On 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.
Netflix Needs To Do More Than Cut The Suicide Scene
Netflix’s controversial first season of 13 Reasons Why, released 2017, is back in the news this week after the online streaming service announced that, in advance of the release of the third season, they would be re-editing a scene to remove the graphic depiction of suicide. The show, and that scene specifically, caused extensive controversy when it was first released, with many suicide prevention activists and institutions expressing concern that the show may be dangerous to at-risk young people.
Although most agree that cutting the scene is a good decision, analysts have pointed out that it’s not simply that scene, but the entire plot and premise of the season, that make it so dangerous. Creating more stories that depict the realities of people struggling with suicidal thoughts, stories that depict seeking treatment in a positive way, is more important than removing or censoring stories that don’t. Minimizing negative cultural shifts isn’t as important as creating a positive cultural shift.
Statement from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention on Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” New Season One Edit
Netflix announced that after talking to mental health groups like the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, it is removing the scene in which Hannah Baker takes her own life from Episode 13, Season 1 of “13 Reasons Why.” The nation’s largest suicide prevention organization, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) , made the following statement about this decision by Netflix.
“AFSP strongly supports Netflix’s decision to remove the scene of Hannah’s death in Season One. The portrayal of suicidal struggles and suicide is complex and research shows people respond to entertainment content in a variety of different ways. The same content that can lead to increased awareness and interest, and even empathy in many – can lead to worsening of mood, anxiety, or self-image for others who are vulnerable or struggling.
Family in Danville starts non-profit in honor of 13-year-old suicide victim
It’s only been a few months since 13-year-old Lainey Smith sadly died by suicide in Danville and her family is doing whatever they can to help spread awareness.
Lainey Smith is gone, but not forgotten.
“She’s the passer of the light, so hopefully we can keep her light shining,” said Lainey’s mother Stacey Smith. Her death sparked the creation of a non-profit called The Lainey Project.
Her family created it to help spread awareness.
“We kind of came up with doing something about the bullying in schools, raising awareness for anxiety, raising awareness for depression for people that dealt with that because it’s not just children, it’s everybody,” said Haley Smith, Lainey’s sister.
They want to help find ways to eliminate bullying.
After a six-year-old attempted suicide, I thought it wouldn’t happen again. I was wrong
A couple of years ago, I fought to save the life of a six-year-old child, to make sure she never attempted suicide again
This child is doing well but that was because I was able travel to her, in the heart of our continent, to one of our remotest regions. I was shocked that one so young would contemplate suicide. At the time I believed, or hoped, that I would never come across again a child so young and suicidal. Recently, I dedicated long-haul support to another suicidal six-year-old child, this time in one of our large cities.
Most recently, I have supported suicidal children, six, nine, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 years of age. Without dedicated support it is my very certain belief that some of them would not be with us today.
There was one island community where a 13-year-old girl took her life. Her 11-year-old brother found her. The island has mainstream services, albeit small, but none visited the family, citing the need to give the grieving family “space”. More than three weeks later I travelled to the island and drove from the main community to an outstation near a smaller community and met the family. I was the first to do so.
The AI That Could Help Curb Youth Suicide
For many reasons, parents and teachers may fail to intervene when they spot LGBTQ teens in trouble. Can Google help?
In suicide-prevention literature, “gatekeepers” are community members who may be able to offer help when someone expresses suicidal thoughts. It’s a loose designation, but it generally includes teachers, parents, coaches, and older co-workers—people with some form of authority and ability to intervene when they see anything troubling.
Could it also include Google? When users search certain key phrases related to suicide methods, Google’s results prominently feature the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. But the system isn’t foolproof. Google can’t edit webpages, just search results, meaning internet users looking for information about how to kill themselves could easily find it through linked pages or on forums, never having used a search engine at all.
At the same time, on the 2019 internet, “run me over” is more likely to be a macabre expression of fandom than a sincere cry for help—a nuance a machine might not understand. Google’s artificial intelligence is also much less effective at detecting suicidal ideation when people search in languages other than English.
Teens are increasingly depressed, anxious, and suicidal. How can we help?
There are good research-backed solutions to prevent suicide among young people.
As you can see in this chart, after a steep drop in the late 1990s, the number of suicide deaths among young people (as measured in deaths per 100,000 people) began climbing around 2008 before reaching a new high in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Suicide rates lately have been increasing in all age groups in America, in almost every state. But the epidemic of youth suicide is particularly stymying, even for experts who study it.
There are plenty of hypotheses about what’s driving it floating around. They include the changing way teens interact with each other in digital spaces, economic stress and fallout from the 2008 recession, increasing social isolation, suicide contagion, and the fact that teens can more easily look up suicide methods online.
Two other enormous public health issues of our time are at play too. Children of opioid users appear to be more at risk for suicide. Same goes for young people who live in a house with a gun.
Between 16 and 18% of preadolescents have ideas of suicide
Depressive symptoms, anxiety and compulsive obsessive disorder are the main risk factors, according to a study by Universitat Rovira i Virgili researchers.
The researchers studied a group of 720 boys and 794 girls who studied in 13 schools in Reus. They were monitored during three developmental periods: 10 years old, 11 years old and 13 years old.
At the beginning of the study, the students answered a series of psychological tests that were used to detect which of them presented emotional symptoms related to depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). From their responses, two groups were created: one group at risk of emotional problems and a control group.
The disorders were diagnosed with standardised international criteria and the boys and girls were monitored to see how suicidal ideation developed throughout the research period.
Five Lessons for Communicators from an Influencer’s Suicide Note
Influencers are similar to nearly everyone else in this world; they have their good and bad days. We’ll admit, however, finding a balanced view in the media of influencer marketing is rare. Once considered a fad, influencer marketing is growing. It looks to be a permanent fixture in the marketer’s toolkit. And we’ll admit you’ve likely read articles on this site that imbue influencers with seemingly mythical powers to boost brand awareness, third-party authenticity and, sometimes, sales.
On the other hand, when influencers run amok, reputational damage to brands can result. Still, stories about the negative aspects of influencers seem hard to find. Articles urging companies to vet influencers before employing them seem in short supply. Ditto articles about contracts specifying exactly what you expect of an influencer.
Influencers are similar to nearly everyone else in this world; they have their good and bad days. We’ll admit, however, finding a balanced view in the media of influencer marketing is rare. Once considered a fad, influencer marketing is growing. It looks to be a permanent fixture in the marketer’s toolkit. And we’ll admit you’ve likely read articles on this site that imbue influencers with seemingly mythical powers to boost brand awareness, third-party authenticity and, sometimes, sales.
On the other hand, when influencers run amok, reputational damage to brands can result. Still, stories about the negative aspects of influencers seem hard to find. Articles urging companies to vet influencers before employing them seem in short supply. Ditto articles about contracts specifying exactly what you expect of an influencer.
The silent suicide epidemic
The 1999 massacre at Columbine High marked a new era of outrage towards gun violence upon young people. During the ensuing two decades 11 mass shootings have caused 200 senseless in-school deaths provoking nearly non-stop national mourning.
Meanwhile however, another gun epidemic has stealthily been taking 25 times as many young lives. Firearm suicides among 10- to 24-year-olds have become the second leading cause of death in that group. At last count, in 2017, the annual toll was a whopping 261. That’s five each week. Hardly a day goes by without private grieving by relatives and friends. But, for assorted reasons, few of those stories arouse the broader attention necessary to spark public outrage.
A major roadblock has been the NRA’s strident mantra “it’s not guns but people who kill.” That’s dead Wrong! It is most certainly guns and their availability which kill these distraught victims. Young people have other suicide options – suffocation by hanging, poisoning by drugs and wrist slashing. Each of these have far lower success rates than firearms and most young people have made several attempts with one or more of them before turning to a gun with its 85 percent success rate.
I Love You, Now Die: HBO’s Documentary on Texting Suicide
Now on HBO: I Love You, Now Die; a groundbreaking, true-crime, two-part documentary about an unprecedented manslaughter case — killing via text message. One part cyberbullying, one part Romeo and Juliet tragedy, the case was both shocking for the public and revolutionary for the Massachusetts courts.
Filmmaker Erin Lee Carr pulls back the curtain on the mind of Michelle Carter, the teenager accused of driving her boyfriend, 18-year-old Conrad Roy, to commit suicide solely through the phone. Carr told Inside Edition she hopes the two-part documentary will challenge viewers to decide for themselves the implications of the case — “Can you text someone into killing themselves, and can you be held liable? Yes, it’s immoral, yes it’s illegal, but there’s a lot more to the story.”
Mobile Help for Mental Health
A Connecticut program aims to meet kids in crisis where they physically are.
By the beginning of her eighth-grade year in 2013, Julia Tannenbaum had been struggling with an eating disorder, anxiety and depression for months. She was terrified to tell anyone.
Then, in the middle of a school day that fall, she hit a breaking point.
“Julia was just in a tremendous state of crisis, just emotionally out of control,” says her mother, Katherine Wilson. “We didn’t know what was going on with her, but she just couldn’t function.”
Alarmed by Tannenbaum’s behavior, the school dialed a familiar three-digit number. But it wasn’t an ambulance that showed up to the middle school – it was a clinician from Connecticut’s Mobile Crisis Intervention Services program, which deploys trained clinicians to mental health emergencies in homes, schools and communities. People can call 2-1-1 to access it.
The goal of the state-funded initiative – among a number of similar adolescent-focused mobile services around the country – is to get children appropriate care while keeping them out of emergency rooms, which are often poorly equipped to deal with mental health crises, especially among kids. Meanwhile, the rate of young people visiting the ER for mental health issues has surged.
Instagram Adds Features To Combat Cyberbullying As Studies Link Social Media To Youth Depression, Suicide
Instagram is offering two new anti-bullying features to its platform to combat cyberbullying and the devastating effects it can have on young people.
“We know bullying is a challenge many face, particularly young people,” Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, said in a blog post when announcing the new features
The first anti-bullying feature Instagram added is one that helps prevent harmful comments before they even appear on the site. “In the last few days, we started rolling out a new feature powered by AI that notifies people when their comment may be considered offensive before it’s posted,” Mosseri said.
This feature allows a person to reevaluate a hurtful comment they might post with the hopes that they either change their comment or do not post it at all. Early testing of this feature shows it does cause some to reconsider and fewer hurtful comments are made, according to the blog post.
Stigma Often Keeps Guys from Seeking Help for Mental Health
Behavioral health is not a male issue or a female issue — it’s a human issue. Yet, the imbalance between the problems facing men and their willingness to seek help has raised alarm bells in the field over the years.
Suicide rates provide one of the starker contrasts, with men making up more than 75% of all suicide victims in the U.S., with one man killing himself every 20 minutes on average. Substance abuse — sometimes referred to as ‘slow-motion suicide’ — follows a similar track, ensnaring three men for every woman.
And, yet, men don’t want to bring up these issues, said Sara Kendall, vice president of Clinical Operations at MHA in Springfield.
“In our society, we have expressions like ‘man up.’ So many things in our culture are geared toward men being strong, and therefore, seeking any help — especially anything behavioral-health-related — been viewed as weakness,” she told BusinessWest. “It’s often difficult for men to feel comfortable talking to someone, so there’s a disconnect with how to help. We encounter that a lot.”
What App-Based Therapy Is Really Like–Without an IRL connection, can treatment still work?
I was wide awake at one in the morning, scrolling through my contacts. My life felt impossible and bleak, like a movie I didn’t want to watch. I knew I needed to talk to someone, but I also felt cagey and vulnerable — even if I called someone and they actually picked up, I wasn’t sure I could explain what hurt.
I’d stopped therapy over a year ago, when my graduate program ended and I lost access to the university’s free counseling center. On days when my depression and anxiety felt unbearable, I’d research therapists and counseling centers in my area. I’d get overwhelmed by the intake evaluation, expense, transportation, and the possibility of a waitlist.
As a freelance writer, my work schedule is as unpredictable as my ACA insurance is terrible. After a few days of searching, I’d feel marginally better on my own and decide to forego help. I’d get along fine until nights like this, when everything caught up to me.
That night, in a last ditch effort to calm down, I searched the phrase “internet therapy” and found a promo code for $45 off a month of Talkspace, a mental health platform that connects clients like me with licensed therapists in their state (subscriptions cost between $260-$396, depending on the frequency of video therapy sessions).
Better ways to prevent suicide
Suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in the United States, overall. For people ages 35 to 54, it ranks fourth, and for 10- to 34-year-olds, second.
Over the decades, suicide rates have climbed and fallen and climbed again. Between 1999 and 2017, the suicide rate increased 33%, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (see March Monitor, “Worrying Trends in U.S. Suicide Rates”). Meanwhile, health-care providers still struggle to identify those at risk and to intervene. Yet suicide researchers say that situation is starting to change.
Within the field of psychology, experts are bringing their unique skills to bear on the problem of suicide. Basic scientists are exploring brain changes and risk factors associated with suicidal ideation and behavior. Applied scientists are seeking new ways to identify those at risk. Clinical researchers are testing new therapeutic interventions, and clinicians on the front lines are helping deliver those treatments to people who are struggling.
In the first of a series, we look at how psychologists in a variety of settings are building on one another’s work to address today’s most challenging issues. Here is how they are working together to advance the field of suicide prevention.
Suicide Isn’t Just a Personal Issue
The U.S. has a long history of misunderstanding mental-health struggles.
It wasn’t all that long ago that many people wouldn’t say “cancer” in polite conversation. Because the disease was so deadly and so poorly understood, mentioning that someone had The Big C could seem to imply that the person had brought the misery of the disease on himself or herself.
Although that stigma persists in some ways—lung cancer, for example, is still culturally tied to tobacco use—things have gotten a lot better. People shave their heads in solidarity with loved ones going through chemo, and breast-cancer pink is the stuff of corporate-marketing legend.
Christine Moutier, the chief medical officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, hopes Americans’ understanding of suicide is on a similar path. “Cancer was shameful to think about or talk about, which shows you how much things really can change,” she told me in an interview at the Aspen Ideas Festival, co-hosted by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic.
“Mental health is just now undergoing that period of growth and transition that’s informed by science, but the average person doesn’t really understand all that yet.”
Suicide Rates Are Rising, But Nobody Really Knows Why
Suicide rates appear to be at all-time highs, with the latest research suggesting rates are one-third higher than they were in 1999.
Among people ages 16 through 64, the rate of suicide climbed from about 10 per 100,000 to 14 per 100,000 people. That’s a significant increase during a period of time where, by all outward measures, stigma about mental health issues and depression has been significantly decreasing. More than ever, it is safe and people are encouraged to talk about — and seek help for — a mental health concern.
So why this significant rise in the suicide rate?
Report: Adolescent suicide rate hits 20-year high
• Recent research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates the suicide rate for teens ages 15 to 19 is at its highest point in 20 years, and that suicide is now the second-leading cause of death for that age group, Education Week reports.
• The report, based on statistics from the Centers for Disease Control’s Underlying Cause of Death database, reveals the increase has mainly occurred between 2007 and 2017, reaching a rate of 11.8 suicides per 100,000 in 2017, with males more than three times more likely than females to commit suicide.
• The rise in the suicide rate is attributed to increased use of social media, anxiety and depression, though the report suggests more research is needed.
Though student suicides rarely happen at school, teen suicides are often related to events occurring there or with schoolmates. According to an article published in Psychology Today, student suicide rates increase during the school year.
How to help youth currently in suicide distress
A report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicated a 30 percent increase in suicides in the U.S. between the years 2000 and 2016. While there are rising rates in all age groups, youth, between the ages of 15 and 24, are of particular concern; and the causes are likely complex. Increases in social media use, anxiety, depression, as well as the opioid epidemic are all potential and interweaving contributors. While researchers work to better identify which risk factors are contributing most to the uptick, we need to help the youth currently in suicide distress.
Suicide prevention is a national public health priority. Though there are evidence-based interventions for reducing suicidal ideation and preventing attempts, most people who have thoughts of suicide are not engaged in mental health services.
US suicide rate at its highest since the end of the second world war
The rate of suicide in the US is rising, and has reached its highest point since the end of the second world war. According to a report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US suicide rate increased by 33 per cent between 1999 and 2017. This is calculated using age-adjusted rates that take into account age distributions across states and years.
In 1999, there were 10.5 suicides per 100,000 people, while in 2017 there were 14 per 100,000.
The CDC’s statistics show that, in recent years, there has been a marked increase in suicide among US people aged 15 to 24 and those aged 25 to 34, although the highest rates remain among those who are middle-aged. The report finds that for men and women aged 45-64, the suicide rate was highest among people who are white.
Suicide Rates Among Young Americans Have Hit Their Highest Levels in Almost 20 Years
Suicide rates among young people in the U.S. have hit their highest levels in almost two decades, a study has revealed.
In 2017, a total of 6,241 people aged between 15 to 24 ended their lives, according to a study published in the journal JAMA. Of those, 5,016 were male and 1,225 were female.
That year, the suicide rate for teenagers aged between 15 to 19 was 11.8 percent 100,000, versus 8 per 100,000 in 2000.
Figures on those aged between 20 to 24 showed rates had gone up from 12.5 per 100,000 in 2000 to 17 per 100,000 in 2017.
The figures came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent Underlying Cause of Death database, which comes from information on death certificates and estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Suicides soar among teenagers, Harvard study says
Growing numbers of young Americans are taking their own lives, with particularly steep increases in the past few years, according to an analysis published Tuesday that provides a detailed portrait of a troubling phenomenon.
The study by Harvard Medical School researchers shows that from 2000 to 2017, the suicide rate rose by 47 percent among teens age 15 to 19 and 36 percent among those 20 to 24. That’s well above the 30 percent increase seen across all age groups.
Although the trend of soaring youth suicides is well known, the report provides the first breakdown of this group by age and sex over several years. And it reveals a recent, abrupt spike.
“People may assume the suicide increase is this very constant thing that just gradually goes up,” said Oren Miron, a research associate in biomedical informatics at Harvard Medical School and lead author of the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Former Representative Patrick Kennedy and Robert Gebbia on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
Former Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Robert Gebbia, CEO of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, talked about mental health awareness and suicide prevention.
Lady Gaga Announces Expansion of Teen Mental Health Program
Singer announced the Born This Way Foundation’s latest endeavor onstage in Las Vegas.
On Wednesday, Lady Gaga announced that her Born This Way Foundation and the National Council for Behavioral Health will expand the peer-to-peer mental health program, teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA), to 20 additional high schools across the U.S. starting in the fall.
At one of her Las Vegas residency shows, Gaga brought 16 students from eight schools onstage who had just completed their first tMHFA pilot.
“With teen Mental Health First Aid, we like to say, it’s okay to not be okay,” Gaga said onstage. “Sometimes when life gives you a million reasons to not want to stay, you need just one person that looks at you, listens to you, helps you get help and validates how you feel. Together, Born This Way and the National Council have put this program in eight schools and soon it will be in 20 more. I know for certain that I’m not stopping here. I want the teen Mental Health First Aid program in every school in this country.”
U.S. death rates from suicides, alcohol and drug overdoses reach all-time high
West Virginia and Ohio far outpace other states in drug overdose death rates.
Rates of deaths from suicides, drug overdoses and alcohol have reached an all-time high in the United States, but some states have been hit far harder than others, according to a report released Wednesday by the Commonwealth Fund.
The report examined data in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., taking an in-depth look at 47 factors that have an impact on health outcomes, including insurance coverage, access to doctors, obesity, smoking, even tooth loss, and ultimately assigning each state a score. The data are from 2017.
Although the rates of the so-called deaths of despair are up nationally, the report’s investigators were particularly struck by regional differences in the rates.
LGBTQ+ Youth Prefer to Seek Mental Health Help Digitally
The kids are not all right. Almost 40 percent of young people between the ages of 13 and 24 who identify as LGBTQ+ have seriously considered suicide in the last year. That number is even higher for transgender and gender-nonbinary youth, 54 percent of whom have seriously considered suicide in that same time frame, and 29 percent of whom have attempted it. That’s according to a new groundbreaking report from the LGBTQ+ advocacy nonprofit the Trevor Project, which polled more than 34,000 young people in 2018 to compile the largest ever survey on LGBTQ+ youth mental health in America.
The thousands of young people involved tell a familiar yet urgent story: LGBTQ+ youth are particularly vulnerable to mental health crises and suicide, and society hasn’t found enough ways to assist them. Even as acceptance for queer people is seemingly on the rise, social conditions are leading to dire mental health outcomes.
More Millennials Are Dying ‘Deaths of Despair,’ as Overdose and Suicide Rates Climb
There’s been a marked uptick in so-called deaths of despair—those involving drugs, alcohol or suicide—among millennials over the last decade, according to a new report released by public-health groups Trust for America’s Health and Well Being Trust.
Drug, alcohol and suicide deaths have risen in nearly every age group over the last decade, but the increase has been especially pronounced for younger Americans. Between 2007 and 2017, drug-related deaths increased by 108% among adults ages 18 to 34, while alcohol-related deaths increased by 69% and suicides increased by 35%, according to the report, which drew on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. All together, about 36,000 millennials died “deaths of despair” in 2017, with fatal drug overdoses being the biggest driver.
The Second National Rally to Prevent Suicide on the Steps of the U.S. Capitol
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and it is preventable.
With 129 Americans dying by suicide every day, and the suicide cost to America estimated to be $93.5 billion each year (Shepard et al, SLTB, 2016), the National Council for Suicide Prevention (NCSP) along with several leading national health and veterans organizations plan to stand with an estimated 1,000 citizens and youth calling for Congress and the President to make suicide prevention a public health priority.
Members of Congress, mental health and suicide prevention experts, veterans, survivors and those with lived experience will be speaking at the Rally emceed by The Food Network’s Melissa d’Arabian.
“It’s not acceptable that we are losing over 47,000 lives a year to suicide in this country,” said Dr. Dan Reidenberg, Managing Director, NCSP.
Family demands ride-share changes after girl’s downtown Orlando suicide: ‘Uber took my daughter past the point of no return’
Ronald Diamond reached up and clutched the pink stone hanging on a black cord around his neck as his daughter’s mother spoke at a press conference Thursday afternoon.
Inside the stone, and a blue one the girl’s mother wore, were the ashes of their 12-year-old daughter, Benita “BB” Diamond.
“That’s all I have left of her, unfortunately,” Lisha Chen said through tears.
In January, while her mother was asleep, 12-year-old Benita “BB” Diamond downloaded the Uber app and requested a trip to downtown Orlando, where she climbed to the top floor of the City Commons Parking Garage and jumped to her death, according to her family.
Benita’s family hired attorney Laura Douglas of NeJame Law to represent them. At Thursday’s press conference in Lake Nona, they demanded changes to the way the Uber and other ride-share companies enforce the usage of their services by minors. They have not filed a lawsuit but would not rule out doing so in the future.
Seattle high school’s suicide prevention team helps save lives
Teens at a Roosevelt High School in Seattle are trying to erase the stigma surrounding mental illness.
Alongside sports, band, chess club, and debate, teens at a Seattle high school are carving out time to erase some of the stigma surrounding mental illness. The Roosevelt High School Suicide Prevention Team keeps growing, and they say their work is saving lives.
Before the bell rings, a few dozen students gather to talk about highs and lows. “My low is that I procrastinated all night and I was up till 2,” one student told the group. “My low is that I really didn’t realize that senior finals are next week,” said another.
Everyone at the table grapples with something.
“Today is seven years since my friend died from suicide,” said Amanda Schwartz, the school nurse. “And my high is that I get to spend it with you guys and planning the cool things that we’re doing.”
‘Take Me Seriously!’: How Atlanta Teens Feel When Their Mental Health Is Deflected
Even though the number of students with mental illness is on the rise — the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports “approximately 1 in 5 youths aged 13-18 (21.4 percent) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life” — many teens could give you a story of times they’ve encountered advice that minimizes or ignores their reality.
Phrases such as “walk it off” and even “just drink water” are a few examples of what has been used to deflect problems and have caused unnecessary obstacles for teens’ mental health care.
In fact, NAMI has even found, “Just over half (50.6 percent) of children with a mental health condition aged 8-15 received mental health services in the previous year.”
The number — one-half — is scarily low for the number of children who receive treatment, especially considering that suicide is the third-leading cause of death among youths ages 10-24.
Young Girls’ Suicide Rate Shows Unprecedented Growth
Although historically more boys than girls die by suicide, the gender gap in youth suicide is shrinking, according to a new study in JAMA Network Open.
“Overall, we found a disproportionate increase in female youth suicide rates compared to males, resulting in a narrowing of the gap between male and female suicide rates,” said study lead author Donna Ruch, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher in the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio.
Dr. Ruch and colleagues investigated youth suicide trends in the United States between 1975 and 2016. The study included 85,051 suicide deaths of youth age 10 through 19.
Campus Public Safety Officers’ Vital Role in Student Suicide Prevention
Here’s how school and university public safety officers can identify when a student is considering suicide and the question they can ask that can save lives.
In some cases, public safety officers, security officers and SROs — both on K-12 campuses and college campuses — probably have a better opportunity than faculty and administrators to detect students who may be at risk of suicide.
Very often officers get to know students over a longer period of time than a teacher or a professor. This means they have a better opportunity to look for warning signs and risk factors in those students, whether it be that they notice a student looks like they’re not sleeping well or other signs of stress. It could be that their clothing is more disheveled than usual, or they just seem to be stressed out and exhausted.
A public safety officer, SRO or security officer can ask a student, “Is something going on?” and specifically ask the question, “Are you thinking of dying by suicide?” Oftentimes people are hesitant to actually come out and ask the question because some people still believe the myth that if you ask about suicide, you are planting something in someone’s mind. We know that that just isn’t true.
More NJ preteens attempting suicide with pills in the cabinet
It’s a disturbing public health trend that keeps getting worse.
A growing number of preteens in the Garden State, ages 9 to 12 are attempting to take their lives by swallowing large amounts of whatever medication they can get their hands on.
New Jersey Poison Control Center data shows there have been 31 confirmed suicide attempts through the abuse of medication by preteens so far this year, while there were 70 confirmed cases in 2018.
Before that, 55 preteens in Jersey attempted to take their own lives using poison in 2017, and there were 44 confirmed cases in 2016.
New Jersey law does not require hospitals and healthcare facilities to report drug overdoses to the Poison Control Center, so these totals are likely on the low side.
As teen suicide rates rise, brain imaging is starting to answer questions of why
In the note Aaron Williams wrote before dousing himself with gasoline, he explained that he’d wanted to become a doctor when he grew up. To help people.
Instead, the 16-year-old printed in stiff black letters, “I cant even help myself.”
He hoped that his high school’s faculty would realize kids like him “have feelings like I do right now.” Aaron himself couldn’t understand what he was feeling, or how he’d come to this moment.
He pulled onto the busy campus of his school, Academic Magnet High in North Charleston, and parked. Then, he lit himself on fire.
His autopsy report arrived at his Mount Pleasant home in an envelope. His father, Trace, read it right away. His mother could not bear to until months later.
Yet, it contained answers to why such a sweet and docile boy would end his life in this fashion.
Aaron Williams died by suicide in 2010. Later, his autopsy showed multiple lesions on his amygdala, an area of the brain involved with processing emotions.
Aaron had multiple lesions in his amygdala, structures in the brain’s limbic system that play critical roles in processing emotions — notably anxiety and fear.
100 New Jersey preteens have attempted suicide by poisoning since 2018
One hundred New Jersey children under age 13 have attempted suicide by intentional drug overdose since January 2018, the state’s poison control center reported this week.
The majority of cases involved 12-year-olds, but some children trying to take their lives were as young as 9.
“Suicide in young preteens is becoming more and more common, signaling a real public health threat for our state,” said Diane Calello, executive and medical director of the New Jersey Poison Control Center.
Ten years ago, the number of preteens attempting suicide by poisoning in New Jersey was in the 20s. Last year, that number climbed to 70. The center is on pace to see a further increase this year, Calello said.
And those numbers likely undercount the problem, she added, since New Jersey law doesn’t require hospitals and other health-care facilities to report drug overdoses to the poison center.
A teen with autism attempted suicide after bullies told her to ‘die.’ Her family is suing the school.
“You should die.”
“Dig a hole and bury yourself.”
Die of cancer, die in a fiery crash. Her mother was a fool to love her.
A 14-year-old Franklin, Ind., girl with special needs was barraged with these insults by her fellow students, leading her to attempt suicide twice. And the school district did nothing to remedy the problem, according to a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana this month.
The plaintiffs, known as R.N. and her mother and stepfather, both named as R.T. in court documents, are suing the Franklin Community School Corp. in an attempt to hold them accountable and push for changes within the system.
Pediatricians don’t always get adequate suicide-prevention training
Although experts supervising new pediatricians and teaching trainee doctors agree that preventing child and teen suicide is important, most also say current training isn’t adequate, according to a new U.S. study.
The training isn’t always mandatory, for instance, and it isn’t standardized, the study authors write in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
“Pediatric providers play a crucial role in detecting suicide risk and appropriately referring those in need,” said senior study author Rebecca Bernert, director of the Suicide Prevention Research Laboratory at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth, who attempt suicide at disproportional rates compared to other age groups, Bernert added. The Joint Commission and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend consistent screening, but little is known about the quality of training.
Instagram Co-Launches Mental Health Awareness Campaign
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Instagram have partnered up to start #RealConvos about mental health. A new public awareness campaign is working to shed light on the conversation about mental health.
According to the Washington Post, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Instagram have teamed up for the campaign in hopes that it will lead to more conversation around the topic.
The idea is that Instagram users will tag content with #RealConvo when a post discusses mental health.
Another study finds teen suicide rates rose just after 13 Reasons Why debut: Deaths increased more than expected between April and June 2017
After the release of the controversial Netflix show 13 Reasons Why, scientists found a 13.3 percent increase in teenagers’ deaths from suicide. This is the second study released this month that found a rise in youth suicides around the time the show premiered. Mental health researchers are, as a result, more concerned than ever about how suicide is portrayed in the media — because suicide can be “contagious.”
About 94 more kids ages 10 to 19 died than expected during the period of this study, which was published this week in JAMA Psychiatry. Because there’s no way to tell whether the people who died by suicide during this time actually watched the show, the study “does not provide definitive proof” that 13 Reasons Why, which focuses on a teenage girl’s death by suicide, “is associated with harmful outcomes,” the authors note in the paper. They did, however, find the increase in death “concerning.”
Mother uses daughter’s death to warn parents of suicide assistance websites
A grieving York County mother is using her heartache to warn other parents of the dangers that lurk on the internet. Jacqueline Bieber’s daughter took her own life last week and says she found a disturbing website on her daughter’s phone.
“I want parents to know and talk with their kids,” said Bieber. “I don’t want anyone to pull this up like my daughter did and think this is the only way.”
As she clenched a birthday gift from her daughter, Bieber is warning parents of websites and forums telling people different ways they can die by suicide.
“I never ever knew that there was anything so accessible to anybody like this,” said Bieber.
Bieber found her daughter, Shawn Shatto, laying on her bedroom floor. She was cold to the touch. Bieber tried to perform CPR but knew it was too late. At first, she didn’t think Shatto took her own life but later that day her phone revealed disturbing posts from a website.
“They were cheering her on to the finish line of a suicide,” said Elizabeth Hoffman, Shatto’s aunt.
What to Do If You See Someone Posting Thoughts of Suicide Online
When one social media group manager read posts from a member who was thinking about taking their own life, she turned to experts for advice. Here’s what they told her.
“I feel depressed, alone, hopeless, and suicidal. I honestly don’t know what to do.”
Those words stared back at me from my screen, speaking to a crisis I didn’t know how to handle. They were written by one of the 2,000 members of a closed social media group I manage — someone I didn’t know personally, and wasn’t sure how to help.
The message hit me hard.
I lost a friend to suicide in 2016. He was one of 45,000 lives lost to suicide that same year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
I’d been talking to him the night it happened, texting less than an hour before he was gone. And I’d been clueless. Completely oblivious to how much pain he was in. Three years later, thinking about his death still makes me feel like I’m drowning.
So, seeing that post on a page I was responsible for, seeing the mention of that word that still makes me feel so helpless, sent me into a panic.
I wasn’t sure how to respond, though I did my best. Yet, I ultimately felt I didn’t do as good of a job as I could have.
Suicide-prevention bills try to shield youth from trauma
‘Our schools have become the de facto social service providers of our communities, yet we hadn’t really been funding them that way.’
Legislation intended to prevent youth suicides is set to become law.
Adi’s Act — Senate Bill 52 — requires school districts to plan how to address and prevent suicides among students. The legislation is backed by the family of Adi Staub, a transgender student at Grant High School in Portland who died by suicide in 2017.
“I think that it’s just one part of a much larger societal need, which is to make sure that every kid, no matter how they identify or who they love, sees hope for the future,” Lon Staub, Adi’s father, told Oregon Capital Bureau.
Human Writes: Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people today
Imagine if someone asks you, in all seriousness, “Should I choose death or life?” I’m sure you’d answer: “Choose life!” Who the heck would be moronic enough to answer death? Unfortunately, some people did. When a 16-year-old girl in Kuching who was contemplating suicide put up an Instagram poll asking that question last week, almost 70% of respondents voted for death. And, apparently, that triggered her choice to kill herself.
The story hit headlines all over the world – once again, we’re in the news for the wrong reasons! In London, the incident was raised in the British Parliament to Instagram chiefs, there for an inquiry on addictive technologies.
There was talk of charging those who voted for her death with abetting suicide.
At 10, I wrote a suicide note. Today, I have an urgent message for that troubled little girl — and others like her.
At 10, I sat down in my teddy bear chair that was getting a little too small for me, and I wondered what I had done to make my daddy hate me. I thought he must hate me because he threatened my life. Just the night before, I’d heard him say he might turn on the gas to our house, and he said it would be better if we all were to die. But I didn’t want to die! Not then, anyway.
The rest of fourth grade did not get better. After months of begging my daddy to live, I finally lost the battle I waged to save his life. My daddy shot himself to death on traditional Memorial Day in 1989. It was the beginning of my 10th summer and the abrupt end to my childhood.
Talking to teens about suicide
It is a devastating thing to hear about a teenager completing suicide, even more so for the family and friends involved. This type of tragedy can have an impact on an entire community.
Teens who hear about or know someone close to their age who has completed suicide may struggle processing these types of painful events. Having a parent who can respond to the child with information and support can make a big difference for the teen.
Suicide among teens is a growing concern. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for teens in the U.S. and the second leading cause of death for teens in Idaho. The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide reports 17.7 percent of high school students nationally admit to thinking about suicide and 9 percent report attempting suicide.
‘Don’t give up’: Dad posts suicide prevention signs around daughters’ elementary school
When Colby Wallace thinks about the suicide statistics, especially those focused around young people, he can’t help but get upset. That’s why he’s trying to do something about it.
“Be the change you want to see,” Wallace told CNN affiliate KCPQ.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death in the state of Washington for people 10 to 24 years old, according to the Washington State Department of Health. It’s the third leading cause of death nationally.
A new study shows suicide rates in girls are rising, especially for people 10 to 14 years old.
Opioid Users’ Kids May Be At Higher Suicide Risk
Children of parents who use opioids have more than double the risk of attempted suicide, a new study finds.
Researchers noted that along with a dramatic rise in suicides among young people in the United States in the past 15 years, opioid use among adults has spiked. This study suggests a possible link between the two.
“We theorized such a link was plausible because parental substance abuse is a known risk factor for suicide attempts by their children,” said senior author Robert Gibbons. He directs the Center for Health Statistics at the University of Chicago.
“In addition, depression and suicide attempts by parents–which are known to be related to suicidal behavior in their offspring–are more common among adults who abuse opioids,” Gibbons explained in a university news release.
See Billie Eilish Advocate for Mental Health in New ‘Seize the Awkward’ PSA
“It doesn’t make you weak to ask for help,” singer says.
Billie Eilish discusses her mental health journey and the importance of reaching out to others for help and offering help as well in a new PSA video for ‘Seize the Awkward‘ in partnership with the Ad Council. The campaign encourages people to check in with their friends who might be struggling and open a line of communication.
Teen suicide and mental health: America’s deadly, costly problems that have no end in sight
The nation’s medical system falls far short of meeting the demand for teen mental health services because cases of suicide and psychiatric disorders are skyrocketing, underscoring a public health crisis that is already costing Americans billions to combat.
Research from federal regulators and medical groups shows the suicide rate for young people ages 10 to 19 rose by 56% from 2007 to 2016, the latest year for which figures are available. Only 40% of young people with major depression got treatment, according to the National Institute for Mental Health.
Severe depression is a common precursor to suicide, which kills thousands of children and teenagers a year in the USA. Suicides and suicide attempts cost the nation about $70 billion a year in lifetime costs for medical care and lost work hours.
Suicide Rate For Girls Has Been Rising Faster Than For Boys, Study Finds
The number of people dying by suicide in the U.S. has been rising, and a new study shows that the suicide rate among girls ages 10 to 14 has been increasing faster than it has for boys of the same age.
Boys are still more likely to take their own lives. But the study published Friday in JAMA Network Open finds that girls are steadily narrowing that gap.
Researchers examined more than 85,000 youth suicides that occurred between 1975 and 2016. Donna Ruch, a researcher at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, who worked on the study, tells NPR that a major shift occurred after 2007.
Researchers found the increase was highest for girls ages 10 to 14, rising by nearly 13% since 2007. While for boys of the same age, it rose by 7%.
“That’s where we saw the most significant narrowing of the gender gap,” Ruch says.
New documentary puts a youthful face on suicide and mental health; aim is to combat stigma
A new documentary that gives voice to and puts a face on the child and teen mental health crisis goes live online Thursday at 7:30 CT when it airs on Milwaukee’s PBS station.
“You’re Not Alone,” which follows four young people from Wisconsin as they navigate mental health challenges, is a collaboration between USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin and Milwaukee PBS. The young people are fully identified and interviewed in the documentary.
The young people featured have experienced problems including suicidal thinking, post-traumatic stress disorder, bullying and childhood sexual abuse. They first told their stories at one of the more than 30 town halls and community events the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has held on the topic of youth mental health as part of its Kid in Crisis series.
Jim Fitzhenry, vice president of news for USA TODAY Network/Central Wisconsin, says the journalists “went through the pros and cons of doing this and sharing this” with the young people identified.
“People have been really brave and it’s been cathartic for them to do it,” says Fitzhenry. “It’s extremely powerful and it’s healing for people.”
Social media, self-harm and suicide. How can parents help kids help a friend?
“Mom, I need to show you something,” my daughter said to me, holding out her phone.
The post she showed me — which originated with a student that she knew “a little” then flew among friends and across the ether of the Internet — was about self-harm.
Suicide and self-harm are on the rise, especially among tweens and younger teens. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 10- to 24-year-olds, and since 2009, the number of 10- to 14-year-old girls receiving emergency care for self-inflicted injuries has climbed 18.8 percent per year. Meanwhile, smartphone and social media use among teens has exploded, and kids are using technology to share thoughts of self-harm and suicide. Tweens and young teens are reading social media posts and receiving texts from friends who may be struggling, and they don’t know how to help.
A teen in Malaysia reportedly killed herself after posting a poll that asked her Instagram followers to help her choose life or death
A 16-year-old girl in Malaysia died by suicide after sharing an Instagram poll asking her followers to help her choose life or death, The Guardian reported on Wednesday, citing local authorities.
According to The Guardian and Malay Mail, the police said that the teen posted the poll at about 3 p.m. on Monday with the message “Really Important, Help Me Choose D/L” and that 69% of the respondents voted for “D,” meaning death. About five hours later, she was found dead, Malay Mail reported.
Local officials have questioned whether the people who voted in the poll could be culpable in her death. Abetting the suicide of a minor is a crime in Malaysia, and those found guilty can face the death penalty or up to 20 years in prison, Reuters reported.
The global suicide rate is growing – what can we do?
We are living in a time of urgency: suicide is a global, leading cause of death with a staggering loss of 800,000 lives each year.
Suicide cuts across high- and low-income countries, with lower and middle-income countries bearing the largest burden (80% of all suicides) but with it continuing to be a serious problem in high-income countries as well.
In recent years, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations have adopted actions plans focused on mental health and suicide prevention, and have set goals to reduce the rate of suicide by varying degrees: 10% by 2020 in the case of WHO, and 33% by 2030 in the case of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Presently, 40 countries have enacted national strategies to prevent suicide, several of which are proving effective, with reductions in suicide rates in many countries such as China, Denmark, England, Switzerland, the Philippines and South Korea. Though the absolute number of suicides globally continues to increase, a recent study accounting for population growth, found the global rate of suicide has dropped by 32.7% over the past 27 years.
Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Officer, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Patrick J. Kennedy, Founder, The Kennedy Forum
Borough of Chatham Resolution honors Bob and Valerie Opp
Bob and Valerie Olpp were proud to accept this Resolution from the Borough of Chatham at the Council Meeting held May 13, 2019 recognizing May 2019 as Mental Health Awareness Month.
We continue our commitment to raise awareness regarding mental health conditions, remove the stigmas associated with suicide, raise valuable funds for important research, and education the community that mental health is just as important as physical health.
City life damages mental health in ways we’re just starting to understand.
Urban dwellers are particularly at risk from the impacts of air pollution and other hazards on mental health. Cities are vibrant, stimulating places, but their residents live with mental illnesses at higher rates than the general population.
We’ve long known that the environments we live and work in impact our physical health—and that we can be harmed by things we may not even realize we’re being exposed to, like lead or air pollution.
It’s also not a new idea that our physical surroundings may weigh on our mental health as well. Back in the 1930s, two sociologists noticed a striking pattern amongst the people being admitted to Chicago’s asylums. Rates of schizophrenia, they reported, were unusually high in those born to inner-city neighborhoods.
Since then, researchers have discovered that mental illnesses of all kinds are more common in densely populated cities than in greener and more rural areas. In fact, the Centre for Urban Design and Mental Health estimates that city dwellers face a nearly 40 percent higher risk of depression, 20 percent higher chance of anxiety, and double the risk of schizophrenia than people living in rural areas.
Google, Trevor Project will use AI to combat LGBTQ youth suicide
The Trevor Project won a $1.5 million Google AI Impact grant, which will allow the nonprofit to use artificial intelligence in its suicide prevention services.
Google and New York-based nonprofit The Trevor Project are joining forces to use artificial intelligence in order to help LGBTQ youth in crisis.
The technology giant awarded The Trevor Project with a $1.5 million Google AI Impact grant, which will let the nonprofit incorporate Google’s artificial intelligence tools into its suicide prevention services.
“The Trevor Project saves lives by supporting at-risk LGBTQ youth via phone, text, and chat,” the Google Impact website states. “Using natural language processing and sentiment analysis, counselors will be able to determine a LGBTQ youth’s suicide risk level, and better tailor services for individuals seeking help.”
The Trevor Project was one of the 20 groups selected from more than 2,600 applicants for the Google AI Impact Challenge, which was an open call for proposals to use AI to “address social issues,” according to a press release. The Trevor Project’s proposal was to create a system that could better and more quickly serve the 1.5 million LGBTQ youth who experience some sort of suicidal ideation or crisis each year.
What to Say (and Not to Say) to Someone Grieving a Suicide
Suicide can leave the survivors with anger, confusion and guilt, and even well-intentioned words can cause pain.
It can be hard to know what to say to a person in the thicket of grief; when someone is grieving a loved one’s suicide, the right words — any words, even — can feel all the more elusive and fraught. Suicide can leave survivors racked with anger, confusion and guilt, and in this state, sometimes even well-intentioned words can hurt.
I reached out to Debbie Posnien, executive director of the Suicide Prevention Network based in Minden, Nev., for advice. “Don’t say ‘I understand what you’re going through.’ Unless you truly do,” she said.
This resonated deeply. A few days after my mother took her life in 2009, my husband shuttled me and our newborn to our first postpartum/postnatal checkup. I was still reeling from the news of my mom’s suicide; she had died when the baby was 1 week old. I wasn’t sleeping; I could barely speak; it was hard to convince myself to leave the house for the checkup — every nerve in my body was on edge, braced for the next disaster.
Instagram And American Foundation For Suicide Prevention Partner On #RealConvo Mental Health Campaign
This month is Mental Health Awareness Month and Instagram has partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) on a public awareness campaign called #RealConvo. The campaign is aiming to inspire people to share their personal mental health experiences and help people find support communities online and offline. On May 9, AFSP and Instagram are also partnering with SELF and Teen Vogue for a live panel that will take place at Instagram’s New York City office.
When the campaign kicked off earlier this week the @AFSPnationalInstagram channel posted a dedicated “grid takeover” on its account — which featured video stories of 9 people using their voices to help empower others to be themselves on social media and speak candidly about their mental health. Each of those individuals took a stand against the concept that social media is only for posting the perfect highlights. The campaign encourages users to share the ups and downs in life.
How nurses can play an important role in preventing youth suicides
Suicide is now the second leading cause of death among Americans age 10 to 34. Nationwide, emergency department visits for suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts doubled among youth between 2007 and 2015, according to JAMA Network. The median age of these patients – 13 – was younger than might be expected.
Nurses are in a unique position to help, according to Nurse.com. Because they’re so directly involved in patient care, they can pick up on cues that can be reported and acted upon by nurses and other members of the healthcare team.
“Somebody dies from suicide every 40 seconds. It’s a community problem,” said Dr. Laura Shannonhouse, assistant professor in the department of counseling and psychological services at Georgia State University. Nurses can help prevent suicides through intervention training, she added. Shannonhouse recommended ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), which is used by many healthcare providers. It enables nurses and others to build a safety framework for people who are thinking about or planning suicide. ASIST provides a clear model and is a tool that can be used to promote hope.
Why it’s so hard to prove that 13 Reasons Why caused an increase in suicide
A new study links 13 Reasons Why to a major spike in the youth suicide rate. Experts say that link is complicated, though.
13 Reasons Why, Netflix’s controversial show about teen suicide, has been hit with a new wave of bad press.
Since before the show premiered, experts have warned that its premise, which revolves around the suicide of a 16-year-old girl and depicts it in graphic detail, could lead to an increase in teen suicide attempts. Now a new study suggests that the theoretical increase may have come to pass. The study’s authors say they have found an association between the release of 13 Reasons Why and a nearly 30 percent jump in suicide rates among US youths.
On social media, people have been quick to herald the study as proof that 13 Reasons Why is just as dangerous as experts have feared. But it’s a little more complicated than it seems.
The study, which lists Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Jeff Bridge as its lead author, was conducted by multiple institutions, including the National Institute of Mental Health, and published April 29 in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. And while the association it finds is fairly damning, it does not definitively establish a causal link between 13 Reasons Why and the rise in suicide rates.
So when I talked to academics about the study, all of them said that they continue to be wary of shows like 13 Reasons Why — but they also said the study is nowhere near proof that 13 Reasons Why is actually responsible for the death of teenagers. And in part that’s because, regardless of whether such a relationship might exist, it’s nearly impossible to prove.
Suicide attempts by self-poisoning more than double in teens and young adults
The number of adolescents and young adults attempting suicide by self-poisoning such as intentional drug overdoses has more than doubled in the last decade — an increase largely driven by young women, a new study found.
The research, published this week in the Journal of Pediatrics, adds to an array of troubling statistics about escalating suicidal behavior among youth.
Researchers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the Central Ohio Poison Center gathered data from poison control centers around the country that offer medical advice 24 hours a day through the Poison Help Line. They focused on cases of self-poisoning in children and young adults ages 10 to 24 between 2000 and 2018. They did not include accidental overdoses from recreational drug use, instead focusing specifically on suspected suicide attempts.
They found the rate of suicide attempts by self-poisoning rose 141 percent between 2010 and 2018. Previous studies have shown the number of teens going to the emergency room with suicidal thoughts jumped during that time too.
The #RealConvo Campaign Wants to Make Instagram a More Honest Place
When it comes to mental health, social media can be a complicated thing. Some studies have shown that social media can have a negative influence on mental health, creating envy, increasing anxiety, and fostering poor body image. This may be at least in part because we’re seeing highly curated moments of other peoples lives that make our own lives seem just not up to par. Whether it’s comparing our bodies to others online, or seeing the seemingly amazing experiences others are having, the cherry-picked moments posted to social media can make it seem like everyone else’s lives are perfect, while ours are just average.
But this Mental Health Awareness Month, Instagram is partnering with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to imagine an online world in which we were all just a little more honest about what’s happening behind the scenes. With their campaign #RealConvo, these organizations are encouraging people to be more open and honest about everything on social media, particularly their mental health.
“Social media mimics real life. We should be having more authentic conversations about mental health in real life and on social media because real connection is one of the things that protects people from suicide risk,” Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, told Teen Vogue.
In Month After ‘13 Reasons Why’ Debut on Netflix, Study Finds Teen Suicide Grew
The TV series is linked to a troubling jump in suicide rates among boys the month after its premiere.
Ever since its premiere, on March 31, 2017, the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” about a teenage girl’s suicide, has alarmed many health experts, who believe it glamorizes the topic for some young people. The show also has impressed critics, along with viewers young and old, who see it as an honest portrayal of adolescent distress.
Now, a new study finds that suicide rates spiked in the month after the release of the series among boys aged 10 to 17. That month, April 2017, had the highest overall suicide rate for this age group in the past five years, the study found; the rate subsequently dropped back into line with recent trends, but remained elevated for the year.
Suicide rates for girls aged 10 to 17 — the demographic expected to identify most strongly with the show’s protagonist — did not increase significantly.
The study, posted Monday by the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, is likely to fuel further debate about the merits of “13 Reasons Why,” the third season of which is in production.
The Empty Promise of Suicide Prevention
Many of the problems that lead people to kill themselves cannot be fixed with a little extra serotonin.
If suicide is preventable, why are so many people dying from it? Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and suicide rates just keep rising.
A few years ago, I treated a patient, a flight attendant, whose brother had brought her in to the psychiatric crisis unit after noticing her unusual behavior at a wedding. After the ceremony, she quietly handed out gifts and heartfelt letters to her family members. When her brother took her home, he noticed many of her furnishings and paintings were missing. In her bathroom he found three unopened bottles of prescription sleep medication.
He confronted her, and she admitted that she had donated her possessions to charity. She had also cashed out her retirement account and used the money to pay off her mortgage, her car loan and all of her bills.
When I interviewed her, she said that for the last four months, doing anything — eating, cleaning her house, talking to her neighbors — had taken colossal effort, and brought her no joy. She felt exhausted by having to live through each day, and the thought of sustaining this for years to come was an intolerable torment.
After evaluating her, I told her that I thought she was experiencing an episode of bipolar depression, and needed to be committed to the hospital while we started treatment. She shrugged and gave me her most troubling response yet: “I don’t care.”
Breaking the silence of suicide
Aaron was 28 when he died by suicide in May 2017, leaving behind two kids, Cora, 10, and Gabe, 6.
“I wish I knew how to describe how I feel,” he wrote in his final Facebook post. “These past few weeks and days have left me feeling pretty (screwed) up mentally, emotionally and physically. I’m losing faith, but at the same time I’m not, because I believe thru my actions, along with my prayers, that God will provide. But I just wish things would get better, back on track, or at least be able to see some sort of light at the end of the tunnel…”
No one but Aaron knows what exactly transpired that night. A few things are known: His fiancé had just given her ring back. His room reeked of alcohol. He paused a game he was playing on his Xbox. He sent a text to his fiancé saying, “tell my kids I love them and that I’m sorry.”
By the time she got the message, it was too late.
She and her kids are not alone. Between 7,000 and 12,000 children lose a parent to suicide each year in the United States.
Larger Schools May Be Driving Teen Suicide Rates Higher
Recent headlines have been screaming out a familiar story: teen suicide rates are increasing.
Suicide was the second leading cause of death for teens in 2016, and the teen suicide rate jumped 70 percent over the previous ten years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There are many reasons one could find for the nation’s increased teen suicide rate. These include the decline of religion and community, the increasing number of broken homes and the lack of family support, and the harsh and divisive community substitute that many teens turn to through social media.
But there’s another possibility many of us overlook: school size.
Reach Out: Ways To Help A Loved One At Risk Of Suicide
If you know someone struggling with despair, depression or thoughts of suicide, you may be wondering how to help.
Most Americans say that they understand that suicide is preventable and that they would act to help someone they know who is at risk, according to a national survey conducted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention in 2018.
Yet many of us are afraid to do the wrong thing. In fact, you don’t have to be a trained professional to help, says Doreen Marshall, a psychologist and vice president of programs at the AFSP.
“Everyone has a role to play in suicide prevention,” she says. But “most people hold back. We often say, ‘Trust your gut. If you’re worried about someone, take that step.’ “
Mom’s ‘desperate pleas’ ignored before fourth grader attempted suicide
Two months after her 11-year-old son tried to hang himself with a bed sheet, a South Side mother has filed a federal lawsuit against the Chicago Board of Education and the elementary school administrators and teachers who she claims ignored — and sometimes joined — the chronic bullying that pushed the boy to attempt suicide.
Carter G. Woodson Elementary fourth grader Jamari Dent suffered permanent brain damage in the Feb. 18 attempt and remains hospitalized on a ventilator. It could have been prevented if officials hadn’t “ignored his mother’s desperate pleas to protect her young son,” according to the suit filed by Teirra Black on Wednesday in Chicago’s U.S. District Court.
“My son is not the same,” Black said Thursday outside La Rabida Children’s Hospital, where Jamari is expected to stay for at least another three months. “He’s like a whole, totally different child.”
Suicide Deaths Are Often ‘Contagious.’ This May Help Explain Why
In the wake of any high-profile suicide, public health experts steel themselves for the aftershock. Suicide contagion, the phenomenon by which exposure to one suicide death can trigger suicidal behavior in others, is well-documented but poorly understood.
A recent study published in the journal Society and Mental Health adds to the knowledge about why suicide contagion occurs. And it spotlights a common mistake that people may make when a community experiences suicide: normalizing these deaths.
“When there’s an unexpected death, people take notice,” says study co-author Seth Abrutyn, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of British Columbia in Canada. “They try to make sense of what’s happening.” And when they do, Abrutyn says, community members may unwittingly contribute to suicide contagion.
Family holds anti-bullying rally after White Station High student commits suicide
A tearful crowd honored gathered at White Station High School Wednesday evening to rally against bullying and honor a student who took his own life last week.
Family members didn’t want to go into detail about 15-year-old Fernando Montiel’s death, but they say they found evidence he was bullied. Now they want to help other victims speak out against the practice. They’re asking people to do something about it.
“When you see something happening intervene, interrupt,” Fernando’s father, Enrique Montiel, said. “If you really want to show us your support and that you feel our pain, speak up.”
The family is starting an anti-bullying campaign. The color of their logo, orange, is championed by The National Bullying Prevention Center as a symbol of unity.
Why Are So Many Teen Athletes Struggling With Depression?
When high-school sports replicate the training methods and intensity seen at the college level, players feel the toll.
When Isabella started playing lacrosse in the first grade, she would wake up before sunrise and count the minutes until she could hop the chain-link fence that separated her house from the field where her team practiced. Her deftness with a lacrosse stick made her an early standout, and she soon gave up basketball and soccer to focus on the sport. By the time Isabella was a high-school sophomore, she had already been recruited by an elite, Division I college and was signing autographs in her lacrosse-obsessed hometown. “Lacrosse was a way to get attention—it filled that need,” says Isabella, who is being identified by her middle name to protect her privacy.
But during the summer before her junior year, Isabella pivoted awkwardly during a game and fell to the ground in pain. She had torn her ACL. For eight months, she couldn’t return to the field. “It was my worst year ever,” Isabella told me. While her teammates competed in tournaments, she worried about falling behind in the sport. While her friends mingled after school, she was stuck at physical therapy. Without lacrosse, Isabella felt restless and out of sorts. She started eating more and soon developed an eating disorder. “I’d grown up playing lacrosse, and I had no other hobbies,” Isabella said. “So when you don’t have it, you’re like, What am I going to do?”
New study reveals ‘silence’ around suicide in young people
“The development of treatment models and interventions to support this vulnerable population must be informed by the views and experiences of suicidal children and young people. Our research will help inform the development of such models, provide vital information to those practitioners, and act as a foundation for any future research on this topic,” says Lynne Gilmour.
Mental health professionals treating children and young people with suicidal feelings should refer to ‘suicide’ explicitly to ensure they feel listened to, according to new research.
Research led by the University of Stirling identified “a silence around suicidality” within conversations between mental health practitioners and children and young people – and within academic research reporting. The team found that use of the term ‘self-harm’ to encompass suicidal behaviours was potentially contributing to this silence, by avoiding the word ‘suicide’.
The study also suggested that children and young people with suicidal feelings typically do not know where or how to access help, and do not feel listened to by health professionals.
Researchers Attempt To Predict & Prevent Suicide Using Deep Learning And Math
For years scientists have focused on the causes behind veteran suicide. Now the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and several national labs are teaming up to use deep learning and mathematics to intervene before it happens.
And like many scientific advancements birthed by military necessity, the attempt will ultimately serve all facets of the population, including older Americans.
Deep learning and the Internet itself were born from military research.
Consider that it was 1862 when U.S. Surgeon General William Hammond put out a call to medical field officers in the Union Army to send “any specimens of morbid anatomy that might be valuable to military medicine and surgery.”
Parents blame bullying for White Station student’s suicide, hope for change
The family of a White Station High School student who took his own life last week thinks their loved one was bullied, and they want to make sure he’s the last student to resort to suicide as a solution to the problem.
The family is working with the school and the district to make sure suicide as a solution stops now. They said this young life lost won’t be in vain.
“The way he left himself, the way he took his life said a lot,” the victim’s brother, Enrique Montiel Flores said.
The family of Fernando Montiel didn’t want to go too far into detail about last Wednesday’s grim discovery, but they believe he was pushed by bullies to cut his life short.
Predictors of future suicide attempt among adolescents with suicidal thoughts or non-suicidal self-harm: a population-based birth cohort study
Suicidal thoughts and non-suicidal self-harm are common in adolescents and are strongly associated with suicide attempts. We aimed to identify predictors of future suicide attempts in these high-risk groups.
Most adolescents who think about suicide or engage in non-suicidal self-harm will not make an attempt on their life. Many commonly cited risk factors were not associated with transition to suicide attempt among these high-risk groups.
Our findings suggest that asking about substance use, non-suicidal self-harm, sleep, personality traits, and exposure to self-harm could inform risk assessments, and might help clinicians to identify which adolescents are at greatest risk of attempting suicide in the future.
Short-circuiting the suicide cascade
Psychologists are seeking better ways to cut the link between dire thoughts and fatal action. Among their strategies: individualized plans for pulling back from the brink, and limiting access to deadly means, especially guns.
The suicide rate in the United States continues to spiral upward, with seemingly no end in sight. More than 45,000 Americans take their own lives each year, 33 percent more than did so in 1999, according to the most recent federal data.
It’s a national public health crisis — one that researchers and clinicians have struggled to thwart because the triggers of suicide are so poorly understood. People may wrestle with suicidal thoughts for years, but not follow through. Depression and other mental health conditions are clearly risk factors, but such diagnoses aren’t linked to roughly half of all US suicides. Some prevention efforts, such as asking a patient to sign a “contract” to not commit suicide, have proved to be largely useless.
Suicide rates double for children ages 5-11
According to a recent study, the number of children visiting the emergency room for suicidal thoughts and attempts has doubled. “That is surprising, to be honest with you,” Shawn Williams, parent, said.
The study by the National Ambulatory Medical Survey Care found that the annual emergency room visits for suicide attempts jumped from 580,000 to 1.12 million between 2007 and 2015. These visits were for children ages five to 11.
What the Tech? Teen suicide and social media
According to the CDC’s study, 43% of the visits to the hospital for suicidal thoughts were by children between the ages of 5 and 11.
The teenage suicide rate is up and shows no sign of slowing down.
The Centers for Disease Control says the number of teenagers going to the emergency room with suicidal thoughts has more than doubled in recent years. Depression and stress are likely causes.
When you see reports on teenage suicide and depression, you cannot help but wonder what role the internet plays in all that.
Access to social media is perhaps the biggest difference in the lives of middle schoolers from how their parents grew up.
Child Suicide Attempts Are Skyrocketing in The US, And Nobody Knows Why
In the United States, suicidal behaviour has quietly morphed into a public health crisis, and it’s one that’s affecting some of the youngest people in the country.
For the second decade in a row, the number of children and teenagers visiting the emergency department for suicidal behaviour has almost doubled, and the median age is just 13 years old.
“The numbers are very alarming,” paediatric emergency room physician Brett Burstein from McGill University told CNN.
“We are seeing an acceleration of this issue, and I worry that we have not yet seen the peak.”
Using data collected by the Centres for Disease Control and Infection (CDC), the authors analysed over 30,000 visits to the emergency department for children ages five to 18.
In 2007, at the very beginning of the study, the authors tallied about 580,000 visits for suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts. By 2015, that number had skyrocketed to 1.12 million.
Natalie was quirky and loved sports. On her 13th birthday she was found dead by suicide
Natalie Lyle and Ariel Chase were pretty, blond 13-year-old girls who should have been giggling over boys, groaning over homework and gearing up for high school.
Instead, the two friends from New Providence Middle School in Clarksville died by suicide in early March, leaving friends, family and the community shocked, saddened and filled with questions.
In the days since their deaths, as police conducted their investigations and the community grappled with the aftermath, the people who loved Natalie and Ariel came to grips with the unimaginable: the loss of two young lives.
Survivor of attempted suicide explains overcoming the urge to self-harm
Sadie Penn attempted suicide for the first time when she was 16 and again in early 2018, while she was a 18-year-old freshman in college in Pennsylvania. She has dealt with anxiety and depressive thoughts for as long as she can remember, and now, at age 20, is an outspoken advocate for others who may be struggling.
Penn spoke with CBSN’s Anne-Marie Green last October about ending up in the hospital, overcoming suicidal thoughts, and getting the treatment she needed.
Anne Marie: So you were going through grade school, you’re kind of managing your own anxiety, but then it gets to a point where you can’t manage it anymore?
Sadie: I think that the time that I stopped being able to manage my anxiety was when I started self-harming, and that was how I learned to manage it.
Total eclipse: Even with loving parents and caring therapists, a child whose diagnosis came too late can lose the fight
‘We also don’t have genetic markers yet for any of these illnesses; we don’t have blood tests, so a lot of the diagnosis is based on observation and interviews,’ said Jill Emanuele, a psychologist in New York and senior director of the mood disorders centre at the Child Mind Institute. ‘The other challenge in diagnosing children is that they change really fast, so the presentations of their illness can change pretty quickly.’ A child brought in to a psychologist at age six with symptoms of inattention or hyperactivity might be diagnosed with ADHD, but the same symptoms might lead to a diagnosis of depression in a 13-year-old.
Olympic Cyclist Kelly Catlin Seemed Destined for Glory. Then She Killed Herself.
Catlin was lining up for a shot at Olympic gold. And an elite mathematical mind would open opportunities off the track. But torment lurked behind the success.
In the weeks before the Olympic cyclist Kelly Catlin killed herself, she felt her mind slipping.
She could not focus on her schoolwork at Stanford, where she was a first-year graduate student in computational mathematics. In an email she sent to her family, a coach and a friend in January, she said her thoughts were “never-ending spinning, spinning, spinning” as if they were “never at rest, never at peace.”
She wrote that she cried about it, and that made her feel even worse. For years, Catlin, 23, was someone who took pride in holding back tears.
Catlin told her sister, Christine, that seeking therapy meant she was weak and that she would rather suffer. She told her brother, Colin, that she thought she was going insane and she worried that she was a danger to others because she was filled with rage.
Number of children going to ER with suicidal thoughts, attempts doubles, study finds
The number of children and teens in the United States who visited emergency rooms for suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts doubled between 2007 and 2015, according to a new analysis.
Researchers used publicly available data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, administered by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention every year. From the 300 emergency rooms sampled, the researchers tracked the number of children between 5 and 18 who received a diagnosis of suicidal ideation or suicide attempts each year.
Diagnoses of either condition increased from 580,000 in 2007 to 1.12 million in 2015, according to the study, published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics. The average age of a child at the time of evaluation was 13, and 43% of the visits were in children between 5 and 11.
‘Breaking the Silence’: Relationship between bullying and suicide is complicated
KATU News is taking part in an unprecedented effort to raise awareness and stop the stigma surrounding suicide. For one week, from April 7 to April 14, over 30 newsrooms from around the state will be reporting on suicide and its effect on the community. The project is called “Breaking the Silence.”
Elsa Nelson compares the playground at her 8-year-old son’s school in Portland to Beirut. Despite being big for his age, Nelson’s son has been bullied often.
“He would tell me how they would be on the playground playing and kids would start to hit him and chase him,” she said.
More than once, he came home beat up–a victim to seemingly endless schoolyard attacks. The problem persisted even after Nelson talked to the school. She believed administrators weren’t doing enough, so she told her son to fight back.
“When he fights back, they (the bullies) would run and laugh and call him names,” she said.
She eventually started getting phones calls from the school. Her son was in trouble for fighting, for what she calls reacting to his bullies.
The bullying got so bad and lasted so long, her 8-year-old son said he wanted to die.
Are Facebook’s Suicide Prevention Tactics Misguided?
What to think about Facebook’s foray into suicide prevention.
Alarming statistics about rising rates of suicide, including among teens and young adults, have rattled everyone in the suicide prevention field and the general public at large. Amidst this unsettling trend, it was therefore of great interest to many people when it became apparent that Facebook was trying its hand in suicide prevention.
Facebook has actually been involved in suicide prevention for a number of years, allowing people on Facebook to flag concerning posts, which would then be reviewed by trained members of the company’s Community Operations team, who could connect the person posting with support resources. In 2018, the company started using machine learning to actively scan posts for concerning messages potentially related to the desire to die by suicide. These posts would then be sent for review by a human team that would have to decide how to respond.
No matter the desperation, suicide isn’t the answer
When anyone, especially a teenager, dies by suicide, it is difficult to comprehend. We see the person, seemingly vibrant, alive, and we wonder how he or she came to see life as so hopeless. We struggle to understand the sense of helplessness.
Yet teenagers and adults take their own lives. Suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It is the second-leading cause among young people ages 12 to 24.
In 2017, 1.4 million people attempted suicide. The highest death rate is among middle-aged white men, 129 of whom die by suicide every day.
We were reminded of the terrible sorrow and suffering suicide brings when two teenagers, one 18 and the other 15, took their own lives recently at the Rockville Centre Long Island Rail Road station.
It was trying to report on these stories. We did not mention suicide in the headline. We ran the story well inside the paper, without noting that they had died by suicide. We reported the basic facts surrounding the teens’ deaths. We did not want to sensationalize the story. Doing so can lead to “suicide contagion,” a phenomenon in which someone on the edge reads about someone else who has died, and takes his or her own life in the same manner, according to www.reportingonsuicide.org.
Teen suicide prevention and LGBTQ kids
With at least 88 Arizona youths taking their own life over the last two years, including a recent wave in the East Valley, the issue of teen suicide has been in the news lately and has garnered the attention of the Legislature.
Senate Bill 1468, which has bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, would provide training in suicide prevention for school counselors, teachers, principals and other education personnel who work with students in grades 6-12.
Experts note that sometimes there are symptoms of teens who are at higher risk for potential suicide: depression, feelings of isolation, mood changes, withdrawing from personal interaction, sudden euphoria, quick temper, erratic eating habits, etc.
Also, certain occurrences in teens’ lives sometimes can act as suicidal triggers: a relationship breakup, struggles with grades, not making a team or club, bullying or feeling ostracized, poor body image, feeling misunderstood, parents’ divorce or death of a friend or family member.
10 Essential Facts About Guns and Suicide
More than two-thirds of all gun deaths are self-inflicted.
Despite the downward trend in violent death rates across the United States, 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 America. From ages 10 to 34, it is the second leading cause, claiming more lives than homicide or heart disease. In 2017, the most recent federal data shows, 47,173 people in America took their own lives. Between 1999 and 2017, the suicide rate jumped 33 percent.
Our country’s suicide problem is also a gun violence problem. Firearms are involved in about half of all suicide deaths, yet this connection is often overlooked. Gun advocates have been slow to acknowledge the extra risks posed to suicidal people who have easy access to a firearm. Some insist that gun suicides should not be counted as gun violence, even though they account for 60 percent of gun deaths.
What we know and don’t know about how mass trauma affects mental health
Researchers are trying to figure out who is most at risk of self-harm.
In March, three people connected to mass school shootings died by suicide, raising questions about the lingering effects of such trauma on a person’s mental health.
Two teenagers who survived the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., took their own lives within days of each other. The father of a child killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., died by suicide a few days later. Suicide can occur in clusters, especially among teens.
But it’s too early to tell if these deaths are connected in any way, are related to having experienced similar mass traumas — or if they simply occurred close together by chance, says April Foreman. A psychologist in Baton Rouge, La., and board member of the American Association of Suicidology, Foreman is familiar with all three suicides.
“These are really complicated events,” she says. (One thing they aren’t, some researchers say, is contagious; a person can’t catch suicide like a common cold.)
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Partners with Soul Shop™ to Train Faith Leaders
The nation’s largest suicide prevention organization, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, launched a new partnership with Soul Shop™ to train clergy, staff, lay pastors, and faith-based clinicians in suicide prevention. These training sessions will begin on April 8 in Springfield, Mass, and take place in seven cities across the United States through early June.
“We know that many people first go to their faith leader when they are struggling with the loss of a loved one by suicide or if they may be having thoughts of suicide. We also know that many of these faith leaders do not receive training on how to help their congregations when it comes to mental health and suicide prevention. Given AFSP’s nationwide reach and chapter structure, it was a natural partnership for us to work with the leaders from Soul Shop™ to bring this life-saving training to their clergy within the local communities that we work with every day,” said Dr. Doreen Marshall, the vice president of programs for AFSP.
“Lack Of Education And Preconceived Notions About Mental Health Issues And Suicide Are Present In Society And This Contributes To The Stigma That Is Unfortunately Present.”
I have been a nurse for 40-years and have always only wanted to work in Pediatrics. I worked in two different pediatric ICUs before coming to Blythedale Children’s Hospital in 1994. I remember a former patient of mine in the PICU—an eight-year-old girl who fell ten stories. She had little chance of surviving.
Miraculously she woke up and was transferred to Blythedale for intensive rehabilitation. I couldn’t believe my eyes when she walked back into the PICU with her mom. She had a limp and was blind in one eye, but had made an incredible recovery. We saved her life in the PICU, and Blythedale gave her back her life.
From that point on, I wanted to work at Blythedale. Blythedale has given me so many opportunities for growth as a nurse. I never knew how much I would need their support over the past several years, and especially since May 8th, 2018, the day my son Peter Christopher Bartlett died from Bipolar Disorder by suicide. He had struggled for years with school because he had learning disabilties and issues that were difficult to diagnose.