News

newspaper_and_keyboardOn this page we’ll be posting links to articles and information that will help our visitors gain a broader perspective of issues important to us. We will look across the wide spectrum of suicide research, adolescent brain development, and the diagnosis and treatment of depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses. For more links, please see our News Archive page.

 

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Deaths From Suicide: A Look at 18 States
A Special Report with Data from the National Violent Death Reporting System, 2013-2014

Established in 1993, the Safe States Alliance is a national non-profit organization and professional association whose mission is to strengthen the practice of injury and violence prevention. Safe States is the only national non-profit or-ganization and professional association that represents the diverse and ever-expanding group of professionals who comprise the field of injury and violence prevention.

Safe States • www.safestates.org • February 2017


The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team – whose investigative work was the subject of the acclaimed 2015 film Spotlight – has produced a report on the current state of mental health care in Massachusetts, The Desperate and the Dead: Families in Fear. Closing psychiatric hospitals seemed humane, but the state failed to build a system to replace them, June 23, 2016. A complete PDF of their report is available for viewing below.

 


March, 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.

HJnews.com, 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.”

WCNC.com, 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.

Childline.org, 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