NEWS about Suicide

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.

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

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

Safe States • • February 2017

Suicide Rates After Discharge From Psychiatric Facilities

IMPORTANCE: High rates of suicide after psychiatric hospitalization are reported in many studies, yet the magnitude of the increases and the factors underlying them remain unclear.

OBJECTIVES: To quantify the rates of suicide after discharge from psychiatric facilities and examine what moderates those rates.

JAMA Psychiatry, June 01, 2017


Children’s Hospitals Admissions for Suicidal Thoughts or Actions Double During Past Decade – Report from the Pediatric Academic Societies.

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


The World Health Organization and the International Association for Suicide Prevention have released an updated version of their guide for media professionals, Preventing Suicide. It’s a 21 page resource for responsible reporting about suicide and includes a section on the scientific evidence of the impact media has on suicidal behavior.

Highly recommended reading for anyone who cares about this issue. If you come across insensitive or inappropriate reporting on suicide, consider sending this guide to the editors and reporters.

September, 2017

Life-Saving Post-ER Suicide Prevention Strategies are Cost Effective – Follow-up postcards less expensive, more effective than usual care: NIH study

Three interventions designed for follow up of patients who are identified with suicide risk in hospital emergency departments save lives and are cost effective relative to usual care. A study led by researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) modelled the use of the approaches in emergency departments and found that all three interventions compare favorably with a standard benchmark of cost-effectiveness used in evaluating healthcare costs.

One intervention, sending caring postcards or letters following an emergency visit, is more effective and less expensive than usual care. The report appears in the September 15 issue of the journal Psychiatric Services.

National Institute of Mental Health, September 15, 2017

How To Talk To Your College-Age Kids About Depression And Suicide

School’s back in session, and parents ushering kids to college for the first time will undoubtedly deliver some emotional nuggets of advice. But they should also have a potentially life-saving talk with their kids in the first semester of college to avert a possible tragedy — suicide.

In my experience as a child and adolescent psychiatrist, parents can be naïve about both the academic and social pressures kids face in college. While we’re confident that our children will flourish and excel, it’s also important to equip them with information on the mental health challenges some college students encounter. 

Per the American College Health Association, one-third of college-aged students report being depressed to the point of being unable to function. In his book, “College of the Overwhelmed,” Harvard psychiatrist Richard Kadison says that 1 in 10 students will seriously consider suicide.

WBUR 90.9, September 13, 2017

Suicide Attempts On the Rise in US, Finds Study – Highest risk seen in socioeconomically disadvantaged young adults with mental disorders

New data confirm that suicide attempts among U.S. adults are on the rise, with a disproportional effect on younger, socioeconomically disadvantaged adults with a history of mental disorders.  

The study, by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI), was published today in JAMA Psychiatry.

“Attempted suicide is the strongest risk factor for suicide, so it’s important that clinicians know just who faces the highest risk so that we can do a better job of preventing suicides from happening,” said Mark Olfson, MD, MPH, professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at CUMC and lead author of the study.

Columbia University Medical Center, September 13, 2017

Lawsuit Over a Suicide Points to a Risk of Antidepressants

The last dinner Wendy Dolin had with her husband, Stewart, he was so agitated that he was jiggling his leg under the table and could barely sit still. He had recently started a new antidepressant but still felt very anxious. “I don’t get it, Wen,” he said.

The next day, Mr. Dolin, a 57-year-old Chicago lawyer, paced up and down a train platform for several minutes and then threw himself in front of an oncoming train.

Ms. Dolin soon became convinced that the drug her husband had started taking five days before his death — paroxetine, the generic form of Paxil — played a role in his suicide by triggering a side effect called akathisia, a state of acute physical and psychological agitation. Sufferers have described feeling as if they were “jumping out of their skin.”

The distress of akathisia may explain the heightened risk of suicide in some patients, some psychiatrists believe. The symptoms are so distressing, a drug company scientist wrote in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, that patients may feel “death is a welcome result.”

The New York Times, September 11, 2017

Teen Girls With Smartphones Flirt Most With Depression and Suicide

A spike in the teen suicide rate parallels almost exactly the rise of smartphone use, especially among teen girls, who are the most vulnerable to cyberbullying and alienation.

On Instagram, Snapchat, and via text, the messages wouldn’t stop coming to 12-year-old Mallory Grossman’s phone. She was a loser with no friends, they wrote. One message even said, “Why don’t you kill yourself?”

Not long afterward, the 6th grader did just that, committing suicide on June 14, 2017.

Mallory’s story is a tragic part of a larger trend shaping today’s generation of teens and young adults, the post-Millennials born after 1995 whom I call iGen and describe in my book of the same name. Around 2012, more teens in large national surveys started to say they felt hopeless and useless—classic symptoms of depression. In a large, government-funded study designed to screen for mental health issues, the number of teens with clinical-level depression rose substantially between 2011 and 2015. Most troubling, the child and teen suicide rate increased sharply.

Daily Beast, September 9, 2017

Newport-Mesa is taking the lead on working to prevent teen suicides

Children committing suicide is the last thing any of us wants to think about.

But we must, for what has been called a silent epidemic is real. Every day, on average, thousands of young people try to kill themselves.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among 10-to-24-year-olds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza and chronic lung disease combined.

There are indications that the problem is getting worse. The number of children aged 5 to 17 who were admitted to children’s hospitals because of thoughts of suicide or self-harm more than doubled between 2008 and 2015, according to research presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in San Francisco in May.

Every year in Orange County alone, about 700 youth aged 10 to 19 years old require medical treatment because of self-inflicted injuries. It’s estimated that 2% die from the injuries.

Looking away and doing nothing is not an option.

Los Angeles Times, September 5, 2017

Two student suicides in two days, both following social media posts, leave Littleton community seeking answers – Arapahoe County has had eight teen suicides already this year

In the twilight, they pointed the lights of their cellphones toward the students in the center of the circle. They numbered in the hundreds, gathered in a grassy park on a school night through the power of Snapchat.

They’ve done this at least twice before when they lost friends to suicide, but this time, the loss in Littleton was double: two teen suicides in two days. Sitting on the grass as night fell, they took turns rushing to the center to remember their friends, to hug and cry, to shout and swear, and to plead for no more deaths.

On Tuesday night, an Arapahoe High School junior took his own life by jumping off a mall parking garage, and on Wednesday night, another Littleton School District student, an eighth-grader at Powell Middle School, shot himself on the grounds of nearby Twain Elementary. Both boys posted on social media just before their deaths, panicking friends who tried to help but could not save them.

The Denver Post, September 1, 2017

More teenagers commit suicide on this day in Japan than any other day of the year

Going back to school is extremely tough for a lot of Japanese students, and this can be clearly seen in the country’s suicide statistics.

In Japan, more people under the age of 18 commit suicide on Sept. 1 than any other date, according to a 2015 government white paper examining 40 years of data. The government attributed the reason to the mental pressures that students face adjusting to school life after a particularly long break. The anxiety of teens going back to school is so pervasive that there’s a Japanese term to describe them: futoko, or “people who don’t go to school.”

Quartz, September 1, 2017