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.


August, 2017


 

Precision Medicine for Preventing Suicide

Researchers developed personalized blood tests for different subtypes of suicidality that they have newly identified and for different psychiatric high-risk groups. 

A research team led by scientists at the Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine say they have created a novel method for diagnosing suicide risk by developing blood tests that work in everyone as well as more personalized blood tests for different subtypes of suicidality and high-risk groups.

The researchers also demonstrated how two apps—one based on a suicide-risk checklist and the other on a scale for measuring feelings of anxiety and depression—work along with the blood tests to increase the precision of tests and to propose potential lifestyle, psychotherapeutic, and other interventions. The team also noted that they were able to identify a series of medications and natural substances that could be developed for preventing suicide.

Their study (“Precision Medicine for Suicidality: From Universality to Subtypes and Personalization”) is published in  Molecular Psychiatry.

We sought to investigate whether blood gene expression biomarkers for suicide (that is, a ‘liquid biopsy’ approach) can be identified that are more universal in nature, working across psychiatric diagnoses and genders, using larger cohorts than in previous studies. Such markers may reflect and/or be a proxy for the core biology of suicide. We were successful in this endeavor, using a comprehensive stepwise approach, leading to a wealth of findings,” write the investigators.

GEN, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, August 15, 2017


Suicides under age 13: One every 5 days

One day after school in January, 8-year-old Gabriel Taye returned to his Cincinnati home and hanged himself with a necktie, his family’s attorney says.

His mother, Cornelia Reynolds, found his body that afternoon in his bedroom. His family sued his school district last week, alleging that he’d been bullied and that the school didn’t inform his relatives.

“Gabriel was a shining light to everyone who knew and loved him,” his mother said in prepared statement released to the news media. “We miss him desperately and suffer every day.”

Suicides among US children under 13 are rare, but perhaps more frequent than you think. And 8 is hardly the youngest.

From 1999 through 2015, 1,309 children ages 5 to 12 committed suicide in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Crossroads Today, ABC News, August 14, 2017


Teen suicide: The ones they left behind

The memories of teenagers who died by suicide are closely guarded by those left behind.

The smiles and laughter, the shared experiences, the first days at school and the last hours spent together are beacons for families of children whose lives were cut short after ongoing struggles with mental illnesses including depression, anxiety or eating disorders.

There’s Heidi Bucklin, who died at 18, a competitive athlete whose seriousness on the field afterward melted into goofy grins with her friends.

There’s Zayne Shomler, who died at 17. He loved little things — watching ants march back to their colony, his turtle and the tiny stuffed lamb he kept close even until his death.

There’s Heather Brooker-Higgins, who died at 13. She loved to learn so much, she would spend hours studying Spanish on her school-issued tablet.

These are some of the teenagers who have died by suicide in Clark County, as long ago as six years and as recently as two months. It’s a constant and apparently escalating problem.

The Columbian, August 13, 2017


Girl Talk: Help is always available for those with thoughts of suicide

Anyone who has ever graced a public bathroom knows that after you lock the door and look around at the stall around you, chances are you are likely to encounter a vast array of graffiti.

Some classics still remain as they had in generations before us: For a good time call some random number; this person loves that person forever; and another person thinks someone else is a variety of expletives.

Sometimes there are quotes. The most profound bathroom quote I ever read was “Suicide doesn’t take away your pain; it just gives it to someone else.” I can say without a shadow of a doubt, this quote has saved my life.

According to USA Today, there is a suicide every 13 minutes in the United States. Behind every tragic loss there is a story. As someone who has openly coped with depression disorders my entire life, this is my story.

There is not a day that goes by in my life where I can say the thought isn’t there. I think with most people who have had a history with depression and suicide, they can honestly admit this. If something goes wrong, you automatically think about it. It’s not something I would act on, just a thought. If I am going to be honest about my story, I need to tell you my whole story.

Weekender, August 10, 2017


Suicide Prevention: What To Do If You Think Someone Needs Help

According to the Vermont Department of Mental Health, the suicide rate in Vermont has increased over the past 10 years. In 2014, according to the department’s data, there were more than 17 suicides per 100,000 Vermonters. The New York Times reported that the national average that year was 13 suicides per 100,000 people.

JoEllen Tarallo is the director of the Vermont Suicide Prevention Center. She says that suicide can be reduced if more people know how to support friends and family members. She offered some advice for anyone who is concerned that someone they know might be suicidal.

Vermont Public Radio, August 7, 2017


Behind the suicide of a teen track star

“What Made Maddy Run?” 

That’s the title question of a new book about a suburban New Jersey teen and track star, Madison Holleran, who committed suicide in 2014 during her freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania. The real question, though, is: What made Maddy stop?

Depression is a difficult problem to diagnose and treat, and there are probably many factors that led to this tragedy. But it is striking that, despite Maddy’s strong social network, as well as her success both academically and athletically, she felt a crushing pressure, one that’s becoming more and more common — for teenage girls, especially.

With the help of Maddy’s family, friends and teammates, who were shocked and baffled by this tragedy, espnW columnist Kate Fagan tries to recreate the last several months of her life not only through interviews with those who knew her but also by looking through all of her text messages, emails and social media posts.

New York Post, August 7, 2017


Teens are more depressed and isolated than ever because of smartphones, researcher claims

Jean Twenge, a professor at San Diego State, argues in The Atlantic this week that smartphones may be destroying a generation of teens

Today’s teens go out less, date less, and feel more depressed and suicidal, according to Twenge’s data. There’s a strong link between the amount of time they spend looking at screens and how sad they feel.

Teenagers today are more depressed, have higher rates of suicide, and hang out with friends less often than teens in earlier eras, according to one researcher, who has blamed the rise of smartphones for the problem.

Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State, wrote in The Atlantic this week that she’s noticed a number of stark behavioral changes in teens since smartphones became popular. She argued that the rates of change are the sharpest she’s seen in researching data from the 1930s onward.

Among her findings:

  • Teens go out a lot less with friends and on fewer dates.
  • They are much less interested in driving.
  • They report feeling lonely a lot more often.
  • Rates of depression and suicide have “skyrocketed” since 2011.

The more time they spend looking at screens, the more depressed they say they feel – “There’s not a single exception” among any age group, Twenge writes.

CNBC, August 5, 2017


Out of the darkness: Youth, officials open up about suicide

Zach Ricker was into sports, especially basketball, in high school. He was a good student, getting A’s and B’s. Corinne Johnson, a classmate of Ricker’s, characterized him as a nice, almost shy guy. He didn’t talk much, she said, and when he did, you almost always had to ask him, “What?”

Johnson was also active in sports. She played soccer and was a good student. She was outspoken in class and challenged her teachers with questions. She even received a student of the month award for standing up for a bullied peer. She worked to help support herself because she was raised by a single mother and had two siblings.

Ricker and Johnson both seemed like normal, happy teenagers.

No one knew they both wanted to kill themselves. Their loved ones didn’t know they were both suffering from clinical depression and anxiety.

Since the beginning of 2012, there have been 33 suicides involving people between the ages of 13 and 25, according to the Ohio Department of Health’s Bureau of Vital Statistics. That includes 15 suicides in Allen County, eight in Putnam County, six in Auglaize County and four in Van Wert County.

The Lima News, August 3, 2017


Suicide rate hit 40-year peak among older teen girls

The suicide rate among girls between the ages of 15 and 19 reached an all-time high in 2015 for the 40-year period beginning in 1975, according to new data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

In the shorter term, the suicide rate for those girls doubled between 2007 and 2015, the research indicates.

By comparison, the 2015 suicide rate for boys in this age group was lower than in the peak years of the mid-1980s through the mid-1990s.

FOX8, August 3, 2017


A father lost his son. Now he wants to convince society that no suicide is inevitable

Steve Mallen thinks the signs first started to show when his son stopped playing the piano. Edward, then 18, was a gifted musician and had long since passed his Grade 8 exams. Playing had been a passion for most of his life. But as adulthood beckoned, the boy had never been busier. He had won a place to read geography at the University of Cambridge and was revising hard for his A levels. At his school, Edward was head boy and popular among pupils and teachers. His younger brother and sister idolized him.

“We didn’t attach any particular significance to it,” says Mallen of what he saw as merely a musical pause. “I think we just thought, ‘Well, the poor lad’s been at the piano for years and years. He’s so busy…’ But these are the small things – the ripples in the fabric of normal life – that you don’t necessarily notice but which, as I know now, can be very significant.”

Three months after Edward stopped playing, and just two weeks after he handed in an English essay his teacher would later describe as among the best he had read, police knocked at the door of the family home in Meldreth, a village ten miles south of Cambridge. Steve Mallen was at home, alone. “You become painfully aware that something appalling has happened,” he recalls. “You go through the description, they offer commiserations and a booklet, and then they leave. And that’s it. Suddenly you are staring into the most appalling abyss you can ever imagine.”

Quartz, August 2, 2017


Mother of Bullied Girl Who Died by Suicide: Mallory ‘Had a Target on Her Back’

Mallory was an accomplished cheerleader and gymnast who family and friends say was well-liked and sociable

The family of a 12-year-old New Jersey girl who took her own life in June is planning to sue the school district she attended, saying she was relentlessly bullied for months before a “preventable tragedy.” 

The family announced Tuesday in Roseland, alongside with their attorney, that they’re suing the Rockaway Township school district because they say it did nothing to stop months of bullying that led to Mallory Grossman’s suicide. 

NBC, August 1, 2017


East Helena elementary students begin game aimed at suicide prevention

“We’ve had too many suicides in East Helena of our kids. We believe that something can make a difference for kids,” Superintendent Ron Whitmoyer said. “This is a statistically proven program.”

Elementary students in East Helena will be part of an early education game to prevent suicide by reducing behavioral problems and mental health issues.

Blue Cross Blue Shield and American Chemet provided almost $17,000 in grant funding to train Kindergarten through third grade teachers on the PAXIS Institute Good Behavior Game last month. Teachers in Kindergarten through third grade will implement the program with a goal to develop coping skills for social, emotional and behavioral challenges that will last a lifetime.

In 2014, Montana had the highest rate of suicide in the nation and has been among the top five states for 40 years, according to a report by the Montana Suicide Mortality Review Team.

Helena Independent Record, August 1, 2017