News Archive

On this page we’ll maintain monthly archives of our News links.

July, 2017

Internet searches on suicide went up after ‘13 Reasons Why’ released by Netflix

In the season finale of the popular Netflix TV series “13 Reasons Why,” 17-year-old student Hannah Baker kills herself in a prolonged three-minute scene.

Even though the entire story, much of it told through flashbacks, has been leading up to this moment, and viewers already know Hannah is dead, the graphic sequence is a torment to watch. New research suggests that the show — perhaps this very scene — could have triggered suicidal thoughts in its viewers, many of whom are young people.

The 13-episode series, which was released all at once, chronicles 13 tapes that Hannah sends to those she blames for her actions. The series has captured the imagination of kids across the country. In April, it set a record for the most-tweeted-about show in 2017, when it was mentioned more than 11 million times within three weeks of its March 31 launch.

The Washington Post, July 31, 2017 

The Ketamine Breakthrough for Suicidal Children

Initial research finds fast, dramatic benefits for a vulnerable population

Fourteen-year-old Nicole, whose name I changed for her privacy, told her mother every day for years that she wanted to end her own life. Between suicide attempts were more psychiatric hospital visits than she or her mother could count. She refused to get out of bed, shower, or go to school, missing sixty school days in a single year. In one visit with her therapist, she admitted to praying every night that she would not wake up the next morning. After countless psychiatrists and psychotherapists were unable to improve her depression, her mother converted a bathroom cabinet into a locked safe, containing all of the sharp objects and pills in the house. Her parents were certain it was only a matter of time until Nicole killed herself.

Today, a now seventeen-year-old Nicole greets me with a big smile. Her blonde hair is pulled back into a ponytail to reveal her bright blue eyes. She tells me she hasn’t missed a day of school and is preparing for college. Blushing, she lets me know that her first date is coming up, a prom date to be precise. For the first time in years, she is happy and wants to live.

What happened to cause this dramatic change? In December, Nicole started infusions of a psychedelic drug called ketamine. Though she had failed to respond to endless medication trials for her depression (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, mirtazapine, topiramate, antipsychotics, and lithium to name just a few), ketamine cleared her depression within hours. The effect lasts about two weeks before she needs a new infusion.

Scientific American, July 18, 2017

The Suicide Epidemic: Social, Economic or Both?

Ours is a nation in despair. U.S. suicide rates have surged to a 30-year high, and it’s not just among struggling middle-aged whites. Suicides by girls age 10 to 14 have spiked over the last 18 years. And there’s been a shocking surge in children 17 or under dying from self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

Since 1999, suicide rates have risen in every age group except the elderly, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Among women 45 to 64 it jumped an astounding 63 percent. For men that age, it was up 43 percent.

In their report on rising death rates among middle-aged white Americans, Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton referred to “deaths of despair” – early deaths caused by drugs and alcohol, as well as by suicide. They cited deteriorating job prospects and a decline in stable relationships as possible factors.

Real Clear Politics, July 18, 2017

America sees alarming spike in middle school suicide rate

The rate of middle school suicide doubled between 2007 and 2014 in the United States for a variety of reasons, including the use of social media for bullying.

America is experiencing a striking rise in suicide among middle school students.

The suicide rate among 10- to 14-year-olds doubled between 2007 and 2014, for the first time surpassing the death rate in that age group from car crashes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2014 alone, 425 middle schoolers nationwide took their own lives.

“It’s alarming. We’re even getting cases involving 8- and 9-year olds,” said Clark Flatt, who started the Jason Foundation in Tennessee 20 years ago to help educate teachers about teen suicide after his 16-year-old son took his own life. “It’s scary. This isn’t an emerging problem – it’s here.”

Naples Daily News, July 14, 2017 

Texas Teen May Be Victim in ‘Blue Whale Challenge’ That Encourages Suicide

Isaiah Gonzalez, 15, found hanging from his closet after an apparent suicide, as allegedly instructed by macabre online game

A 15-year-old high school student is quite possibly the latest victim of a macabre online game called the “Blue Whale Challenge” after he was found hanging in his bedroom closet, his cell phone propped up to record his death.

Isaiah Gonzalez’s family told San Antonio TV station WOAI that they believe Gonzalez’s death was the final task in a 50-day Internet challenge that encouraged participants – primarily teens and young adults – to complete a number of daily tasks ranging from watching horror films to self-mutilation. The challenge also allegedly requires participants to take photos of themselves posing in dangerous positions, such as on the edge of a roof or on train tracks.

Isaiah’s father, Jorge Gonzalez, told WOAI that the family is certain the teen was involved with the challenge because he had sent his friends pictures of the completed tasks. “It talks about satanic stuff and stuff like that and my son was never into that,” he said.

Rolling Stone, July 12, 2017

As teen suicide rates go up, a psychiatrist offers parents warning signs and prevention tips

Famously impulsive teens are known for bad decisions and poor risk assessment skills — jumping down too many stairs on a skateboard, blowing off homework. But during this sometimes-tumultuous stage in life, Dr. Bruce Lovelace of St. Thomas Community Health Center says there’s something else parents should be aware of. Though it’s often hard to think about, troubled young people are at risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and hospitalizations for kids thinking about suicide are on the rise. 

At a May Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting, a new study revealed that the percentage of children and teens hospitalized for suicidal thoughts between 2008 and 2015 had doubled since the last period studied. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention data cites suicide as the second-leading cause of death nationally for people between the ages of 10 and 24; rates in particular are on the rise among girls ages 10-14.

Gambit–New Orleans, July 11, 2017

What parents need to know about Blue Whale ‘suicide dare’ game and Texas teen’s death

Apparently hidden in the creepiest corners of the internet is an “obstacle course” of 50 daily tasks that climaxes with a suggestion that the participant commit suicide on the last day of the competition.

While no one seems to have found much tangible evidence of the so-called Blue Whale Challenge, two families in the U.S. — including one in San Antonio — have said this week that their teens killed themselves because of their participation.

According to his father, Jorge Gonzalez, 15-year-old Isaiah was found hanging from his closet Saturday, with a cell phone propped nearby, broadcasting to social media.

Dallas Evening News, July 11, 2017

In Northwest Arctic, a powerful tool in combating suicide: Training youths to help each other

Last month, the University of Alaska Fairbanks announced a $4.25 million initiative to tackle youth suicide in Alaska Native communities, with a focus on resilience and solutions.

But one program in the Northwest Arctic Borough School District has focused on this type of community-based prevention since its start in 2008, and it now has been showing results.

Promoting peer-to-peer mentoring, the school district’s Youth Leaders Program engages students and their communities, challenging them to come up with solutions to bullying, isolation and suicidal tendencies.

In the years since the program’s start, the school district has seen a dramatic drop in student suicides. According to Michelle Woods, the program coordinator until she retired two years ago, nine students died by suicide in 2007. By 2009, it was five.

Alaska Dispatch News, July 10, 2017

Blue Whale Challenge Encourages Kids to Commit Suicide

The Blue Whale Challenge is a game that some kids in the country are being encouraged to play. The challenge targets preteens and teens. Earlier reports indicated that the challenge began by way of a YouTube video in which an anonymous instructor begins giving assignments. In total, there are 50 assignments that become increasingly more serious over time. The tasks include things like self-harm and when the participant reaches the 50th task, they are told to kill themselves.

“Over the course of 50 days, an anonymous administrator assigns kids self-harm tasks. The challenges may start by asking kids to watch a scary movie and then grow increasingly dangerous to include acts like cutting. On the 50th day, the participant is supposed to commit suicide. The game can reach kids through social-media channels like Instagram, SnapChat, YouTube and texting,” USA reports.

Heavy, July 8, 2017


June, 2017

Finding Answers: A Suicide Toolkit for Teens

If you are a teen who is thinking about hurting yourself, it’s important to know that your pain is real, but suicide is not the answer. There are so many people out there that truly care about you who want to help. In addition, the resources available to you are abundant. Use this toolkit for quick access to those resources, as well as healthy ways to cope with the pain you are feeling.

 Informational Resources

 With all the information being thrown at you in school, it can seem like you are overloaded. Pair that with feeling hopeless, and it can leave you feeling like you are drowning. If you are currently struggling with how you are feeling, take a look at some of these helpful resources for easy, straightforward information. Your parents and caregivers can benefit from some of the information as well, guiding them in ways to help as you make your way back to the top.

ACEs Connection, June 30, 2017

‘13 Reasons Why’ triggered suicides of California teenagers, families claim

The families of two teenagers who committed suicide are claiming a popular Netflix series triggered them to do it.

Two 15-year-olds from California took their own lives just days after watching the controversial series “13 Reasons Why” this April, according to their families who allege the series made it seem that suicide was the only option.

The show centers on a high school girl that takes her own life and leaves behind 13 tapes detailing why she did it. It has since faced a slew of criticism for graphically depicting the way she ended her life.

The New York Daily News, June 27, 2017

America’s lax gun laws are giving more and more kids an easy path to suicide

In 2013, suicide surpassed homicide as the third leading cause of death for kids in the US, a ranking it has retained ever since.

The recession that began in 2007 is one reason suicide rates rose in the late 2000s and early 2010s. Guns are another. From 2002 to 2007, rates of firearm suicides among US kids were falling. But from 2007 to 2014, that figure increased 60% and is now the highest it has ever been, according to a study published recently in Pediatrics.

It’s not just kids. “The rise in firearm suicides among children reflects the more widespread problem of increased suicide rates across the nation, particularly following the economic recession in 2007,” Katherine Fowler, lead author of the study and behavioral scientist at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention told Quartz in an email. Fowler said rates of suicide in the US have increased for all age groups, both sexes, among military and Veteran populations, and in both rural and urban communities.

Quartz, June 26, 2017

Teen suicide rates are increasing at a higher rate

“What most people don’t realize is they’re not alone,” said Executive Director of Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide Dawn Doherty.

That message from leaders with the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide is growing more important than ever. As new data in a report published by the State Department of Children and Families shows suicide is the third leading cause of death for New Jersey youth ages 10 to 24.

“Our intrinsic need is to figure out what the cause is so that we can figure out how to solve it. It’s multi-determinational and there are many, many reasons why that come together like a perfect storm, coupled with crisis thinking that would drive someone to do that,” said Clinical Director for Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide Phillis Alongi.

NJTVNews, June 23, 2017

Boy, 13, Contemplates Suicide After Notes Urging Him to Kill Himself Are Scrawled in His Yearbook

A middle schooler came close to taking his own life after receiving an onslaught of distressing comments in his yearbook from schoolmates who called him names and told him to kill himself, his mother said.

The 13-year-old boy was left devastated last Friday after passing his yearbook around to other children at Glacier Middle School in Buckley, Wash., his mom wrote on Facebook.

Inside, he found insults and curses, including “f*** yuo (sic)” and “piece of s***,” a picture of the yearbook showed.

Other messages were even more sinister.

“You should do the world a favor and die,” one read, while another said, “No balls kill yourself you won’t!”

“Kill yourself,” another urged.

Inside Edition, June 21, 2017

12 Year Old Girl Commits Suicide Same Day Mother Complains to School About Bullying


Bullying has led to the suspected suicide of a 12 year old girl. Mallory Grossman, a cheerleader and middle schooler in New Jersey say the seemingly happy young girl took her own life after being tormented by bullies on Snapchat.

Official say that her death is still being investigated by cops and they aren’t ruling it a suicide yet. Her mom complained to administrators at the middle school about the alleged cyber-bullying just hours before her daughter’s passing.

WDEZ, 101.9 FM Wisconsin, June 21, 2017

Poverty, Dropouts, Pregnancy, Suicide: What The Numbers Say About Fatherless Kids

The growing number of fatherless children in this country poses one of the the most serious problems in education today, according to best-selling author Alan Blankstein.

He has spent most of his life advocating for kids who struggle in school. He wrote Failure is Not an Option, a guide to creating high-performing schools for all students.

So, just how many kids are fatherless? NPR Ed put that question to Blankstein, who told us that 24.7 million kids in the U.S. don’t live with a biological father.

NPR, June 18, 2017

Striving for integrity and prevention in wake of 11-year-old’s suicide

As she always does, Susan Blaha attended the District 135 annual awards ceremonies that honor her daughter’s memory.

Last week, at the close of the school year, the AnnMarie Integrity Award for kindness, loyalty and friendship was presented to Ahlam Abdelrahaman Yasin, a soon-to-be eighth grader at Jerling Junior High, and to Klaudia Sieczka, a soon-to-be sixth grader at Century Junior High.

The award includes a $500 grant that is made possible through the AnnMarie foundation, which has worked to educate parents and children about youth suicide. That work led to the 2015 passage of AnnMarie’s Law, which mandates that Illinois schools provide suicide and depression awareness and prevention education programs.

Chicago Tribune, June 16, 2017

Survivors Explain What Was Wrong With the “13 Reasons Why” Suicide Scene

In the weeks and months following the release of 13 Reasons Why on Netflix, much has been written about the scene in the series’ final episode depicting the main character Hannah’s death by suicide. However, suicide attempt survivors as well as an expert in the field believe that the scene’s explicit depiction of suicide has a number of huge problems that are more complex than the scene just being labeled as “bad”; they think the scene is both too realistic and completely unrealistic at the same time.

Dese’Rae L. Stage, a survivor as well as the creator of photo series Live Through This, brings up that the scene’s “realism” is actually a central issue with it. “Given my own experiences as a suicide attempt survivor, I think it was a little too hyper-realistic,” she tells Teen Vogue. “It violates all of the guidelines set out by suicide prevention organizations about how to portray [and] report on suicide. It’s scary, it’s gory, and it’s very violent. It’s filmed close up; it never cuts away. The creators wanted to, essentially, scare young people away from suicide.” The problem, Stage explains, is that fear campaigns don’t work, and the show may have done more harm than good in showing people, particularly young people, how to use a specific method to take their own lives.

Teen Vogue, June 15, 2017

Suicide Rates and the Declining Psychiatric Hospital Bed Capacity in the United States

In the past 15 years, there has been a 22% increase in the national suicide rate in the United States,1 while the total number of psychiatric hospital beds in the United States decreased from 34 to 22 beds per 100, 000 residents. This suggests that the availability of psychiatric hospital beds may be a risk factor in a complex network of suicide risk factors.

JAMA Psychiatry, June 14, 2017

Postman behind online suicide game ‘Blue Whale challenge’ arrested in Russia

Russian authorities have arrested a Moscow postman who allegedly ran an online game which led to 32 teenagers killing themselves.

Ilya Sidorov, 26, is accused of encouraging vulnerable youngsters to self-harm and eventually killing themselves in a twisted game likened to the “Blue Whale challenge” that has been linked to more than 130 deaths.

He has reportedly admitted to state investigators that he runs a ‘suicide group’ that have as many as 32 members.

According to Mail Online, Sidorov was filmed sobbing as police interrogated about how he instructed a school girl to “jump under a metro train”. He was arrested and taken to Chelyabinsk region in the Urals on the charges that he encouraged a 13-year-old girl to kill herself.

The Express Tribune, June 13, 2017

Trial Over Suicide and Texting Lays Bare Pain of 2 Teenagers

Michelle Carter is a haunting presence in court, looking on darkly as her troubled past — with eating disorders, deep social insecurities and talk of killing herself — is laid bare in her trial, for all the world to see. Most of the time, she appears to be on the verge of tears.

Sitting in court, she has said nothing publicly. But her own words, in the form of thousands of text messages, make up the bulk of the evidence both for and against her in an unusual trial that began last Tuesday and could come to an end this week.

Ms. Carter, 20, is being tried on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Conrad Roy III, whom she called her boyfriend. He was 18 in July 2014 when he killed himself with carbon monoxide as he sat alone in his truck in a Kmart parking lot.

Ms. Carter, then 17, was about an hour away at the time. But she had urged him, through screen after screen of texts, to kill himself.

The New York Times, June 12, 2017

Artificial intelligence can now predict suicide with remarkable accuracy

When someone commits suicide, their family and friends can be left with the heartbreaking and answerless question of what they could have done differently. Colin Walsh, data scientist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, hopes his work in predicting suicide risk will give people the opportunity to ask “what can I do?” while there’s still a chance to intervene.

Walsh and his colleagues have created machine-learning algorithms that predict, with unnerving accuracy, the likelihood that a patient will attempt suicide. In trials, results have been 80-90% accurate when predicting whether someone will attempt suicide within the next two years, and 92% accurate in predicting whether someone will attempt suicide within the next week.

Quartz, June 10, 2017

Victorville NAMI office ‘overloaded’ with teens contemplating suicide

No way out.

This sadly mistaken belief is motivating a staggering number of depressed and discouraged American kids to commit suicide.

According to the Parent Resource Program, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention of youth suicide, there are an average of over 5,240 attempts per day by young people in grades 7 through 12.

The charity also notes on its website that more teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza and chronic lung disease combined.

To help remedy the problem in California, the state legislature passed Assembly Bill 2246 in 2016, which requires school districts to adopt suicide prevention policies that target high-risk groups. These include students who are bereaved by a classmate’s death, as well as gays, lesbians and transgenders.

Organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) also have been doing their part to assist children and young adults who are having suicidal thoughts.

Victoriaville Daily Press, June 9, 2017

Zero Suicides? That’s the Goal

The public health approach tasks everyone with looking for suicidal behavior and being comfortable with talking about the topic and then offering help.

Suicide prevention has been an elusive topic for generations. Even doctors historically shied away from the conversation, assuming psychiatrists and families would step in when the time was right.

But stigma prevents many people from opening up about depression, leading to a deadly silence that, partially, helps to explain why people kill themselves.

Now, mental health experts are leading a new approach to suicide prevention that asks medical professionals to do the opposite of what has been prescribed: speak frankly with their patients. It’s a core value of the Zero Suicide initiative, which is gaining traction throughout the country.

NBC News 10, June 9, 2017

Man Who Committed Suicide May Have Taken Cues From 13 Reasons Why

A 23-year-old man in Peru committed suicide last night, and it appears that he might have been inspired by the deceased heroine of 13 Reasons Why. Franco Alonso Lazo Medrano jumped from the fourth floor of his apartment building and People reports that he yelled “I can’t stand a heartbreak,” as his mother looked on. After surviving the fall initially, he was declared dead at the hospital. 

The police reportedly later found two suicide notes in his home, one of which was a farewell to a person named Claudia, and the other directing a series of tapes to be distributed to a list of people Medrano had written down. The content of the tapes has not been shared, so it is not confirmed whether or not Medrano created his recordings for people he believes contributed to his decision to kill himself, just as Hannah Baker did on the Netflix hit show, nor is it confirmed that Medrano saw or was inspired by the show.

Still, the news is concerning in light of the controversy that has surrounded 13 Reasons’ depiction of suicide. Netflix has attached disclaimers and warnings to the program, but   has still made enough people uncomfortable about the possibility that it glamorizes suicide for the series to be banned in certain schools. 

Vulture, June 8, 2017 

Preventing Suicide: Breaking the Silence Digital Documentary

Suicide is considered a whispered word. But those who have attempted it — and their friends and relatives — are sharing their stories to heal and help others in crisis. Watch our full-length special report. (45 minutes)

NBC News 10 Philadelphia, June 6, 2017

What Pushes a Person to Suicide?

One May day five years ago, an ambulance arrived for me. My eyes were twitching, hands shaking, thoughts racing and confused. At that point, I hadn’t slept for three days. I’d taken drugs, fell asleep at the wheel, bumped into a car at a red light. I was closer to suicidal than ever, but I wasn’t sad. Instead, I was agitated, frantic, paranoid. What put me at risk was not sorrow, per se, but loss of control: the careless apathy that might swerve a bike into traffic. My therapist convinced me I needed help. A phone call later, the ambulance took me to the mental hospital, where I stayed for a week and left with lithium.

Nautilus, June 5, 2017

City teen’s suicide prevention video goes viral

Netflix gave viewers “13 Reasons Why.”

Bishop Luers High School student Sarah Podzielinski has given Facebook users “13 Reasons Why Not” – a suicide-prevention video that intersperses facts with footage of classmates acknowledging those who have positively affected their lives.

The teen created the 6-minute video for her freshman honors English class, but its reach has gone beyond the classroom walls. Since she posted it to Facebook on May 21, it has garnered 14,000 views, 250 shares and more than 50 comments, including some from strangers and a Washington state educator whose school was recently affected by suicide.

Her mother, a mental health professional, is impressed.

In all likelihood, “you’ve reached more people in 72 hours than I will in a lifetime,” Ewelina Connolly told her daughter as they sat in teacher Jessica Marlin’s classroom Wednesday.

The Journal Gazette, June 3, 2017


May, 2017

A suicide at age 8? Very rare, but not inconceivable

The death was startling even to the coroner: a boy only 8 years old apparently killing himself in his Cincinnati bedroom.

Now Gabriel Taye’s January death is being re-examined, after it emerged that he was bullied and knocked unconscious at school two days before he died.

Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco’s office has ruled Gabriel’s death a suicide, but she said last week that she was reopening the investigation to re-examine the boy’s injuries and whether there were contributing factors to his death.

“It was very hard for me to believe that an 8-year-old would even know what it means to commit suicide,” Sammarco said.

WHIO TV 7, May 14, 2017  [Published June 5, 2017]

Suicides and fatal poisonings increase as cause of child deaths, CDC says

While the overall number of child deaths has decreased slightly thanks to progress in the number of infants surviving, the hazards for older children have been growing.

Suicide rates and accidental poisonings, including those related to opioids, have increased, according to a new analysis of state data on birth and death rates released in the medical journal Pediatrics.

For children between the ages of 1 to 19 years old, suicide rates increased from 11.3 percent of all deaths in 2013 to 12.1 percent of all deaths in 2014.

Accidental poisoning deaths have particularly increased for adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 24. The researchers found accidental overdose deaths in that group increased 163 percent from 3 deaths per 100,000 people to 7.9 deaths. The ongoing opioid crisis is likely one major factor for this increase, according to the researchers. 

ABC News, May 30, 2017

Youth suicide rates are rising. School and the Internet may be to blame.

A new study presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting in May found that the number of children and teens admitted to children’s hospitals for thoughts of suicide or self-harm have more than doubled during the last decade. The lead author on the study, Dr. Gregory Plemmons, is an associate professor at The Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Stressful environments and unfettered access to information may have boosted the number of teens and children hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or actions.

USA TODAY, May 30, 2017

SUICIDE in VOGUE: Facing the rising tide of suicidal ideation

There was nothing Sarah Liljedahl feared more than herself.

When her mind ventured to dark places, the icy roots of suicidal ideation burrowed through her brainstem, embedded beneath her skull and took Sarah captive.

When the darkness lifted, so did the ideation and Sarah knew she did not want to die. But, the thoughts always returned and, with it, the urge to kill herself. It was a deadly cycle Sarah could not escape.

“At the end of it, when I would get out of that bad depression, I realized I hated myself so much there was nobody I feared more than myself,” she said.

Cindy Baker of Touchstone Counseling has dealt with cases like Sarah’s for about 20 years. However, now more than ever, Baker is witnessing spikes in suicidal ideation and death by suicide that trickles down to those as young as 10 years old.

Christian County Headliner News, May 30, 2017

Binge-drinking and drug-taking teenagers are 5 TIMES more likely to commit suicide in their 20s

• Researchers looked at data of more than a million youngsters over 15 years
• They found alcohol-related injuries face a higher risk of killing themselves
• The findings also applied to those who required treatment for taking drugs
• Experts warned that the NHS must do more to help teenagers in such cases

The Daily Mail, May 26, 2017

AI May Hold the Key to Stopping Suicide

Every day in the United States about 120 people commit suicide. At nearly 45,000 suicides annually, it’s the 10th-leading cause of death in the U.S. and its rate is increasing year by year, national data shows. Healthcare providers have ways to prevent a suicide attempt, but often they don’t know in advance who needs the intervention most.

“We’ve been doing this for 50 years, and our ability is still at chance level,” says Jessica Ribeiro, a psychologist and researcher at Florida State University.

That may soon change now that researchers like Ribeiro are getting help from technology. Instead of relying on a few well-known risk factors like depression or drug abuse, these new methods help to recognize suicide as a complex phenomenon; an outcome of many interrelated life events.

NBC News, May 22, 2017

The Truth About ‘Blue Whale,’ an Online Game That Tells Teens to Self Harm

Creepypasta, media hysteria, and teenage suicide

According to a report conducted by the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, there should be a link between the Blue Whale game and numerous cases of teenage suicide in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan between November 2015 and April 2016: The victims had been members of VK groups dedicated to the game. 

However, in at least one of the cases cited—the suicide of a nineteen year-old Kazakh, Marat Aitkazin—the nature of the connection to the game can’t be confirmed. In fact, after taking a closer look at the Blue Whale phenomenon, it seems less like the shocking story Novaya Gazeta initially reported, and more like a perfect storm of internet creepypasta, media hysteria, and the very real and serious issue teenage suicide.

The story rapidly exploded in the media and arrived in Europe with rather alarmist tones, to the extent that it drove a comedy television show like Le Iene to discuss it. What remains to be seen is the line that separates mass hysteria from the genuine, actual danger of the phenomenon.

Motherboard, May 22, 2017

Depression and its Link to Suicide

What a psychiatrist at Shannon Clinic says has been found in people who have committed suicide is that they have lower than normal concentrations of serotonin.

In my initial discussion with Cliff Richey–a retired tennis pro–on depression, he also described this chemical imbalance as the reason for depression.

Serotonin impacts an individual’s motor skills and emotions [Pictures showing the difference between a “normal” brain and a “depressed” brain are in the video story].

The treatment of which, once diagnosed, can be handled with a combination of counseling and medication.

Concho Valley News, May 19, 2017 

With Suicide Rates On The Rise, Mental Health Advocates Search For Prevention Answers

Suicide rates in the U.S. are at their highest in 30 years. In 2014, the last year for which there are official government figures, nearly 43,000 Americans killed themselves. That’s nearly four times as many as were shot to death by others.

The rise in suicide comes despite intensive prevention efforts by mental health professionals, citizen-volunteers, people affected by suicide, teachers, religious leaders and others.

Could the key to prevention be identifying people about to make an attempt?

To intercede in the minutes or hours beforehand, you’d need a sign. But one meta-analysis — a careful examination of other studies — considered the results of 365 research articles that looked at the presence of depression, talk about self-harm, feelings of hopelessness and other factors related to suicide.

The conclusion: There are no clear predictive patterns, meaning mental health workers can do little more than guess.

KUAF, May 19, 2017

Is Suicide Contagion Real?

With the popularity of the Netflix hit teenage high school show, “13 Reasons Why,” there’s been debate among mental health care professionals and researchers as to whether an actual “suicide contagion” exists. Would such a contagion effect apply to something such as a fictional TV series?

Is suicide contagion a real thing? If so, is it really something we need to be concerned about as much in this day and age of instant entertainment and information available on the Internet, where people’s graphic depictions of self-harm and suicide stories are always just a single click away for any teen to view as much as they’d like?

Psych Central, May 19, 2017

In the mind of an 8-year-old: Experts say young children can understand suicide

One piercing question from the January suicide of 8-year-old Gabriel Taye of Cincinnati haunts parents and teachers alike: How can a young child know enough about self-destruction to carry it out?

One simple answer, say experts who deal with youth suicide, rests in our common humanity: The mind of an 8-year-old child does has the capacity to think about death, even suicide.

“An 8-year-old can understand the finality of death, the irreversibility of death, even though those are kind of the two main features that go along with what you’d consider to be more of an adult view,” said Dr. Paul Crosby, chief medical officer at the Lindner Center for Hope in Mason and a psychiatrist who treats children and teenagers.

Cincinnati Enquirer, May 17, 2017

Facebook teams up with The Trevor Project for LGBTQ youth suicide prevention

Facebook has partnered with The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention hotline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer youth, to bring additional crisis support to Facebook Messenger.

Back in March, Facebook brought suicide prevention tools to both Live and Messenger in partnership with organizations like the Crisis Text Line, the National Eating Disorder Association and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Facebook’s lineup of partners, which now includes The Trevor Project, enables people contemplating suicide and/or feeling depressed to immediately, directly connect with them. Chat functionality with The Trevor Project will roll out over the next few months.

Worldwide, there is a suicide attempt every 40 seconds, according to the World Health Organization. Among those aged 10-24 years old, suicide is the second leading cause of death, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tech Crunch, May 16, 2017

Parents who lost a child to suicide share their stories to help others cope

The last time Kathy Shott spoke to her son was shortly before Christmas 2013.

She recalled that he was sad — the 31-year-old was going through a divorce — but he also seemed to be looking to the future. She said he thanked her for the socks she had sent to him in Missouri and mentioned they would come in handy when he returned to work.

“Mom, don’t ever forget how much I love you,” she remembered him saying over the phone.

On Christmas Day, he took his life.

It’s a story Shott, who lives in San Diego, has told multiple times since the death of her son, an Iraq War veteran who served in two branches of the U.S. military. She shares it in support groups that help people who have lost loved ones to suicide.

The San Diego Union-Tribune, May 15, 2017

Pediatric Research: Questions must be asked to reduce suicide risk

There is a simple, one-question quiz that every physician, teacher, politician, parent, brother, sister and good friend should pass with flying colors.

What is the No. 1 non-accidental cause of death in young people 10 to 34 years old?

The answer is suicide.

In fact, suicide claims more young people than cancer, diabetes, heart disease, cystic fibrosis, influenza, pneumonia and other infectious diseases combined.

The Columbus Dispatch, May 14, 2017

Student beat him, then others kicked him. Later, 8-year-old kills himself

A security camera video taken inside a Cincinnati elementary school reveals that a student assaulted an 8-year-old boy in a restroom and other children may have kicked and struck the boy for 5 minutes while he lay unconscious.

Two days later, the child, Gabriel Taye, hanged himself.

School officials did not tell Gabriel’s mother about the assault or that he had lost consciousness, only that the boy had fainted, said Jennifer Branch, a lawyer for the boy’s mother. Gabriel’s mother has agreed to identify her child publicly but did not wish to release her own name.

USA TODAY, May 11, 2017

A Suicide Therapist’s Secret Past

My depression was a dark presence that first came when I was 12 years old and revisited often. Finally, at the age of 26, I started taking an antidepressant, and that helped tremendously. Then I started losing hair, an uncommon side effect, so I stopped. My new therapist in Austin, a psychiatrist, wanted me to try a different antidepressant. But my mind already had tricked me into thinking nothing could possibly help, and even if it could, I did not deserve it.

New York Times, May 11, 2017

Man behind ‘Blue Whale’ suicide is jailed, but says he is ‘cleansing society’

Philip Budeikin photo by Vkentakta/East2West

The Russian man behind a social media challenge which urges young people to kill themselves says he is “cleansing society.”

The online social media game reportedly targets at-risk participants, taking them through a series of challenges over 50 days that culminate in suicide.

New Zealand police have already warned parents to be wary of the game.

The challenges include waking up at 4am every day, watching violent videos, and self-harming.

Stuff, May 11, 2017

Mental illness and artistic expression are probed by a surviving sibling in “32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide.”

A difficult sibling’s tragic death is the catalyst in “32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide.” But if documentarian Hope Litoff initially expects belatedly confronting the titular event will result in some sense of inner peace, she — and everyone around her — are alarmed when instead the “process” sends her down a personal rabbit hole of guilt, denial and addiction. Gripping and discomfiting, this first directorial feature by the veteran editor is the kind of diaristic inquiry that can seem self-indulgent but here sports a fearlessness that transcends vanity — at times it’s downright unflattering.

In late 2008 photographer Ruth Litoff was found in her Manhattan loft, having finally “succeeded” after 20 or more suicide attempts over many years. Police on the scene said they’d never seen anything like it — her entire apartment was meticulously prepared for the event, with umpteen notes, presents, etc., left labeled with instructions for disbursement to various friends and family.

Variety, May 10, 2017

Is Suicide Preventable? Insights from Research

Wilkins Kearney left a note for his wife on the kitchen counter, propped against their wedding picture. It began, “To dear Lilla,” and ended, “I love you so much!” Then he pulled open a drawer and took out his gun.

His suicide seemed to come out of nowhere for his tight circle of friends and family. Looking back now, they remember no warnings, no signs of depression, nothing but the long, solitary runs he would sometimes take when work or life got him down. He was always just the same old Wilk, a loyal friend with a streak of mischief in his grin. “An active participant in life,” one close friend said.

For years, public-service campaigns have stressed that suicide is preventable, that people can save a life if they just catch the warning signs early enough. But a recent RAND study found that the truth is much more complicated. In our search for answers, it concluded, we may have been looking in the wrong place.

Rand Corporation Review, May 8, 2017

How To React When Your Friend Is Talking About Suicide

With its gripping story, visceral emotions, and penchant for stirring up controversy, Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why has also begun several difficult discussions about suicide. Specifically, the way it’s portrayed onscreen, and how we can be better at handling mental health issues IRL. So what can you do to help friends who are talking to you about hurting themselves? A lot, it turns out.

To start, it’s surprisingly important to pay attention to the emotions your friend’s behavior triggers in you. “If you’re feeling uncertainty or fear, it’s always worth mentioning,” says Julie Larson, LCSW, a therapist based in NYC. “[It honors] that feeling that you’re having about your friend, but it also sends the message that you care deeply.”

Refinery29, May 5, 2017

Guns and suicide go tragically hand in hand

As the community comes to grip with the tragedy at Farragut High School, one issue that must not be ignored is the role of guns in suicides.

Two of the three young men who have died this semester used firearms to take their own lives.

Tragically, they are far from alone.

Each year, about 33,000 Americans die of gunshots, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Of those, some 20,000 are suicides.

Without easy access to guns, many of those deaths would not have happened.

Knoxville News Sentinel, May 5, 2017

Rising suicide rates alarm researchers attending Pittsburgh conference

When David Brent helped start the STAR Center at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic 30 years ago, the field of youth suicide prevention “was scary,” he said.

“There were no real effective treatments for depression, either pharmacological or behavioral, and there were no good suicide intervention therapies,” he said about the research and clinical center that saw 360 patients over the last year alone. “But now there are some tools in your tool box you can go to for help. I’d say we’re in a much better place than when we started.”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 3, 2017

Educators and school psychologists raise alarms about ‘13 Reasons Why’

Educators and school mental health professionals across the country are warning parents about the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” saying the show’s graphic depiction of a teenager’s suicide could contribute to a “contagion effect” among students with mental illness and linking it to self-harm and suicide threats among young people.

The show has prompted a major response from educators and administrators, who have spoken at PTA meetings, sent messages home and even cautioned certain groups of students about whether to watch it at all.

“There’s no room for error when it comes to student wellness,” said Rebecca Aguilar, who oversees school counselors at Thoreau Middle School in Fairfax County, where school officials sent home a list of talking points advising parents about the show. 

The Washington Post, May 2, 2017 


April, 2017

Nightmares and Suicide: Empirical Evidence and Intervention with Imagery Rehearsal Therapy

The Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention (ICRC-S) is hosting a webinar on nightmares and suicide risk. Michael R. Nadorff, assistant professor of psychology and director of clinical training at Mississippi State University, will review the literature on nightmares and suicide, and discuss how nightmare treatments may hold promise for reducing suicide risk. Barry Krakow, founder of Maimonides International Nightmare Treatment Center, will focus his presentation on Imagery Rehearsal Therapy, which is a recommended treatment for nightmare disorder. The webinar will be held on May 9 from 3 to 4 p.m. ET.

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center, April 28, 2017

Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why and the trouble with dramatising suicide

Netflix has been accused of dangerous sensationalism. But how best to tackle this traumatic subject? We talk to YA novelist Chloe Combi and director Katie Mitchell.

If there was a list of ways not to portray suicide, this would tick every box. The new Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, adapted from the novel by Jay Asher, is about a teenager called Hannah Baker who takes her own life. She leaves behind a set of cassette tapes, each addressed to a different person in her life, detailing how they hurt her and contributed to her death.

It’s a revenge fantasy, so it portrays suicide as an act that will achieve something. It’s aimed at a young audience, who are particularly susceptible to contagion, and particularly likely to experience suicidal thoughts. It normalises and legitimises the act. It goes into too much and too graphic detail about the suicide itself – which is expressly against Ofcom guidelines because, however horrible it is to watch, this can still be read as a how-to.

The series depicts suicide as a reasonable response to a set of challenges that anybody might experience, and lays it at the feet of other people. It’s wrong from so many angles that it’s almost as if it were devised as a training manual for how not to use suicide as a plot point. 

The Guardian, April 26, 2017

More Than Sad – School-Based Suicide Prevention Workshop – Workshop Overview

Pennsylvania middle and high schools are now required by Act 71 to provide faculty and student training on the topic of suicide prevention. The largest piece of this training requirement is the 4‐hour faculty component for those working with grades 6-12. The Western PA chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) presents this free workshop to demonstrate to school trainers our school-focused suicide prevention content and best practices to meet these Act 71 requirements. We are pleased to offer this at no charge, to help our schools while supporting our organization’s goal to reduce the suicide rate in PA and in the U.S.

“More Than Sad” is AFSP’s school‐ready and evidence-based training specifically designed for teen‐level suicide prevention. More Than Sad has been used across middle and high schools in the U.S. for several years. Workshop attendees will gain a full how‐to demonstration on training faculty with the mixed‐media methodology, which fulfills about 3 hours of faculty training. AFSP representatives will also recommend additional content to meet the full 4‐hour training requirement, including the bullying-suicide connection and how to appropriately respond as a school should a suicide occur.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, April 26, 2017

Why the Russian Suicide Game Went Global

A teenage suicide game spreading from Russia raises the same urgent questions everywhere, including Brazil, where my Bloomberg View colleague Mac Margolis just spotted it: Who is responsible? How do we stop them?

While social networks and the parliament in Russia have moved to eliminate so-called “groups of death,” they may well be fighting an urban legend. But the obvious threat is well established: the tragically high suicide rates in countries struggling after the fall of the Soviet Union are a result of much broader societal ills.

The game that’s got parents and officials worried in Brazil is called Baleia Azul – a direct translation of the original Russian name, Siniy Kit, or Blue Whale. The name apparently comes from a song by the Russian rock band Lumen. Its opening lines are, “Why scream / When no one hears / What we’re talking about?” and it features a “huge blue whale” that “can’t break through the net.”

Bloomberg, Social Media, April 25, 2017

CMSD program works to reverse alarming suicide rates

The E-Team broke the story on News 5 in February that one in five high school-aged students enrolled in Cleveland Metropolitan School District tried to kill themselves in 2015. It’s the highest suicide-attempt rate out of any major urban school district in the United States.

The stressors of being a teen are elevated in Cleveland, where more than 70 percent of the student population lives in poverty and estimated 4,000 students are homeless. But there is help; in the same way schools protect a student’s safety, in Cleveland, they’ve now learned they need to protect a student’s soul.

News 5 Cleveland, April 24, 2017

Andrew Dickens: Grief, depression and suicide

One story struck me most this week. It was not the snap election in the UK. It was not the posturing of North Korea and America’s response. It was not the firing of Bill O’Reilly. It was not the historic pay equity deal, or the immigration tweaks and debate.

It was Prince Harry’s remarkable 27 minute interview with the Telegraph where he told of 20 years of grief and depression.

It began with his mother Diana’s untimely death, his recovery, and acceptance in recent years. It was a story that many can relate to. A story of loss and regret and an unhealthy response. But this was a Prince of England. A member of a firm that values image, duty and a stiff upper lip. And here he was telling the truth.

We remember the little boy marching with his brother and uncles behind his mother’s coffin. The boy who broke all our hearts. The boy who developed into a troubled man and then over recent years gained our respect. Here he was revealing his 2 decades of grief.

New Zealand Herald, April 23, 2017

Study Cites Factors Linked to Suicide in the Young

Teens and young adults who come from troubled backgrounds have a greater risk of killing themselves, a new study suggests.

Kids exposed to suicide in the family, parental mental health disorders and substantial parental criminal behavior had the highest suicide rates, the study found.

The findings “emphasize the importance of understanding the social mechanisms of suicide and the need for effective interventions early in life aimed at alleviating the suicide risk in disadvantaged children,” according to study author Charlotte Bjorkenstam from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, and her colleagues.

U.S. News and World Report, April 20, 2017

How ’13 Reasons Why’ gets suicide wrong: Voices

People who don’t want to live need professional help. You can’t save them with kindness.

For most viewers of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, the message is clear: Be kind, it could save a life. But that isn’t what I watched.

Since its release on March 31, viewers have taken to Twitter and other social media platforms to proclaim their love for the show, stressing how important they think it is. I’ve seen people go so far as to suggest it become required viewing for middle and high school students, despite the graphic displays of assault and, ultimately, suicide.

USA Today, April 18, 2017

Work on Steel Suicide Net at Golden Gate Bridge to Begin

A long talked-about suicide barrier is being installed on the Golden Gate Bridge.

Officials gathered at the Golden Gate Bridge Thursday to mark the start of work on a long talked-about suicide barrier that families of suicide victims hope will prevent other deaths.

More than 1,400 people have jumped to their deaths since the bridge opened in 1937. Their survivors have lobbied bridge authorities for some kind of barrier.

“As satisfying as this is and seeing everyone here, we wish the occasion was for something else,” said John Brooks, who lost his daughter, Casey, to suicide in 2008 when she was 17.

“We did this so other people don’t have to face the pain and heartache,” Brooks told the Marin Independent Journal. “Eight years ago I never thought we would be at this point.”

It will cost more than $200 million to install the stainless steel netting along the length of the 1.7-mile (2.7 kilometer) bridge. Bridge officials say the project will be completed by 2021.

U.S. News & World Report, April 13, 2017

Frequent nightmares increase the risk of suicide, new study shows

Everyone’s woken up in the middle of the night from a nightmare, a little panicked and uneasy, only to remind themselves it was just a dream.

But according to a new study, nightmares — especially frequent ones — can have serious repercussions in real life. Researchers in Finland found that such dreams slightly increase the risk of suicide in the general population.

Sacramento Bee, April 12, 2017

The complete Nature report referenced by the Sacramento Bee:

Nightmares as predictors of suicide: an extension study including war veteransNightmares as predictors of suicide: an extension study including war veterans

Nightmares are intensive dreams with negative emotional tone. Frequent nightmares can pose a serious clinical problem and in 2001, Tanskanen et al. found that nightmares increase the risk of suicide. However, the dataset used by these authors included war veterans in whom nightmare frequency – and possibly also suicide risk – is elevated. Therefore, re-examination of the association between nightmares and suicide in these data is warranted. We investigated the relationship between nightmares and suicide both in the general population and war veterans in Finnish National FINRISK Study from the years 1972 to 2012, a dataset overlapping with the one used in the study by Tanskanen et al. Our data comprise 71,068 participants of whom 3139 are war veterans.

Nature, Scientific Reports, March 15, 2017

Communication, teamwork key to suicide response

Before he was vice president for student affairs at Marquette, Xavier Cole found himself dealing with a student death by suicide.

Added to the tragedy was extensive media coverage that garnered public attention.

“It wasn’t just the tragedy that goes along with losing a young person in their prime. It was also a very public exposure of the incident for the family and the university,” Cole said. “Any time, for the public, there’s media interest in an event like this, it’s a double-edged sword.”

Marquette Wire, April 11, 2017

In Wake of Michigan Boy Killing Himself, How Common Is Youth Suicide? What Parents Should Know

An 11-year-old Michigan boy’s death last week — three weeks after he hanged himself — has drawn national attention to youth suicide prevention and how that intersects with social media.

Police in Marquette, Michigan, say they have brought charges against an unidentified juvenile after a boy was found unresponsive following a reported suicide attempt on March 14. Though authorities declined to identify either child involved, Katrina Goss told PEOPLE her son Tysen Benz was the boy who died.

Goss claimed the child who has been charged is a girl Tysen knew, who faked her own suicide on social media before Tysen killed himself. (The girl’s family did not return messages seeking comment; it’s unclear if the child who has been charged has entered a plea.)

PEOPLE spoke with multiple experts to better place Tysen’s case in context and to provide information and resources for other families.

The experts reiterated a common point: Suicidal crises can be overcome with help, and help is out there.

People, April 10, 2017

11-Year-Old Boy Killed Himself After Girlfriend Faked Suicide, Mom Says

Charges are pending against a juvenile after a Michigan mother said a social media prank in which her 11-year-old son’s girlfriend faked her own suicide led the boy to take his own life. 

Katrina Goss said Thursday that she found her son, Tysen Benz, hanging by the neck March 14 in his room after seeing social media posts and texts that his 13-year-old girlfriend had killed herself.

TIME, April 7, 2017

Teen leads suicide prevention effort

An Encinitas high school student who lives near the coastal railroad tracks wants to take rail safety a step further.

Kassidy Kanner, 18, recently launched a campaign calling for suicide-prevention signs to be installed along the Leucadia stretch of the rail line where two people have died this year, including a man who was fatally struck by a train on March 15.

Nearly 12,000 people have already signed Kanner’s online petition in support of the signs, which would display a hotline number and messages urging suicidal people to seek help. Similar signs have been installed by transit districts elsewhere in the country, including Northern California, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

San Diego Union Tribune, April 7, 2017

3 student suicides prompt changes at Middletown High School

There were seven teen suicides in Butler and Warren counties last year, and three of them were committed by Middletown High School students.

Whatever the challenges Middletown residents are facing are also felt in the high school hallways, said MHS Principal Camela Cotter in an exclusive interview with the Journal-News.

“A school simply is a reflection of the community,” Cotter said. “What goes on in the community usually comes in and happens in your school. Whatever happens in Middletown happens in the school.”

Of the recent incidents, Cotter said that two students committed suicide over the summer and a third over Christmas break in 2016.

Suicide is the third-leading cause of death, after accidents and homicide, for 15- to 24-year-olds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s also thought that at least 25 attempts are made for every one teen suicide completed, the agency said.

Dayton Daily News, April 1, 2017

Can We Talk? Hayden Houlton tragically lost both his brothers to suicide

TWO brothers, both in the prime of their lives and both lost to suicide.

Hayden Houlton is only 26 but knows the horrific toll that ­suicide can wreak on a family. His elder brother Ben took his own life aged 20 and two years later his younger brother Jason also committed suicide, at the age of 17.

For years, worried about his brothers’ privacy and his family being perceived as “weak”, the medical student from Sydney’s northern beaches did not talk about the impact of such a heartbreaking loss.

His life fell to pieces. He shut himself off from friends, began overeating and became depressed.

It was only through a support network of loved ones and mental health experts that he came back from the edge. And it was only the thought of being able to help someone else that gave him the strength to talk about his experience.

The Daily Telegraph, April 1, 2017

Traveling Minnesota art exhibit aims to ‘break the stigma’ of suicide

An oversized red bandanna covers her small head of brown hair. She’s missing a tooth. She stands in front of flowery green and gold wallpaper, her cherubic face exuding warmth and innocence.

It’s this image her mother clings to in her darkest moments. “I can’t let her grow up without a mother,” writes Alice Blessing, who painted her 7-year-old daughter’s portrait. “So I have to get better.”

Blessing’s painting, along with nearly 50 other high-quality pieces in the exhibit “What’s Left,” can be enjoyed, safely, from afar. But these artists hope we will step closer, cross the line of comfort and denial, to a more intimate space.

A space where honest dialogue about mental illness and suicide can begin.

“I want people to see the person and not the illness,” said John Bauer, a Grand Rapids, Minn., public radio host who produced the exhibit and is taking it across Minnesota.

The Star Tribune, April 1, 2017


March, 2017

Middle school suicides double in seven years

The Center for Disease Control reports the number of middle school children ending their life by suicide doubled from 2007 to 2014 and now exceeds the number of middle school children who die annually in auto accidents.

Ninteen percent of students 15 years old or younger who were surveyed (high school students) considered attempting suicide in the last 12 months; 12.5% of those surveyed report making a plan about how they would attempt suicide in the last 12 months; Almost 11% of 10th graders surveyed reported making a suicide attempt in the last 12 months., March 30, 2017

Suicide Risk Assessment Doesn’t Work

New research suggests it doesn’t help—and it may hurt—to rely on a formula to predict the risk of a suicide.

It is 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon. “My wife is suicidal, Doctor. If you don’t admit her to the hospital, you’ll have blood on your hands on Monday…”  

If the apparently suicidal patient is not hospitalized it could be a difficult weekend for the patient, of course, but also for the understandably worried spouse and even the psychiatrist. The psychiatrist would be aware that the guidelines for patients with suicidal behaviors recommend estimating the likelihood of suicide by combining clinical findings (such as suicidal thoughts and behaviors) with multiple risk factors to judge the seriousness of the suicide risk. The guidelines go on to suggest that if the patient does die by suicide that psychiatrists should contact their attorney. When the risk of suicide is high, it is not surprising that doctors often take what seems to be the safest option and arrange for hospital admission.

But how good are we at predicting the level of suicide risk? Not very good at all, it seems, according to two recent meta-analyses of the last forty years of suicide risk research. One group of authors even suggests that the process of suicide risk assessment itself might increase the likelihood of suicide.

Scientific American, March 28, 2017

Suicide leading cause of death in several Kansas age categories

Suicide remains the second leading cause of death for the 15-24 age group. Suicide also remains the second leading cause of death for the 25-44 age group. Suicide has fallen to the fourth leading cause of death for the 5-14 age group. It remains the fifth leading cause of death for the 45-64 age group.

A stone thrown into the middle of a pond causes a ripple effect above and below the water’s surface — just as a suicide causes a ripple throughout a town, the effects of which may not be immediately visible.

“On the broader lever, the macro level, the community impact of a suicide is pretty negative,” said Andy Brown, executive director of Headquarters Counseling Center. “When we lose a friend or loved one to suicide, it impacts our own mental and emotional well-being and can cause a ripple effect through a community.” 

Abilene Recorder Chronicle, March 27, 2017

Antidepressant Dose Doubled Before Girl Streamed Her Suicide

A month before a South Florida foster child live-streamed her suicide on Facebook Live, a doctor doubled her dosage of an antidepressant.

The Miami Herald reported Sunday that Zoloft was the antidepressant prescribed to 14-year-old Naika Venant, and it has a critical warning that it increases the risk of suicide in children.

The drug had a “black box” warning — the strongest advisory from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

A spokesman for Zoloft’s parent company, Pfizer, says the black box warning includes a note to families and caregivers about monitoring patients for suicidal thoughts or unusual changes in behavior.A month before a South Florida foster child live-streamed her suicide on Facebook Live, a doctor doubled her dosage of an antidepressant.

The Miami Herald reported Sunday that Zoloft was the antidepressant prescribed to 14-year-old Naika Venant, and it has a critical warning that it increases the risk of suicide in children.

The drug had a “black box” warning — the strongest advisory from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

A spokesman for Zoloft’s parent company, Pfizer, says the black box warning includes a note to families and caregivers about monitoring patients for suicidal thoughts or unusual changes in behavior.

U.S. News and World Report, March 26, 2017

Rae of Hope Launch Party raising funds for teen suicide prevention

Tuesday afternoon, Scott Johnson waved goodbye to his employees and said, “See you later, I’m going to counseling.”

Johnson said customers who overheard were surprised he was so open about his mental health, which many people perceive as taboo.

“This is what we want to change. The goal of the Rae of Hope Foundation is to change the tide of mental health and suicide,” he said.

The Rae of Hope Foundation was formed by family and friends of McKenna Rae Johnson, a Kearney teen lost to suicide on Jan. 9. The foundation’s mission is to prevent teen suicide by fostering awareness, resilience and social change.

Kearny Hub, March 25, 2017

Stanford psychiatrist advised producers on new teen-suicide drama

Rona Hu helped adapt a popular young-adult novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, into a Netflix series that aims to depict teen suicide without romanticizing it.

When Stanford psychiatrist Rona Hu, MD, was invited to help shape the script of a Netflix series about teenage suicide, she knew it would be an unusually good opportunity to communicate with teenagers about mental health issues.

The new series, 13 Reasons Why, which premieres March 31, is based on a bestselling 2007 novel about a high-school student who dies by suicide after being bullied by her classmates.

Stanford Medicine, March 24, 2017

The Forces Driving Middle-Aged White People’s ‘Deaths Of Despair’

In 2015, when researchers Anne Case and Angus Deaton discovered that death rates had been rising dramatically since 1999 among middle-aged white Americans, they weren’t sure why people were dying younger, reversing decades of longer life expectancy.

Now the husband-and-wife economists say they have a better understanding of what’s causing these “deaths of despair” by suicide, drugs and alcohol.

NPR, March 23, 2017

After suicide, grieving partners live with health risks

People who lose a partner to suicide are at increased risk for physical and mental problems including cancer, mood disorders like depression, and even herniated discs.

The findings underscore the need for support systems for bereaved partners and others who have lost loved ones to suicide, since interventions addressing complicated grief could help mitigate some of the effects, researchers say.

“Health care providers, friends, and neighbors often do not know how best to support those bereaved by suicide.”

More than 800,000 people around the world die by suicide each year—and the suicide rate in many countries, including the United States, is on the rise.

Futurity, Johns Hopkins University, March 22, 2017

Suicide risk is higher in first year after deliberate self-harm

Self-harm with a firearm is associated with highest suicide risk in the following month.

New findings suggest that American adults who survive deliberate self-harm are at increased risk of suicide in the first year after such an event, indicating a need to direct clinical interventions in the critical 12 months following such episodes.

Science Daily, March 21, 2017

Groups tackle rising suicide deaths with support

What Brenda Melanson of Winchendon wants people to know about her son Luc, a friendly, athletic boy who died from suicide six years ago at 14, is not how Luc died. “It’s the fact that I lost my child,” she said.

Last fall, Ms. Melanson started leading a suicide survivors support group at Heywood Hospital in Gardner to help others share their grief and continue on.

At the other end of Worcester County, Abby LaFountain, a senior at Tantasqua Regional High School in Sturbridge, shared her battle with depression and attempt to take her life in a video she made with the guidance department and students in the video studio class. She was prompted to seek help after a new suicide prevention program at the school last year made her realize she suffered from a mental illness.

Telegram & Gazette, Worcester, MA, March 18, 2017

Silent no more: Mother hopes to help remove suicide stigma by telling her story

On Feb. 17, 1998, a baby boy was born amid the dreams many mothers have for their children.

No mother holds a newborn in her arms and imagines losing her child to suicide, but that baby, Dakota Jay Rawlins, took his life on April 3, 2016. He was 18 years old.

“I didn’t say the word (suicide) for a whole month,” said his mom, Valerie Rawlins of Smithfield. “Since then, I have been more open, I’ve decided I don’t want to hide it, I don’t want it to be taboo like it is., March 18, 2017

The General Who Went to War On Suicide

A commander with a history of depression created a unique way to keep his soldiers from killing themselves. The Army had other ideas.

On the evening of July 19, 2010, Major General Dana Pittard, the new commander of Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, got a call from the base’s 24-hour duty officer. A SWAT team had been sent to the house of a young sergeant named Robert Nichols. Nichols was inside with a gun, threatening to kill himself.

Pittard arrived at the soldier’s home just in time to see the soldier step out of the house, put the gun to his chest and fire. Neighbors and police crowded the street, but Pittard was the only officer from the Army base at the scene. He went home, where his boxes were still packed from his move 10 days before, feeling disturbed and helpless.

Nichols was the first of Pittard’s soldiers who died under his command at Fort Bliss. Others followed. A soldier from Fort Bliss’ 11th Air Defense Artillery brigade, which had recently returned from a tour in the Middle East, committed suicide. Another from the same brigade soon overdosed on prescription drugs.

Politico, March 17, 2017

Suicide, social stigma and same-sex marriage 

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in U.S. young people ages 10 to 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so when the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics publishes a study that shows a significant decrease in suicide attempts in young people, it’s worth taking note.

A study published last month stated that legalized same-sex marriage saw a drop in suicide attempts among high school students. The effect was doubled for lesbian, gay and bisexual students.

Federal Way Mirror, March 17, 2017

Gun violence and suicide by firearm is a public health epidemic

When Americans think of gun violence, we typically think of homicide and the never-ending debate over Second Amendment rights. But we rarely consider gun violence —and the growing rate of suicide by firearms — as a public health epidemic.

There were 36,252 gun deaths in the United States in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. America’s firearms homicide rate is 25 times greater than the average of other high-income countries.

In fact, guns have killed more Americans since 1968 than in all the combined deaths on the battlefields of all American wars. These numbers are astounding.

Stanford University Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, March 17, 2017

Practical steps you can use to prevent suicide

There’s no catch-all cure. But there are things that you can do to prevent suicide.

At its core, suicidal thoughts are brought on by a sense of hopelessness. Though not all tell of their intent to die by suicide, there are often warning signs that may foretell these feelings. In fact, everyone must be engaged in order to help make a dent in the epidemic of suicide.

Oshkosh Northwestern, March 17, 2017

Jobs with highest risk of suicide for men and women revealed

Care workers of both genders face a suicide risk that is almost twice the national average, according to the data

Women working in culture, media and sport and male construction workers are most at risk of dying from suicide according to new data.

An analysis by the Office for National Statistics commissioned by Public Health England and published on Friday shows that amongst women, the risk of suicide is 23 per cent higher for nurses than the national average, and 42 per cent higher for primary school teachers.

For women working in culture, media and sport, the figure shoots up to 69 per cent.

The Independent, March 17, 2017

CAPS expands program, releases new suicide prevention videos

As “CAPS Suicide Prevention – A Focus on Students” — a short informational film about student experiences with mental illness — began to play, LSA junior Ryan Marshall appeared on screen and shared his own experience with depression. He detailed the isolation he felt, as well as the immense pressures to perform both academically and socially at such a high-ranked university.

Every year, 24,000 students attempt suicide on college campuses in the United States. Through the release of three new suicide prevention videos, as well as the “Do something: Stop Student Suicide” initiative, the University of Michigan Counseling and Psychological Services is working to provide students and faculty with the tools needed to identify students at risk.

The Michigan Daily, March 16, 2017

Trends in Suicide by Level of Urbanization — United States, 1999–2015

Suicide is a major and continuing public health concern in the United States. During 1999–2015, approximately 600,000 U.S. residents died by suicide, with the highest annual rate occurring in 2015 (1). Annual county-level mortality data from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) and annual county-level population data from the U.S. Census Bureau were used to analyze suicide rate trends during 1999–2015, with special emphasis on comparing more urban and less urban areas. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March 17, 2017

U.S. Suicide Rates Rising Faster Outside Cities

Although the U.S. suicide rate has been rising gradually since 2000, suicides in less urban areas are outpacing those in more urban areas, according to a new federal report.

“Geographic disparities in suicide rates might be associated with suicide risk factors known to be highly prevalent in less urban areas, such as limited access to mental health care, made worse by shortages in behavioral health care providers in these areas, and greater social isolation,” the researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote.

U.S. News and World Report, March 16, 2017

Report shows alarming suicide trend among teens

New numbers show an alarming number of high school students in our state are attempting suicide. On average, two students per high school classroom in North Carolina tried to kill themselves last year.

“It’s one of those things you never think will happen to you,” explained Nikki Warren, whose brother Greg died by suicide. Warren knows now that hindsight is 20-20.

“Looking back, he would cancel plans at the last minute,” she said. “He was napping a lot. There were signs we didn’t see.”, March 15, 2017

Some Gun Laws Tied to Lower Suicide Rates

Background checks and waiting periods for gun purchases are associated with lower suicide rates, a new study reports.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the national suicide rate is now 13 per 100,000, a 30-year high.

The New York Times, March 15, 2017

Surviving After Suicide

Survivors of suicide represent “the largest mental health casualties related to suicide” (Edwin Shneidman, PH.D., AAS Founding President) 

There are currently over 36,000 suicides annually in the USA. It is estimated that for every suicide there are at least 6 survivors. Some suicidologists believe this to be a very conservative estimate. Berman (2011) reported that the number of survivors estimated varied depending on who defined themselves as a survivor. 

Based on the 6 survivors per suicide estimate, approximately 6 million Americans became survivors of suicide in the last 25 years. 

American Association of Suicidology, March 11, 2017

Russian Activists Take On The Fight Against An Online Suicide Game 

A growing phenomenon among teens is prompting activists to fight back against child suicide

A group of young activists backed by the Kremlin and known for their efforts in cracking down on homosexuality in Russia has taken on a new cause: curbing a wave of teen “suicide games” on the internet.

“It is important for us to make the internet cleaner and safer,” said Anna Rogacheva, the project manager for the Media Guard, a spinoff of the Young Guard formed in 2005 as part of President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party efforts to get young people involved in politics. “And the propaganda of suicidal behavior went too far and it stems from a problem that psychologists call ‘social loneliness.’”

Vocativ, March 10, 2017

What every parent needs to know about teenage suicide

Ms. J, a mother of two, is very concerned about her 16-year-old daughter, Stephanie, who seems sad and tearful. Stephanie has not been sleeping well and has lost quite a bit of weight the last two months, but she is not trying to diet. She often talks of having excessive feelings of guilt. Ms. J. has a history of suicide in her own family history. She lost her father and an uncle to suicide; both killed themselves with a shotgun. Ms. J gave all the family’s guns to a friend and is now less worried about Stephanie. Should she be less worried?

Knoxville News Sentinel, March 10, 2017

Are YOUR children playing the Blue Whale challenge? Police warn British parents over ‘suicide game behind hundreds of Russian teen deaths’

British police are warning parents about the dangers of a sick social media ‘game’ that’s said to be responsible for hundreds of teenage suicides in Russia.

The ‘Blue Whale challenge’ encourages at-risk participants to take part in a series of tasks like cutting themselves every day for 50 days.

They are then instructed to kill themselves on the final day of the sick ‘challenge’.

The Daily Mail, March 10, 2017

Washington Couple Whose Son Committed Suicide Help Other Teens Struggling with Mental Illness: ‘There is Hope’

Jordan Binion intently stared out his kitchen window, fully expecting Drake or Justin Timberlake to arrive on his doorstep, whisking him away to a musical career that would make him famous.

Instead, Binion’s increasing mental illness drove him to take his own life with a self-inflicted gunshot in 2010 just days after the Washington state boy turned 17 years old. His parents Deb and Willie Binion of Graham, Washington, were outraged that under the law at that time, a clearly psychotic Jordan had been able to sign himself out of a Seattle hospital without the treatment that might have saved him.

“Jordan Binion was just the kind of lost and hurting teenager who might have found help if laws and hospital requirements were different,” family friend Peggy Wright says. “(His parents) have successfully lobbied the State of Washington for change in this law.”

People, March 9, 2017

There are lots of things guys don’t talk about but if you’re having suicidal thoughts, it’s important to tell someone. It can be tough to talk but you’re not alone and we can help you get through it., March 7, 2017


Experts, advocates react to youth suicide report

Federal report affirms local work, points to ways to improve students’ wellness, strengthen suicide-prevention efforts

For a community that has done much soul searching in the wake of two youth suicide clusters over the last eight years, the findings of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report on the subject released Friday are sobering, but not surprising.

The value of the report, experts and community leaders said in interviews with the Weekly, is to provide an endorsement of efforts already underway, a roadmap for work going forward and a reminder of the importance of work yet to be done to prevent youth suicide in Palo Alto and Santa Clara County.

Palo Alto Online, March 6, 2017

UPDATE: Was a Game Called ‘Blue Whale’ Responsible for Dozens of Suicides in Russia?

While certain groups on social media have been accused of promoting suicide, they have not been found to have directly caused an uptick in young people taking their own lives.

Snopes, February 27, 2017

What is the Blue Whale online ‘suicide game’ and how many teenage deaths have been linked to it in Russia?

Cops fear vulnerable youngsters are being swayed to take their own lives through sick social media accounts,

The Blue Whale ‘suicide game’ is believed to be an online social media group which is encouraging people to kill themselves.

It’s thought a ‘group administrator’ assigns ‘daily tasks’ to members, which they have to complete for 50 days.

They include self-harming, watching horror movies and waking up at unusual hours, but these gradually get more extreme.

But on the 50th day, the controlling manipulators behind the game reportedly instruct the youngsters to commit suicide.

The Sun, March 3, 2017 

FSU researcher’s breakthough may predict suicide attempts with 80% accuracy

A groundbreaking project led by a Florida State University researcher makes an exponential leap in suicide prediction, potentially giving clinicians the ability to predict who will attempt suicide up to two years in advance with 80 percent accuracy.

FSU Psychology researcher Jessica Ribeiro feels an urgency to confront this relentless problem. Shadowing her research is the ever-present awareness that 120 Americans take their lives every day, nearly 45,000 a year.

Tallahassee Democrat, March 3, 2017

Suicide prevention education in school

What do you know about suicide? What do you think you know about it?

Betsy Sobkowski, Warren Area High School counselor, said, in the past three years, part of her job has been to try to raise awareness and educate students about suicide in an attempt to prevent it.

For instance, said Sobkowski, suicide surpasses car accidents as the cause of death in students ages 15 to 19. She also said that contrary to popular belief, it’s often the people who don’t talk about suicide who are the most serious about it.

Depression and anxiety, said Sobkowski, are the most common symptoms of a larger problem. Being aware of what those symptoms are, she said, is integral to helping prevent a problem from coming to the point where the person suffering from them attempts suicide. Being able to recognize the symptoms in themselves and in others is step one to preventing both suicide attempts and completed suicide.

The Times Observer, March 2, 2017

Suicide survivor outreach program in development

When someone commits suicide, those who love them are left reeling. Members of teams dedicated to reaching out to suicide survivors can bring comfort and healing.

On Thursday evening, community members are invited to discuss the formation of a Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS) Team. Currently, LOSS teams exist in Lincoln, Papillion, Kearney and Norfolk, and others are being developed.

“Each death by suicide in the U.S. leaves behind 115 people, including 25 who felt the death had a devastating effect” and who might need assistance, said Dr. Donald Belau, a psychologist and the clinical director of the Lincoln/Lancaster County LOSS Team.

The North Platte Telegraph, March 1, 2017

Facebook turns to artificial intelligence to help prevent suicides

The social network has rolled out new tools in tandem with partners

Facebook is using a combination of pattern recognition, live chat support from crisis support organizations and other tools to prevent suicide, with a focus on its Live service.

There is one death by suicide every 40 seconds and over 800,000 people kill themselves every year, according to the World Health Organization. “Facebook is in a unique position—through friendships on the site—to help connect a person in distress with people who can support them,” the company said Wednesday.

Macworld Daily, March 1, 2017


February, 2017

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Partners with Charleston Non-Profit

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced Tuesday that the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is partnering with First Choice Services, a local non-profit organization based in Charleston, to answer calls from West Virginians in times of need…According to the DHHR, 340 West Virginians died by suicide in 2015, making it the 14th leading cause of death in the state. Last year, 40 percent of West Virginia callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline were veterans.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting, February 28, 2017

Suicides up 40 percent over 10-year period across Massachusetts

There were 608 suicides in Massachusetts in 2014, more than the combined number of deaths attributable to homicide and motor vehicle accidents, according to a report placed on file with the Legislature by the state Department of Public Health.

The report, submitted by Public Heath Commissioner Monica Bharel and dated Feb. 1, found the suicide rate in Massachusetts has increased an average of 3.1 percent per year since 2004, with about 40 percent more suicides in 2014 compared to 2004. The 2014 numbers are the most recently available data.

Wicked Local Hopkinton, February 28, 2017

Machine-learning Algorithms Can Predict Suicide Risk More Readily than Clinicians, Study Finds

Each year in the United States, more than 40,000 people die by suicide, and from 1999 to 2014, the suicide rate increased 24 percent. You might think that after generations of theories and data, we would be close to understanding how to prevent self-harm, or at least predict it. But a new study concludes that the science of suicide prediction is dismal, and the established warning signs about as accurate as tea leaves.

There is, however, some hope. New research shows that machine-learning algorithms can dramatically improve our predictive abilities on suicides. In a new survey in the February issue of Psychological Bulletin, researchers looked at 365 studies from the past 50 years that included 3,428 different measurements of risk factors, such as genes, mental illness and abuse. After a meta-analysis, or a synthesis of the results in these published studies, they found that no single risk factor had clinical significance in predicting suicidal ideation, attempts or completion.

Newsweek, February 27, 2017

Russian teenagers committing suicide ‘as part of bizarre social media GAME called Blue Whale’, police say

• Two schoolgirls fell to their deaths after taking part in Blue Whale suicide game

• It is understood game masters set the participants tasks via social media

• Teens complete tasks like cutting themselves and it ends in suicide on day 50

• Police are investigating given Russia has suffered similar problems historically

Police in Russia are investigating a rush of teenage suicide attempts amid fears that they may have been manipulated by sinister social media groups.

Two schoolgirls fell to their deaths from a building on the weekend prompting fears they were influenced into doing it by games masters behind a craze called Blue Whale. 

Teenagers complete tasks like cutting themselves in the build-up to them being told to kill themselves on day 50 of being involved in the game. 

The Daily Mail, February 27, 2017 

What’s behind the student suicides sweeping Hong Kong?

The two boys put on their school uniforms, left home and then killed themselves.

A 15-year-old leapt to his death at Times Square in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay; days before, he told his parents that he was unhappy at school.

This month, at least five students in Hong Kong took their own lives.

The Washington Post, February 25, 2017

Teen suicide attempts fell as same-sex marriage became legal

Teen suicide attempts in the U.S. declined after same-sex marriage became legal and the biggest impact was among gay, lesbian and bisexual kids, a study found.

The research found declines in states that passed laws allowing gays to marry before the Supreme Court made it legal nationwide. The results don’t prove there’s a connection, but researchers said policymakers should be aware of the measures’ potential benefits for youth mental health.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for all U.S. teens. Suicidal behavior is much more common among gay, lesbian and bisexual kids and adults; about 29 percent of these teens in the study reported attempting suicide, compared with just 6 percent of straight teens.

Associated Press, February 20, 2017

After son’s suicide, dad starts ‘The Kindness Challenge’

HOLMDEL, N.J. –  A New Jersey father mourning the suicide of his son figured a few dozen family friends might join the page he launched on Facebook, his attempt to share stories of kindness and to urge people to do good deeds without expecting anything in return.

Less than a month later, Dennis Vassallo’s “The Kindness Challenge” page has more than 44,000 followers. Dozens of posts each day share stories of kindness, including heartwarming photos, words of thanks to doctors from cancer patients, and motivational messages.

The page has become an oasis amid all the division, rancor and anger online — a big virtual hug.

Fox News, USA, February 18, 2017

STUDY: Antidepressants linked to higher rates of suicide and self-harm

Evidence continues to pile up about the serious risks of taking antidepressants, and a new study provides additional proof that these risks extend beyond the popular SSRI class of drugs. A study out of the University of Nottingham links some popular antidepressants to a higher rate of suicide and self-harm among people suffering from depression between the ages of 20 and 64.

Natural News, February 16, 2017

Shift In How We Think About Suicide Prevention Needed

This fundamental shift in thinking affects how we deliver care for people at risk of suicide. Proactive identification of individuals with suicidal behavior disorder and then treating those individuals with evidence-based practices will deliver the most impact. The Zero Suicide framework, developed by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, offers the best approach for doing so.

The CW, Providence, February 15, 2017

Idaho Suicide coalition working on changes to help lower suicide rates 

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in Idaho among those who are ages 10 to 44. In fact, there were 361 suicides in Idaho in 2015. That’s almost one suicide per day.  In 2015, Idaho moved from ninth in the nation to fifth-highest for suicides per capita.

Those stats are according to the Idaho Suicide Prevention Coalition, who is in Boise this week hoping to encourage some policy changes.

Wednesday was Suicide Advocacy Prevention Day at the Capitol and so the coalition presented its ideas on how to improve the growing rates.

Fox 5, Pocatello, Idaho, February 15, 2017

Local student shares story of suicide attempt after bullying

Counselors spoke with students at Anderson High School Monday, February 13, after a classmate committed suicide over the weekend.

Authorities have not said if they know why he did it. Another local 15-year-old, Xia Whitfield, was bullied at school to the point she didn’t want to live. She shared her story with Local 12 and talked about what could have made a difference.

Local 12, WKRC Cincinnati, February 14, 2017

Suicide increases on Valentine’s Day

“Valentine’s day is the day of love, and people that commit suicide usually feel unloved or feel unworthy to love those that they’re with,” Dr. John Robertson said.

Psychologists believe there is a connection between depression and suicide, and the day of love only brings awareness to those who feel lonely.

“They feel like they’re a burden on their lives, their loved ones would be better without them,” Robertson said.

Local 8, Knoxville, TN, February 13, 2017

The disturbing trend of live-streamed suicides 

Just like that, Naika Venant was live.

The 14-year-old girl was on Facebook, broadcasting from a bathroom at her foster home in southeastern Florida. Then, she was hanging from a scarf tied to a shower’s glass door frame – a deeply painful and personal moment playing out so publicly on social media.

A friend saw the video stream on Facebook Live and called 911, but officers were sent to the wrong address.

By the time they got to the foster home in Miami Gardens, Florida, it was too late: Naika had committed suicide.

Chicago Tribune, February 9, 2017

Looking for answers in a child’s suicide

Cincinnati Public Schools called the death of 8-year-old Gabe Taye an accident because medical experts believed he could not have understood what he was doing.

But the Hamilton County Coroner called the boy’s death suicide.

What drove the boy to end his life?

WKRC-CBS, Cincinnati, February 7, 2017

Contemplating loss: Art show seeks to shatter suicide stigma

An empty school desk. A chest filled with mementos left behind. Voices of loss and desperation, repeated through the handset of a rotary phone.

These are a few of the pieces on display in a traveling multimedia art exhibition exploring suicide, a new offering of the Crossing Arts Gallery at Franklin Arts Center. The exhibit—”What’s Left: Lives Touched by Suicide”—opened Friday to more than 50 people with a presentation from its project director, John Bauer.

Bauer, who lost his daughter to suicide in 2013, said the project is intended to break through the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Brainerd Dispatch, Grand Rapids, February 7, 2017

Suicide wave grips Columbia University

A disturbing wave of seven suicides and likely drug overdoses has swept through Columbia University so far this school year — and students say fiercely competitive academics and inadequate campus counseling programs are in large part to blame.

The student deaths include three in January alone — two of whom police suspect OD’d, plus an exchange student from Japan who killed herself by leaping from the seventh-floor window of her Broadway dorm.

The four other student suicides came once a month, from September through December, The Post has learned.

They include a promising 21-year-old journalist, a 29-year-old Navy veteran, a Moroccan student and an 18-year-old freshman from Brookfield, Missouri, named Taylor Gilpin Wallace.

“You don’t know how badly I want to jump out that window right now,” Wallace, who would be Columbia’s October suicide, said in a Facetime call from his John Jay Hall dorm room to his mother in Missouri — days before quitting school, moving back home and hanging himself in his basement.

The New York Post, February 2, 2017 

January, 2017

Brain scans may shed light on bipolar disorder-suicide risk

Among teens and young adults with bipolar disorder, researchers have linked brain differences to an increased suicide risk.

About half of people with bipolar disorder – marked by extreme mood swings – attempt suicide and as many as one in five dies by suicide, the study authors said.

For the new study, teens and young adults with bipolar disorder underwent brain scans. Compared with those who had not attempted suicide, those who had attempted suicide had slightly less volume and activity in areas of the brain that regulate emotion and impulses, and in the white matter that connects those areas.

“The findings suggest that the frontal cortex is not working as well as it should to regulate the circuitry,” said study senior author Dr. Hilary Blumberg.

UPI, Health News, January 31, 2017

Point-Counterpoint: Focus on root causes, not guns, to eliminate suicide

Guns don’t cause suicide.

Just as we can’t blame all 15,000 murders per year on firearms, we can’t attribute the United States’ suicides, over 44,000 per year, entirely to its high rate of gun ownership and availability. While guns do play a part, it’s more important to consider the underlying causes of suicide rather than merely restricting access to guns.

The Pitt News, January 30, 2017

Suicides by gun on the rise

A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more Americans are committing suicide with firearms.

According to the study, in 1999 there were 16,599 suicides committed with a firearm. In 2014, there were 21,334 gun suicides.

Kristina Hannon, vice president for behavioral health care at Family Guidance Center, says for every one homicide by a firearm there are nearly three suicides with a firearm. Prevention is key, she says.

“Here at Family Guidance Center, we don’t say, ‘Do you have guns in your home?’ We say ‘Where are your guns kept? How are your guns stored?’ because it’s the belief, especially in the Midwest culture where hunting and sporting with guns is so prevalent, that most people have weapons in their home,” Hannon says.

News-Press Now, January 29, 2017

An Unusual Anti-Suicide Partnership Targeting Gun Shops Is Ramping Up

You probably wouldn’t expect a delegation from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to show up to the largest annual trade event for firearms sellers. And yet that’s what happened at the 2017 SHOT Show, which was held last week in Las Vegas. As Maura Ewing writes in the Trace, the delegation, perhaps a bit out-of-place-seeming “among the rows of retailers hawking the latest models of firearms and tactical gear … had come to promote a unique partnership with the show’s organizers on a nationwide suicide prevention program with the ambitious goal of stopping nearly 10,000 deaths in the next decade.”

Science of Us, New York Magazine, January 25, 2017

Mother loses son to suicide, wants to send message to other kids who might feel the same

It has been four days since a sophomore at Loy Norrix School in Kalamazoo took his own life. His family said they’re blindsided by his tragic decision. Now they are looking for opportunities to tell others who might feel like their son to get help.

A vigil was held in Milham Park on Tuesday night. Hundreds of friends and family members showed up to light candles, share memories and listen to Alex Sanchez’s mom, Joanna, speak to them.

She said she is trying to cope with her son’s death by making it her mission to help other kids his age. She said she never saw suicide coming, but now she’s learned some of his friends knew he talked about taking his life. Now, this grieving mother has some advice to other parents and students out there.

FOX 17, Kalamazoo, Michigan, January 24, 2017

New Data on Suicide Counts in Travis County: Millennials accounted for more than a quarter of recorded deaths by suicide in Travis County

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among Travis County millennials, according to new statistics released by Austin Public Health’s Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit. The mortality data report, published last week, studied county mortality counts from 2010 through 2014 and found that more residents between the ages of 15 and 34 died by suicide than any other age group. Millennials accounted for more than a quarter of recorded deaths by suicide in Travis County – 193 of 655. Curiously, suicide was also one of the leading causes of death for local youth, ranking third for children aged 5 to 14.

The Austin Chronicle, January 20, 2017

Gun industry, suicide prevention forge unlikely alliance

Dr. Christine Moutier, medical director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, discusses an initiative with the National Shooting Sports Foundation to prevent suicide, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, in Las Vegas. It’s a difficult topic to discuss and an even tougher one to fix, fraught with politics and societal stigmas: people who kill themselves with a gun. But now two unlikely allies, the gun industry and a leading suicide prevention group, are coming together to tackle it. 

accessWDUN, January 18, 2017

Clark County expert urges parents to talk about suicide

A local psychologist says parents should talk to their children after public suicide attempts, like a recent Clark County teen who allegedly streamed her attempt to kill herself live on Facebook.

“If suicide attempts are being made publicly via Facebook Live than the level of exposure is increasing exponentially,” said Dr. Jordan Allison, a clinical psychologist with the Springfield Regional Medical Group.

Exposure to suicide is a risk factor for teens and adults, Allison said, and copycat suicides are more common in adolescents.

If a child is exposed to suicide in any way, he said, that’s a good time to bring up the subject with them and ask if they’ve ever though about harming themselves.

Springfield News-Sun, January 17, 2017

State, Community Alliance Poised To Expand Suicide Prevention

The Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention is working hard to help save lives even more in 2017.

Victoria Patti, Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention coordinator, said there has been a lot of work put in Chautauqua County, and the momentum isn’t stopping for this year.

Currently, the group is working on a strategic plan which will focus on a variety of areas. The need in Chautauqua County is great, that makes the organization that much more important, Patti said. The Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention was founded in 2011, and collaborates with a variety of community organizations, individuals and other agencies to educate the community on suicide prevention and intervention.

The Post Journal, January 15, 2017

Teenage suicide: Two mothers tell their children’s stories

The BBC’s Jeremy Cooke follows the stories of two families with children who have struggled with mental health problems.

A government response to the rising number of suicides was announced earlier this week.

Theresa May unveiled plans to do more to help those, particularly young people, with mental health conditions.

Latest figures show that the number of young people calling Childline with suicidal thoughts has doubled in the last five years, to nearly 20,000 calls

BBC News, January 13, 2017

How communities are rescuing teens from suicide’s deadly river

If you tell your iPhone to find a bridge you can jump from, Siri will ask if you want her to dial a suicide crisis line. Query Google about ways to kill yourself, and the first response is a link to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, with a button to launch live chat. A teenager struggling at most Utah schools can readily find a trained peer from Hope Squad to listen and help. Even a Facebook post that indicates suicidal thought may be answered by a crisis counselor from the national crisis line.

These personal and technological prompts mark progress in a journey to prevent teen and other suicides, but policymakers, legislators and others say the road to reducing suicides is very much under construction.

Deseret News, January 13, 2017

Leaders gather to discuss suicide prevention in teens

Social media is the worst thing ever to happen to the public schools. When we were kids, if we had something to say to someone, we had to say it in person. Now, you can sit in your room, 10 feet tall and bulletproof, and say whatever you want.

More than 50 community leaders, health care professionals and concerned citizens attended Monday’s Town Hall Meeting on Suicide.

The event, hosted by Extended Grace, brought together more than a dozen panelists to discuss suicide and mental illness in Grand Haven and the surrounding communities.

Michael Pyne, who chairs the Muskegon County Suicide Prevention Coalition, said these conversations aren’t easy to have, and many fear that talking about suicide leads to more people considering taking their own life. That’s simply not true, he said.

“Talking about suicide does not lead to suicide,” Pyne said. “The opposite, in fact, is true.”

The Grand Haven Tribune, January 11, 2017

Sharing suicide videos is dangerous. Facebook has failed us by allowing it

Late last year an American child, not yet a teenager, killed herself. A video has surfaced online which purportedly shows the girl recording herself via life stream video doing it.

Facebook Live is changing the world – but not in the way it hoped

Facebook’s betting big on everyone streaming their lives in real time, but has it unleashed a monster it can’t control?

I came across the video via Facebook. Someone alerted me to it less than a week after her death. I did what any reasonable person would do: I followed Facebook’s own advice and reported it for showing graphic details of self-harm or suicide.

Less than two hours later I received a reply. It wasn’t what I expected:

“We’ve reviewed the share you reported for showing someone injuring themselves and found that it doesn’t violate our Community Standards.”

The Guardian, January 10, 2017

Suicide is a national crisis. The law must stop hiding its true extent

n the UK, suicide is the leading cause of death among young people between 10-34, according to Office for National Statistics figures released for 2015. Suicide leaves parents, partners and families devastated and broken, as I know only too well following the death of my own son Christopher by suicide in 2009. As chairman of the charity Papyrus Prevention of Young Suicide, I know that I am not alone in feeling that the way in which coroners determine death in such cases can perpetuate stigma around suicide.

The Guardian, January 9, 2017

Suicide and older adults

Suicide is a very serious problem among older adults. Although people age 65 and older made up only 13.7 percent of the population in 2012, they accounted for 16.3 percent of the suicides. The most common cause for suicide in this age group and (and in general) is untreated depression. About one-third of those older than 65 experience depression, yet 75 percent of these are not being treated.

Cleveland Daily Banner, January 8, 2017

Identifying and Helping Prevent Student Suicide

The suicide of a former Central High School student this week has brought the issue of teen suicide back to the forefront.

Mental health professionals offered insight for students and parents to get help if they’re faced with that struggle.

Emily Reidford with the HOPE Team and Suicide Prevention Coalition says “we train people to help identify an emerging or active mental health crisis and refer that person to help and treatment. We do that absolutely for free all over the city for parents, for teachers, for the school bus drivers, coaches, clergy members, anyone with an active role in students’ lives.”

44 News Indiana, January 6, 2017

Suicide 3rd leading cause of death among teens

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says for every suicide there are 25 attempts.

Madeline Muth was 19 when she committed suicide 15 months ago Wednesday.

“She faced a lot of struggles throughout her life and she overcame many of them. However, there was a day that she was not able to deal with those [struggles],” said her father Dave Muth.

Since her death, Muth continues to spread awareness about suicide prevention by working closely with families who have been affected by suicide. He says it’s important for parents to find help for their children.

“It was very painful. We did everything we could for her. Our lives revolved around her,” Muth said.

Muth said Madeline struggled with mental health since she was 11.

KESQ Palm Springs, January 6, 2017

Son’s suicide ‘stays with you forever’

Steve Wesener draws in a deep breath and sighs. Every time he and his wife Angela talk about Jonathan’s death, the scab on their grief breaks making their hearts bleed with sorrow, again.

This grief also bubbles to the surface each time they learn about another suicide. In October, another high school student from Edgar, their small town near Wausau, died from suicide and their hearts ached anew.

“This is not something you ‘get over’ or ‘move on’; its stays with you forever,” Angela Wesener said.

USA Today – Daily Tribune, January 4, 2017

Special Report: Schools face surge in suicide attempts

Bay State panel formed to craft student lifelines

Bay State educators struggling with a surge of student suicides and attempts are getting help this winter as a panel set up in response to the Sandy Hook massacre spells out how to assist teens suffering from panic attacks, substance abuse, neighborhood violence, eating disorders and self-harm.

It’s being called the first such report of its kind nationwide that’s zeroing in on mental health fixes.

Boston Herald, January 03, 2017


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., 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


September, 2016

Increasing the distance between thoughts and action is one step in preventing suicide

Many people believe two myths about suicide:

1. People who die by suicide have planned for a while and know how they want to do it.

2. If the method that the person wants to use is unavailable, they’ll just find another method.

I call these statements myths because research shows the contrary. A nice overview of the evidence in this area can be found on the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Means Matter project website.  One of the articles included in the review, from 2009, showed that for almost half of the study’s participants, the time between one’s first thought of suicide and making an actual attempt was 10 minutes or less.

US Department of Veterans Affairs, September 30, 2016

Risk Factors for Suicide and Suicidal Behaviors 

American Association of Suicidology, September 30, 2016

The terrorist inside my husband’s brain
by Susan Schneider Williams, BFA

I am writing to share a story with you, specifically for you. My hope is that it will help you understand your patients along with their spouses and caregivers a little more. And as for the research you do, perhaps this will add a few more faces behind the why you do what you do. I am sure there are already so many.

This is a personal story, sadly tragic and heartbreaking, but by sharing this information with you I know that you can help make a difference in the lives of others.

As you may know, my husband Robin Williams had the little-known but deadly Lewy body disease (LBD). He died from suicide in 2014 at the end of an intense, confusing, and relatively swift persecution at the hand of this disease’s symptoms and pathology. He was not alone in his traumatic experience with this neurologic disease. As you may know, almost 1.5 million nationwide are suffering similarly right now.

Neurology, September 27, 2016

For Sufferers’ Sake, Explore The Hidden Side Of Suicide

For all its distress over teen suicides, the secular media is completely silent on the most crucial element of these tragedies.

It’s hard for many of us to empathize with those who contemplate taking their own life, to imagine the state of mind and spirit someone must be in to take such a drastic step to end his suffering. But for those between the ages of 15 and 44, suicide is the third leading cause of death. Among only teenagers, it still ranks third.

The Federalist, September 29, 2016

Resources for Students, Parents & Educators on Bullying & Suicide Prevention

The September edition of ETV’s Carolina Classrooms focused on bullying and suicide prevention. The topics discussed are not new, but there is hope and there are resources available designed to help students, parents and teachers.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

SCETV, September 28, 2016

MediaWatch: Reporting On Suicide

Years ago, I worked as a reporter for a small chain of newspapers in upstate New York. Whenever people died by suicide, our editor included “Death was self-inflicted” in their obituaries. Family members often called into the office greatly upset, because of the stigma they felt was imposed on their loved one’s memory and their family’s reputation. They didn’t want anyone to know.

Today, responses are changing.

National Alliance on Mental Illness, September 28, 2016

Governor Signs Law Requiring School Youth Suicide Prevention Plans

California Governor Jerry Brown today signed Assembly Bill (AB) 2246, authored by Asm. Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach). The bill requires school districts across the state to adopt formal suicide prevention, intervention, and follow-up plans for all middle and high school students. AB 2246 is sponsored by Equality California and The Trevor Project.

“As a classroom teacher, I know from experience that educators often serve as the first line of defense when a student is suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts,” said Assemblymember O’Donnell, chair of the Assembly Education Committee. “AB 2246 will provide parents, teachers and schools with the tools they need to help save the lives of at-risk youth.”

Equality California, September 26, 2016

Suicide: The only top 10 in U.S. deaths that’s increasing yearly

In 2014 — the latest year for which we have accurate figures — there were 42,773 reported suicides in the United States. Currently, there are approximately 120 suicides a day and a substantial number of these are military veterans.

Suicide is the only top 10 cause of death in the United States that is increasing each year, and we know that a substantial number of other deaths, including opiate overdoses and motor vehicle accidents, are also suicides.

For every suicide, there are 25 suicide attempts. Almost 500,000 people a year visit an emergency room to seek care after a suicide attempt. And those numbers don’t tell the whole picture — we know that most suicide attempts are unreported.

Miami Herald, September 26, 2016

Suicide in Children — What Every Parent Must Know

New research finds that suicide in children is triggered by more than sadness

The death of a child is always heart breaking and horribly, horribly wrong. But when a child dies by suicide, it brings a whole different level of grief, pain, and anguished bewilderment to those who cared about the child.

Fortunately, suicide in children is very rare. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than 2 out of every one million children ages 5 to 11 will die by suicide. The rate among adolescents (ages 12-17) is about 52 per million. On average, about 33 children under 12 kill themselves each year in the US (Bridge et al., 2015).

Psychology Today, September 24, 2016

The Stigma of Suicide Survivorship and Related Consequences—A Systematic Review

A considerable proportion of the population experiences major life disruptions after losing a loved one to suicide. Social stigma attached to suicide survivors adds to complications occurring in the course of suicide bereavement. Despite its known risks, stigma related to suicide survivors has been sparsely investigated.

PLOS|One, September 22, 2016

Large-Scale Study Finds Association between Risk of Suicide and Hospitalization with Infection

A 32-year study of 7.2 million Danish individuals suggests that there is a connection between a person’s hospitalization with an infection and his or her risk of suicide. Compared to those individuals in the study who were not hospitalized with an infection, there was a 42 percent increase in the risk of death by suicide for those who had any history of hospitalization with infections – ranging from HIV-AIDS-related infections to sepsis.

Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, September 22, 2016

Suicide survivors on why northern Michigan’s suicide rate is so high

Decades ago as a young man, Pat Gallinagh twice attempted suicide. Today, Gallinagh lives in Ironwood at the western end of the Upper Peninsula, where he heads a suicide support group.

Sadly, it’s a group that gets new members on a regular basis: Northern Michigan, including the U.P., has the state’s highest suicide rates.

Gallinagh says there are three reasons why.

“One, we love our guns in this part of the country,” he said. “Two, we love our alcohol in this part of the country. … Three, we have a scarcity of mental health services.”

Michigan Live, September 21, 2016

The importance of dialogue about suicide and mental health

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death on college campuses, yet the underlying motivations for suicide are often treatable. Many people are unable to help prevent a suicide because they are unaware of the warning signs and risks directly associated with mental health problems that may cause suicide. Some of the most pertinent warning signs include sudden and seemingly random behavior changes and disinterest in regular daily activities. Additionally, most suicide attempts go unreported.

The Diamondback, September 20, 2016

Rail experts discuss ways to prevent suicides

The woman, 39, walked around the Northbrook train station in great distress for hours before she stepped in front of an Amtrak train Sept. 9.

That was what witnesses said later, according to Illinois Commerce Commission rail safety expert Chip Pew. Could she be alive if she had been given some hope or alternative before she made that final decision?

Chicago Tribune, September 20, 2016

Most suicides in young kids are not due to depression

Suicide in children, though rare, is the 10th leading cause of death for elementary school-aged kids in the U.S. According to a study in a forthcoming issue of the journal Pediatrics, it can’t be explained the same way for kids of all ages.

TIME, September 19, 2016

More Child Suicides Are Linked to A.D.D. Than Depression, Study Suggests

Attention deficit disorder is the most common mental health diagnosis among children under 12 who die by suicide, a new study has found.

Very few children aged 5 to 11 take their own lives, and little is known about these deaths. The new study, which included deaths in 17 states from 2003 to 2012, compared 87 children aged 5 to 11 who committed suicide with 606 adolescents aged 12 to 14 who did, to see how they differed.

The research was published on Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

The New York Times, September 19, 2016

10 million U.S. adults seriously considered suicide last year

Almost 10 million U.S. adults seriously thought about committing suicide last year, federal health officials reported Thursday.

Rates of suicide are at historically high levels, having jumped 27 percent since 2000, according to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Nearly three million adults made a plan to take their own life. And 1.4 million adults attempted suicide but weren’t successful, according to the report.

CBS News Healthday, September 15, 2016

Doctors Hope to Predict Patients’ Suicide Risk

Suicide is hard to predict, even for close friends and family of victims.

When Dorothy Paugh’s son, Peter, took his life at the age of 25, her family was devastated.

“We had no idea. None of us,” she said. “We had gotten together a week or so before for his older brother’s birthday. There were really no signs. He never said a word to anybody.”

Suicide is shrouded in stigma and secrecy, even though it impacts countless individuals, families and communities. Someone commits suicide every 40 seconds across the globe, according to the World Health Organization. Data from the Centers for Disease Control show that 40,000 people kill themselves every year in the U.S.

Voice of America News, September 15, 2016

Suicide Rate Is on the Rise in NYC

Suicide rates are on the rise in New York City, especially among women, according to a new study from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The Health Department reported 565 deaths by suicide — or 5.5 deaths per 100,000 New Yorkers — in 2014. That’s up from 448 — or 6.3 deaths — in 2000.

“This concerning increase in the suicide rate in New York City tells us that we’re not reaching New Yorkers early enough when they need support,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said in a press release Wednesday.

dnainfo, September 14, 2016

Survivors Read From the Suicide Notes They Wrote In a Powerful Movember Awareness Ad

In a truly powerful suicide awareness ad, several Australian men, all suicide survivors, read aloud from the notes that they had each intended to leave behind for family and friends. The ad is part of “We Need to Talk“, an international Movember campaign to help prevent suicide among men by encouraging them to share their feelings, troubles and doubts with those who care about them.

Laughing Squid, September 14, 2016

7 Important Stats About Teen Suicide – Suicide affects us all

Chances are you know someone who has taken their life as a result of serious anxiety, depression, or some other kind of mental health issue. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2013 suicide was ranked the tenth-leading cause of death for all age groups.

However, teen suicide in particular is an alarming problem. Too often young people fail to realize that their problems—whether they involve school, dating, or family matters—can be dealt with and will often, in times, pass. So, during the month of September (especially because September 10th was World Suicide Prevention Day) let’s review what do we need to know about suicide, specifically teen suicide…

Active Beat, September 13, 2016

Suicide Has Ripple Effect on Families, Communities, Societies

Dorothy Paugh was nine when her father took his life. “I count that day as the last day of my childhood. Because from that moment on, I had no sense of security. I had no sense that the world was a safe place,” she said.

Her father was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, a place of repose for presidents and military heroes. Paugh’s father served bravely in World War II. After his death, the White House sent a letter from “a grateful nation” that her mother hung prominently on the wall by the front door. Paugh says her mother wanted her children to remember their father as a war hero, and not to focus how he died. But, they never spoke about his death. Paugh said it was a special type of isolation.

Voice of America, September 10, 2016

Study: Social connectedness can yield suicide clusters

“Perhaps one of the most interesting findings of this study is that it highlights the downside to social connectedness,” said researcher Anna S. Mueller.

When a string of teen suicides happens in succession, they’re called suicide clusters or copycat suicides. New research suggests certain community dynamics can encourage suicide clusters and hinder suicide prevention efforts.
UPI, Science News  Sept. 9, 2016

Teens to train in suicide prevention

Some 2,000 national service and youth movement members will become gatekeepers to detect and help those at risk for committing suicide.

Starting this year, National Service volunteers will be trained to prevent people from committing suicide.

This was announced Thursday by the Health and Education ministries in advance of World Day for Suicide Prevention on Friday.The volunteers will be trained through a special program, Shomrei Hasaf (Gatekeepers). The Council of Youth Movements led the project, saying, “We see this as a first step that can save teenagers and children.”
The Jerusalum Post, September 9, 2016

Teamwork key to preventing Soldier suicides, experts say

Staff Sgt. Miguel Sierra vividly recalls himself and his staff handling logistical matters in the aftermath of a sailor committing suicide.

As a behavioral specialist and the noncommissioned officer in charge of the Army Health Clinic at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Sierra said this experience impressed upon him the importance of teamwork and the need for Soldiers to maintain awareness of signs of distress among their fellow Soldiers.

Sierra recalls that just nine years ago, Soldiers would receive “after the fact training,” meaning that units provided suicide education only following a suicide.

“When that happened enough times, people realized the issue was more serious than it was,” he said. “Now, commanders and NCOs are getting the word out about suicide prevention. They’re being more proactive and less reactive.
U.S. Army, Army News Service, September 8, 2016

When Suicide Hits Home: The loss of a young loved one has a devastating effect on families

The statistics are alarming. More than 40,000 Americans commit suicide every year. That averages out to about 110 people every day. Although it is the tenth leading cause of death overall, suicide is the second leading cause of death among those between the ages of 10 and 25 years old. Veterans make up 20 percent of all suicides.
Psychology Today, Sep 06, 2016

10 Essential Facts About Guns and Suicide: The decision to end one’s own life is often an impulse. When firearms are involved, that impulse is almost always fatal.

Despite an alarming uptick in homicides in some urban areas in the last few years, violent death rates are significantly lower than they were in the 1990s. There is one notable exception to this trend. Suicide rates for men and women have steadily increased for the past 15 years.

The statistics are bleak. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. From ages 10 to 34, it is the second leading cause. Last year, at least 40,000 people in the U.S. died by suicide. From 1999 to 2014, the suicide rate for men and women jumped 24 percent.
The Trace, September 6, 2016

Nurse’s Notes: Watch for suicide warnings

“… suicide affects all of us, regardless of our age, race or gender. Montana’s suicide rate has been ranked in the nation’s top five for the past 30 years and our youth suicide rate is double the national rate. According to a report from Montana’s Department of Public Health and Human Services, firearms (61 percent), suffocation (19 percent) and poisoning (15 percent) are the most common means of suicide in the state, with other means including carbon monoxide, overdose, motor vehicle accidents and jumping from heights.”
The Missoulian, September 6, 2016 

Suicide prevention’s front line: Family and friends

A suicide prevention hotline clinician says knowing the warning signs and what to say could save lives. Each year, close to 43,000 Americans die by suicide, and for the past two decades, suicide rates have been on the rise in the United States, particularly among men aged 45 to 64 and girls aged 10 to 14 – a demographic whose rates have tripled since 1999.

Science Daily, Rutgers University, September 5, 2016

How My Cousin’s Suicide Changed The Way I View Mental Health 

Six months ago, I lost my cousin to suicide. He suffered from depression for about four months before he decided to end his life.

This not only affected me in the psychological sense, but it also made me want to get out into my community and learn about the steps we can take to prevent things like this from happening.

At school, I decided to meet with someone who was recovering from depression. I found her through another friend I knew previously.

After talking to this girl for hours, I realized that one way to fight depression is by really listening to what a person is feeling.

Elite Daily, September 5, 2016

6 Myths About Suicide That Every Educator And Parent Should Know

Every day, thousands of teens attempt suicide in the U.S. — the most extreme outcome for the millions of children in this country who struggle with mental health issues.

As we’ve reported all week, schools play a key role, along with parents and medical professionals, in identifying children who may be at risk of suicide. And one of the biggest challenges: myths that can cloud their judgment.

“People are afraid of the whole topic,” says David Jobes, the head of Catholic University’s Suicide Prevention Lab. “It just feels like something that’s left unsaid or untouched.”

Jobes says one of the most common — and most dangerous — myths about suicide is that young children just don’t kill themselves.

It’s just not true.

NPR ED “Mental Health In Schools: A Hidden Crisis Affecting Millions Of Students,” September 2, 2016

Students leave thousands of positive notes around school after pupil’s suicide

Students in Ohio have paid a wonderful tribute to a pupil who committed suicide by posting thousands of positive messages around their school.

Mason High School student (MHS) Kwadwo Boateng, described by his family as “bright, funny and strong”, took his own life on August 25.

Days later, some of his fellow students spent eight hours writing out thousands of post-it notes and placing them on each student’s locker.

They created more than 3,600 of the notes, which featured positive messages like ‘You are strong’  and ‘You are not alone’ to surprise students who arrived at school the next day.
The Telegraph (UK), September 2, 2016

Changing the Conversation

September is an important month for suicide prevention. World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10, 2016) and National Suicide Prevention Week (September 5–11, 2016) provide us with opportunities to encourage people who are struggling with suicidal behavior to seek help, to assist friends, family members, and helping professionals in supporting individuals who are struggling with suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and to expand the numbers of people who are actively engaged in suicide prevention and mental health promotion.
Suicide Prevention Resource Center, September 2, 2016

Suicide Awareness Month — a link between suicide and eating disorders

As an expert in the field of eating disorders for over 35 years, I have helped thousands of patients and families overcome anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and related food, eating and body image concerns. Lasting eating recovery is possible — even likely — with early intervention from experienced experts.

However, the elevated incidence of suicide is a serious barrier to recovery for eating disordered individuals. Recent estimates suggest that suicide rates are 23 percent higher in those with eating disorders than in the general population. And, little known to the general public, eating disorder rates of death by suicide are significantly higher than that of depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Consider this — the suicide mortality rate in people with anorexia nervosa (AN) is the highest of any psychiatric illness. Individuals with AN are 31 times more likely to make a fatal suicide attempt than the general population, and more than half of AN deaths are a result of suicide and not the medical complications of self-starvation.
The Hill, September 1, 2016

“If physician suicide were an infectious disease it would be on the news every night and we’d have a body count.”

I’m Dr. Pamela Wible. I want to share some personal stories that I think will be really memorable after today. A lot of times if we just approach [physician suicide] from a supratentorial angle it doesn’t hold our attention and make things memorable into the future [the statistics can be overwhelming and frightening]. Just telling personal stories will help you access just a little bit of what my life is like right now. So I want to share a friend of mine with you, a friend of mine named Cheryl, a new friend that I just made a few months ago. Cheryl belongs to a club that nobody wants to be a member of. It’s an online support group that I started for parents who have lost their children to suicide in medical school and beyond (so residency as well). There are more people joining our group every week and month because we continue to lose (unfortunately) medical students to suicide. Cheryl lost her only child, Sean, just 3 months ago.
Ideal Medical Care, September 1, 2016


August, 2016


Suicide Survivor: Brain Health Service Cuts Are Fiscally Foolish

Cutting mental health programs is penny-wise, pound-foolish and life-threatening, a rare survivor of a suicide jump from the Golden Gate Bridge said Monday.

In June, Gov. Matt Mead announced $248 million in budget cuts, including $90 million (plus a loss of $41 million in matching federal funds) for services offered by the Department of Health including mental health services.

That makes no fiscal sense, Kevin Hines told a group hosted by the Natrona County Suicide Prevention Task Force. at the McMurry Mansion. Hines and his wife Margaret, and Australians Joe Williams and Lauren Breen, are on a “Hopeshelpsheal Tour” promoting suicide awareness and prevention.

Suicide costs the United States about $93.5 billion a year, according to an Oct. 29, 2015, article in the journal Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior from the American Association of Suicidology.
K2 Radio Wyoming, August 29, 2016

Study: Transgender youth face high rates of suicide

Thirty percent of transgender youth report a history of at least one suicide attempt, and nearly 42 percent report a history of self-injury, such as cutting, a new study from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center shows.

The Cincinnati Children’s researchers also discovered a higher frequency of suicide attempts among transgender youth who are dissatisfied with their weight.
The Cincinnati Enquirer, August 29, 2016 

Connect, communicate and care on World Suicide Prevention Day

On September 10th, join with others around the world who are working towards the common goal of preventing suicide. Check in on someone you may be concerned about, and start a caring conversation with them, asking them how they’re going. Investigate ways of connecting with others who are trying to prevent suicide in your community, your country, or internationally. Show your support by taking part in the International Association for Suicide Prevention’s Cycle Around the Globe.
European Alliance Against Depression, August 26, 2016

Golden Gate Bridge suicide data show more youth consider jumping

Disturbing new data from the Golden Gate Bridge show there has been a fivefold increase in the number of young people who come to the span to consider ending their lives.

The number of people 24 years old and younger coming to the span to commit suicide went from nine in 2000 to 43 in 2014 and the figure is likely to go higher this year, officials cautioned Friday as the bridge board heard a presentation on the difficult subject that has vexed the structure’s officials since it opened in 1937.
Marin Independent Journal, August 26, 2016

Preventing teen suicide: Where to turn for support

Since 2009, nine young people between the ages of 9 and 17 committed suicide in Mahoning County

WKBNEvery year, coroners investigate at least one teen suicide in the Mahoning Valley. Another family that has to deal with unbelievable loss and another school district that brings in counselors to help classmates cope with the tragedy.

Dr. Joseph Ohr with the Mahoning County Coroner’s Office is one of the people who has to make sense of these deaths. “No one likes to talk about suicide. No one likes to think their friend or family member would commit suicide,” he said.
WKBN, August 25, 2016

Largest study of veteran suicide reveals more precise information

The Department of Veterans Affairs released analysis of the most comprehensive research of veteran suicide rates in the U.S., examining over 55 million Veteran records from 1979 to 2014 from every state in the nation. The effort extends VA’s knowledge from the previous report issued in 2010, which examined three million veteran records from 20 states.  Based on the data from 2010, VA estimated the number of veteran deaths by suicide averaged 22 per day.  The current analysis indicates that in 2014, an average of 20 veterans a day died from suicide.
DAV, August 24, 2016

Pediatricians can help identify suicidal teens

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated guidelines advising pediatricians how to identify and help teenagers at risk for suicide. The group wants pediatricians to screen patients for suicidal thoughts and risk factors for suicide, such as bullying. Dr. Kim Cass, chair of pediatrics at University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health, said that at-risk teens regularly come to the emergency department, and she calls it a “serious epidemic for our youth.
The Baltimore Sun, August 24, 2016

Survivors of First Attempt at High Risk for Later Suicide

A first suicide attempt is an even greater risk factor for a completed suicide than previously appreciated, and the great majority of completed suicides occur within a year of the first attempt, a new cohort study shows.

The findings suggest that first suicide attempts may be “even more lethal than we knew,” the authors state in the article’s title. However, it appeared that hospitalization following the attempt, as well as a scheduled follow-up visit with a psychiatrist significantly, reduced that risk.
Medscape, August 23, 2016

The Scariest Part About America’s LGBTQ Suicide Epidemic Is What We Don’t Know About It

On August 12, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released results from the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey (YRBS), a biannual poll designed to monitor high school student health. For the first time ever, states and schools were given the option to include questions about respondents’ sexuality. Twenty-five states and 19 large urban school districts chose to do so, and as such, the survey marked the first nationally representative census of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth health in America…

Perhaps most shocking was the data pertaining to suicide: Some 29.4 percent of LGB students tried to kill themselves in 2015, almost five times as many as straight students. And 42.8 percent experienced some form of suicidal ideation.
VICE, August 23, 2016

Teen suicide attempts increase a ‘staggering’ 143 per cent

A 143 per cent increase in attempted suicides by local youth is such an “alarming” finding it requires immediate priority action, a just-released mental health profile of the region concludes.“A very staggering increase,” is how epidemiologist Mackenzie Slifierz described the rising number of hospital emergency department visits by young people between the ages of 10 and 19 for intentional self-harm injuries, documented in his 2010-15 Windsor-Essex County Health Unit report.
Windsor Star, August 22, 2016

Pittsburgh researchers may have found ‘cure’ for some untreatable depression

Ben Finder remembers when the depression first hit him. It was three years ago when he was 13, a happy and energetic eighth-grader in Obama Middle School in Pittsburgh.

“The first sign, I noticed that every few days I’d get this feeling that came over me of nothingness,” Ben recalled this past week. “It’s kind of hard to describe, but I didn’t think it was a big deal at the time.”

He did not tell his parents until a few months later, when the feelings of nothingness grew to include thoughts of committing suicide. Those thoughts became overwhelming. The illness would consume his and his parents’ lives over the next year as doctors had Ben try different drugs, different therapies, with several stays in mental health hospitals, all in a search for help that seemed increasingly unlikely to come.
Pittsburgh Post Gazette, August 22, 2016

#ITSOKAYTOTALK Seeks to Raise Suicide Awareness Among Men

Every year, more than 42,000 Americans die by suicide. If you see a selfie that looks like this in your newsfeed, it’s because your friend wants you to know it’s OK to talk.

Men around the world are sharing photos of themselves making the OK hand symbol to raise suicide awareness, as men are 3.5 times more likely to die by suicide than women. Now men want others to know it’s OK to speak up about mental illness.
The Mighty, August 22, 2016

‘IT’S A SPIRALLING SITUATION’ The rural town where 100 young people have tried to commit suicide since September

Last October a 13-year-old girl hanged herself – and since then more than 100 of Attawapiskat’s 2,000 First Nation people, most of them teenagers, have also tried to kill themselves.
The Sun, August 21, 2016

A new report shows Oklahoma’s suicide rate is 37 percent higher than the national average, but last week the state cut $300,000 from the suicide hotline program.

The Oklahoma City-County Health Department reports suicide rates rose from 12 per 100,000 people in 2010 to 16.6 per 100,000 by 2013. As funding decreases, advocates say now it is more important than ever to “Silence The Stigma” of mental illness in an effort to save lives., August 21, 2016

A Suicidologist’s New Challenge: The George Washington Bridge

For the past 30 years, Dr. Gould has plumbed the depths of despair, searching for ways to prevent what has exploded into one of the most significant public health threats facing young people: suicide. She is one of the country’s leading experts in its prevention and causes, and her research undergirds much of the modern thinking on the topic, including the phenomenon of suicide contagion…

She is also adamant about what she considers the most powerful deterrent of all: depriving people at particular risk of killing themselves of access to the means for doing so. She has urged the authorities to put barriers on bridges and other buildings, something that copious amounts of research show is effective.
The New York Times, August 19, 2016

Suicide attempts and behavioral correlates among a nationally representative sample of school-attending adolescents in the Republic of Malawi

Suicide is among the top causes of adolescent mortality worldwide. While correlates of suicidal behavior are better understood and delineated in upper-income countries, epidemiologic knowledge of suicidal behavior in low-income countries remains scant, particularly in the African continent. The present study sought to add to the epidemiologic literature on suicidal behavior in Africa by examining the behavioral correlates of suicide attempts among Malawi adolescents.
BioMed Central, August 19, 2016

Nation’s Largest Suicide Prevention Organization Launches Suicide Prevention and Firearm Pilot Program

Pilot Program Supports the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Project 2025 Goal to Reduce the Annual Suicide Rate 20 Percent by 2025.

According to recently released data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of all suicides were by firearm in 2014, and suicide accounted for almost two-thirds of gun fatalities in the same year. In addition, 90 percent of suicide attempts with a firearm are fatal. To help stem this  loss of life, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the nation’s largest suicide prevention organization, is working with representatives from local gun shops, shooting ranges and hunting clubs to educate retailers and the firearm-owning community on suicide prevention and firearms.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Aug. 17, 2016

How work can lead to suicide in a globalised economy

A Paris prosecutor recently called for the former CEO and six senior managers of telecoms provider, France Télécom, to face criminal charges for workplace harassment. The recommendation followed a lengthy inquiry into the suicides of a number of employees at the company between 2005 and 2009. The prosecutor accused management of deliberately “destabilising” employees and creating a “stressful professional climate” through a company-wide strategy of “harcèlement moral” – psychological bullying.
The Conversation, August 16, 2016

GPs’ uncertainty at dealing with those bereaved by suicide revealed

Interviews carried out by The University of Manchester with GPs of parents whose children have died by suicide have revealed a lack of knowledge and confidence on how best to respond to and support those bereaved.

The new study, published in the British Journal of General Practice, explored GPs’ experiences and perceived needs (emotional, practical and training) when caring for parents bereaved by suicide.
Science Daily, August 15, 2016

Prescription drug abuse tied to increased risk of teen suicide

Suicide is a leading cause of death for teens worldwide, and the odds of suicide attempts may be higher when adolescents abuse prescription drugs, a Chinese study suggests.
Reuters, August 15, 2016

A Bullied Staten Island Boy Commits Suicide: Daniel wrote in heartbreaking letter that nobody did anything to help him

A life ended tragically when nobody was there to help a 13-year-old boy from Staten Island, Daniel Fitzpatrick, who was repeatedly bullied at school. He was constantly made fun of because of his weight, as well as his grades at school, but when he begged for help, nobody did anything at Holy Angels Catholic Academy in Staten Island, the boy mentioned in his letter.
Inquisitr, August 14, 2016

Military suicide rate ‘a national shame’ as 41 take own lives since start of 2016

Grieving families accuse Australian defence force and Department of Veterans’ Affairs of inadequate support
The Guardian, August 13, 2016

Queer teens are four times more likely to commit suicide, CDC reports

First nationally representative study of queer youth confirms health differencesGay and bisexual high schoolers are four times more likely to have attempted suicide in the past year than their straight classmates, according to the first nationally representative study of queer youth. The new Centers for Disease Control report confirms health differences between LGB and straight teens: far more of the former experience the negative health measures, the study tracks — from physical violence to poor mental health to injecting drugs.
The Verve, August 11, 2016 

Suicide Risk May Rise in People Hospitalized with Infections

People who are hospitalized for infections may face an increased risk of dying from suicide, according to a new study that may suggest a biological basis for some suicidal behavior.
Live Science, August 10, 2016 

US Veterans’ Suicide Rate Rose 32% Since 2001: Official Data

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Suicide Prevention released a report Wednesday that showed suicide rate among veterans in the country went up by 32 percent from 2001 to 2014. The increase in the suicide rate was a lot more marked among veterans who do not use Veterans Health Administration (VHA) services, especially among female veterans, the report noted.
International Business Times, August 8, 2016

New Clues to Depression Spotted in the Genome: Investigators identify the bad lines of genetic code that may lead to the disease

The battle against depression has always been something of a rearguard action. You can’t prevent it; you can’t really cure it. The best you can do is battle it, often through a lifetime of cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps manage symptoms, and psychotropic medications, which improve mood by manipulating neurotransmitters like serotonin. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.
Time, August 1, 2016

July, 2016

Maryland’s top educators focus on teen suicide: Youth Risk Behavior Survey gives insight on high school students’ feelings
WBALTV, July 26, 2016

Fact Check, Gun Control and Suicide: Statistics do not support a connection between gun control and US suicide rates
Psychology Today, July 24, 2016

U.S. Suicide Rate for People with Epilepsy Exceeds Levels in General Population

Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control studied the prevalence of suicide among people with epilepsy compared to the population overall and estimated that the annual suicide mortality rate among those with epilepsy was 22 percent higher than in the general population. Results are online in the journal Epilepsy and Behavior.
Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, July 22, 2016

Does Dialectal Behavioral Therapy (DBT) Actually Change the Way the Brain Works? 

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a treatment that focuses on helping patients to better manage their emotions, and develop skills to cope with problems and negative feelings. A primary aim is to lead the patient to stop or reduce behavior that is harmful. DBT was initially created for people with borderline personality disorder (BPD), and its effectiveness has been proven multiple times with that population.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, July 2016

Why are doctors plagued by depression and suicide? A crisis comes into focus
STAT, July 21, 2016

CDC releases preliminary findings on Palo Alto suicide clusters

In light of the recent suicides of several Palo Alto teens, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began an epidemiological study in February 2016 that investigated previous youth suicide clusters. Last week, the CDC released preliminary findings of their study, which revealed that mental health problems, recent crises and problems at school were major factors in the suicides of the 232 youths throughout Santa Clara County the CDC investigated.
The Stanford Daily, July 21, 2016

Screening for suicide risk among publicly insured urban children who are experiencing psychological distress is vitally important, finds a new study from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.
Science Daily, July 20, 2016

Risk of suicide among OCD patients much higher than previously thought. Patients with OCD are 10 times more likely to commit suicide, contrary to what was previously thought. In a new study from Karolinska Institutet published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, is also shown that the main predictor of suicide in OCD patients is a previous suicide attempt, which offers opportunities for prevention.

News Medical, July 19, 2016

The math behind our suicide and guns calculations: In a story today we analyze the relationship between the availability of firearms in the United States and suicide rates. Our main finding is that the suicide rate would likely decline significantly if guns weren’t used so widely by Americans to take their own lives.
The Washington Post, July 13, 2016 

Suicide rate is 22% higher among people with epilepsy than the general population
Science Daily, July 12, 2016

U.S. Veterans Commit Suicide at Rate of 20 a Day, VA Says: Twenty military veterans commit suicide every day in the U.S., according to new statistics released Thursday by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Wall Street Journal, July 7, 2016

CDC: Latina Teenage Girls At Highest Risk For Attempting Suicide In U.S.

A new survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that 15 percent of Latina teenagers have attempted suicide, and 25 percent have thought about it.
Houston Public Media, July 5, 2016

The effects of patient suicide on general practitioners

Suicide is a major health problem. In England, around 5,000 people end their own lives annually – that is one death every two hours and at least ten times that number of attempts, according to the Office for National Statistics. Suicide is a tragedy that is life-altering for those bereaved and can be an upsetting event for the community and local services involved.
Oxford University Press, July 5, 2016

Utah officials unsure why youth suicide rate has nearly tripled since 2007

Utah health officials are grappling with a rising youth suicide rate that’s nearly tripled since 2007 and is now the leading cause of death among 10- to 17-year-olds in Utah. A state report released this month shows Utah’s youth suicide was 8.5 per 100,000 people in 2014, the most recent data available.

In 2007, the rate was 3.0 per 100,000.

Health officials, suicide prevention advocates and educators have been working to curb suicides, but officials don’t know why Utah’s child suicide rate is more than double the national rate and climbing.
The Salt Lake Tribune, July 2, 2016

Girl who texted boyfriend urging suicide must stand trial, court rules 

Massachusetts’ highest court has ruled that a teenage girl must stand trial on a manslaughter charge for encouraging her boyfriend to kill himself by sending him dozens of text messages and telling him to “get back in” a truck filled with carbon monoxide fumes.
WFXT – Boston, July 2, 2016

Suicide Rates by Occupational Group — 17 States, 2012
In 2012, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death among persons aged ≥16 years in the United States, with approximately 40,000 suicide deaths.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, July 1, 2016

Suicide Prevention Resources Center
Resources and Programs, July 1, 2015


June, 2016

Teen Bullies And Their Victims Both Face A Higher Risk Of Suicide Bullying and cyberbullying are major risk factors for teen suicide. And both the bullies and their victims are at risk. That’s according to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics that urges pediatricians and family doctors to routinely screen teenagers for suicide risks.
NPR, June 28, 2016

The Suicidal Brain: Studying differences in the brains of suicide attempters and depressed individuals who never attempt suicide may help in developing better treatments.  Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a sobering new finding: Suicide is now the second-leading cause of death among teenagers, with nearly 2,000 taking their own lives annually. That contributes to a rising incidence of suicide among the wider population, which sees roughly 40,000 Americans take their lives each year. In 2014, there were 12.93 suicides per 100,000 people, up from 10.9 in 2005, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists suicide as the tenth leading cause of death nationally., June 28, 2016

Suicide Now 2nd Leading Cause Of Death Among IL Youth

Springfield, Ill.  Suicide is now the second-leading cause of death among young people in Illinois and across the country, according to new research published today. The report, titled “Suicide and Suicide Attempts in Adolescents,” updates an American Academy of Pediatrics report from 2007, when suicide was the third-leading cause of death for people age 15 to 19. The new research lists bullying and internet use as big risk factors for that age group.
104.1 WIKY, June 27, 2016

Why scientists think your social media posts can help prevent suicide

Take a moment to look at your emoji keyboard. Scroll through the angry face, ghost, stiletto, doughnut, flashlight and cigarette until you reach the hearts. There it is: love. Amid the mundane and humorous, those vibrant, colorful little shapes can easily become a rapid-fire display of affection to a friend, parent or partner. But notice, too, the broken and blue hearts, and their restrained reminders of sadness, loneliness or grief.
Mashable, June 26, 2016

UMass researcher receives grant to prevent suicide in young people. In 2012, the state recorded 624 suicides compared to 135 homicides. From 2009 through 2013, the suicide rate among Massachusetts youth from 10 to 24 years of age increased 62 percent, from 3.9 to 6.3 per 100,000 persons. And it is that group that Researchers at the University of Massachusetts School of Public Health and Health Sciences, along with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, are particularly trying to help.
MassLive, June 25, 2016

Crisis Text Line takes suicide prevention into the age of texting. The hardest part for Lily Rayne was feeling alone. Rayne is deaf and didn’t grow up with sign language. When she had suicidal thoughts, she couldn’t communicate or sign with a trained professional or a therapist. Nor could she pick up a phone to call a crisis hotline.
USA TODAY, June 25, 2016

As I See It: How we talk about suicide matters. When the media covers each individual suicide, this informs the community about the deaths but does little to reduce the pain for individuals who are suicidal, their families, and friends. We know that individuals who have lost peer or family members to suicide are at higher risk themselves. When a suicide occurs, it is important to focus on those left behind and offer them hope and resources.
Corvallis Gazette-Times, June 24, 2016

Hanson Walk planned in memory of teen lost to suicide. Eighth-grader Sam Andrews played Little League, had his heart set on studying engines and mechanics in high school, and loved riding dirt bikes. “He was always working on something in the garage. He was a very sweet kid, had a great sense of humor,” his father, Phil Andrews, 43, recalled recently. On May 11, Sam, a handsome, energetic 14-year-old who attended Hanson Middle School, took his own life.
The Enterprise, June 23, 2016

Canada’s Christian Doctors Fight Assisted Suicide Law. Christian doctors across Canada are standing against a government regulation they say forces them to take part in assisted suicide and euthanasia.
CBN News, June 23, 2016

The Suicide Project is a website devoted to allowing people to share their stories of desperation and depression… and ultimately of hope. We hope that by allowing people to share their stories of despair with one another, they can find a reason to live, a reason to survive another minute. Another hour. Another day.

California’s Assisted Suicide Law: Are Some Lives Not Worth Living, or are All Lives Precious? At what point can we say that a life no longer matters? Is it at the point when medical expenses become too costly or burdensome for relatives? Is it at the point when someone feels they have outlived their usefulness, or are just not able to do the things they love to do anymore?
Population Research Institute, June 22, 2016

Brownley’s bill to help prevent suicide among female veterans moves to president’s desk. The House passed a measure Tuesday evening aimed at finding and implementing the best ways to prevent suicide by female military veterans. It is now headed to President Barack Obama to be signed into law.
Ventura County Star, June 22, 2016

Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention Construction is one of the top nine industries at risk for suicide. As such, it is an industry imperative to shatter the mental health stigma and create caring cultures within our companies.
CFMA, June, 2016

Why is the Yakima Valley’s suicide rate so high? On April 6, 2008, Willeena George got the worst phone call of her life: Her 16-year-old son Dominique Nappo hanged himself in his grandparents’ basement.
Yakima Herald, June 22, 2o16

Canada Doesn’t Want to Be a ‘Suicide Tourism’ Destination
New York Magazine, Science of Us, June 21, 2016

Against suicide, a century of little progress: Federal report reinforces need for more research, Nock says. Professor Matthew K. Nock directs the Nock Lab at Harvard’s Department of Psychology, where he researches suicide and self-injury.
Harvard Gazette, June 21, 2016

Untreated depression a big factor in cases like Brockton murder-suicide: The expert said untreated depression is the biggest factor in murder-suicides
Taunton Gazette, June 20, 2016

Researchers Study New Ways to Treat Suicide Risk: The drug ketamine shows promise in early study as doctors work to address the symptoms suicidal patients exhibit
The Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2016

Christchurch teenager depressed and ‘muddled’ after losing 10 friends to suicide, four in car crashes: A teenager who has lost 10 friends to suicide in recent years, and four more in car crashes, started stealing after becoming depressed and “muddled”, June 20, 2016 

Social workers adopt new national policy on suicide prevention thanks to Waterloo students: ‘I had no idea that message would go to the national level,’ student Natasha Ekelman says

CBCNews, June 20 2016

“Facebook Offers Tools for Those Who Fear a Friend May Be Suicidal”
New York Times, June 14, 2016

“As Suicide Rates Rise, Scientists Find New Warning Signs: Computer algorithms, biomarkers and other advanced techniques help flag trouble earlier.”
Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2016

Matthew K. Nock, psychology professor at Harvard and one of the country’s leading suicide researchers is quoted in this article. Professor Nock was a participant – along with several of his colleagues – in our 2015 Overnight Walk in Boston.

April, 2016

“U.S. Suicide Rate Surges to a 30-Year High”
New York Times, April 22, 2016