was revealed during the second round of “Suicide Prevention” campaign Thursday organised by state education department. The programme, conducted by three counsellors and paediatricians, was recorded at Bhaskaracharya Institute For Space Applications and Geo-Informatics (BISAG) centre in Gandhinagar for live telecast to government and private secondary and higher secondary schools across the state.

The Indian EXPRESS, October 14, 2016


Rows over study which claims antidepressants double suicide risks

Anti-depressants could double the risk of feelings that could lead to suicide, according to a new study which has triggered furious rows.

Researchers behind the Danish review said the study demolished “potentially lethal misconceptions” about the safety of the drugs, which are taken by more than 4 million Britons a year.

The analysis examined 13 studies, to see what impact the drugs had on patients who did not suffer from depression.

Scientists said these patients were selected, because previous studies linking suicide and antidepressants had been dismissed by those who said the deaths must have been caused by the mental health condition, rather than the pills.

The Telegraph, October 12, 2016


Shock of suicide: One family’s heartbreaking tale

In Michigan more than twice as many people die by suicide than by homicide and the national suicide rate is the highest it has been in 30 years, according to 2016 statistics from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

As the suicide rate continues to climb, parents such as Ethel and Ken continuously ask the same question: how could this tragedy have been prevented?

The answer is layered and hazy: better access to mental health care, more public education about suicidal symptoms, and breaking the stigma of mental illness could be a start though.

ABC 10, Times Herald, October 8, 2016


Suicide Is Still a Serious Problem After Psychiatric Hospitalization

The high risk for suicide after discharge from a psychiatric hospitalization is well-known. To clarify the nature of the risk, investigators examined 6 years of U.S. Medicaid and National Death Index records on 770,643 patients (mean age, 35) with a first hospitalization, lasting ≤30 days, for a psychiatric disorder. The comparison group was a random sample of 10% of 1,090,551 demographically matched patients hospitalized with a nonpsychiatric diagnosis for the same duration.

The cumulative probability of suicide in the first 3 months after discharge was 40 to 58 times higher in psychiatric patients than in nonpsychiatric patients.

NEJM Journal Watch, October 7, 2016


What we should know about teen suicide

“In 2010 I was severely depressed, suicidal, and feeling like a failure at life, so I tried to kill myself – obviously I was a failure at that too, thankfully,” wrote Kathryn Hollander-Kidder, a teenager at that time. Was Kathryn’s survival upon a first attempt at suicide typical?

Studies reveal that 60 percent of the completed suicides are successful on the first attempt; that the duration between suicidal thought and attempt is usually only about 10 minutes. This is why we cannot identify those who will commit suicide in the near future – we can only identify those with highest risk for potential suicide.

Inquirer.net, October 7, 2017


New Website Launched By Mass. Organization Teaches How To ‘Stop A Suicide Today’

A Massachusetts-based organization that helps people get screened for depression has created a new tool to help in the fight against suicide. It’s a website designed to teach people how to intervene when someone they know might be considering suicide.

The website has a bold name and big banner when it opens: “Stop A Suicide Today.”

WBUR 90.9, October, 6, 2016


Latest findings from national inquiry into suicide and homicide published

The National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness (NCISH) report, published today, suggests the crisis teams are bearing the pressure of caring for patients who actually need a more acute level of care, such as inpatient beds.

The Inquiry reports that there are now around three times as many suicides by crisis resolution and home treatment teams patients as in in-patients, over 200 per year, although after a rise in report last year there has been no further increase in 2014.

NHS Confederation, October 6, 2016


How Physicians Can Reduce Suicide—Without Changing Anyone’s Mental Health

In the US, even though only 1% of all suicide attempts are with firearms, half of all suicide deaths are with firearms.

The American Journal of Medicine, October 2016


Even nurses aren’t immune to the stigma of suicide

In England, one person dies every two hours as a result of suicide. And it is the leading cause of death for young people, both male and female, in the UK – every year around 1,600 children and young people aged ten to 34 take their own lives.

University of Salford, Manchester, October 5, 2016


For survivors of suicide loss, ‘there is no moving on’, find solace in Howard support group

The day Katrina Tagget pulled a gun out of her backpack and killed herself, the 21-year-old college student planned meetings for her law fraternity.

Katrina’s death came as a complete shock for her mother, Sara Tagget, who never thought suicide was a possibility for her fun-loving, kind-hearted daughter who dreamt of becoming a lawyer.

Eight years later, Tagget said she still hasn’t fully healed.

The Baltimore Sun, October 5, 2016


The VA’s Faltering Battle Against Veteran Suicide

The popular imagination has often pictured the war veteran as a gregarious hero, eager to repeat a trove of cherished war stories. As a veteran of combat in World War II, I can only say that has not been my experience.

When my destroyer, the USS Lansdale, was nearly cut in two by a German torpedo, 49 of my shipmates were lost in that attack. But that was only the beginning of the toll. In the decades following, I witnessed the impact of combat trauma on the human psyche. Back then we called it battle fatigue. Today, psychiatrists call it post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

The most dramatic manifestation of PTSD among veterans now is a suicide rate approximately twice that of the general population.

The Wall Street Journal, October 2, 2016