On this page we'll be posting links to articles and information that will help our visitors gain a fuller perspective on the issues most important to us. Not limited to our annual fund and awareness raising campaigns but across the wide spectrum of suicide research, adolescent brain development and diagnoses, depression, anxiety and more. For previous months' links, please see our News Archive page.
The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team – whose investigative work was the subject of the acclaimed 2015 film Spotlight – has produced a report on the current state of mental health care in Massachusetts, The Desperate and the Dead: Families in Fear. Closing psychiatric hospitals seemed humane, but the state failed to build a system to replace them, June 23, 2016. A complete PDF of their report is available for viewing below.
Deaths From Suicide: A Look at 18 States
A Special Report with Data from the National Violent Death Reporting System, 2013-2014
Established in 1993, the Safe States Alliance is a national non-profit organization and professional association whose mission is to strengthen the practice of injury and violence prevention. Safe States is the only national non-profit or-ganization and professional association that represents the diverse and ever-expanding group of professionals who comprise the field of injury and violence prevention.
Safe States • www.safestates.org • February 2017
Children’s Hospitals Admissions for Suicidal Thoughts or Actions Double During Past Decade
– Report from the Pediatric Academic Societies.
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
“13 Reasons Why” – Waiting for the Light,
Cursing the Bread
The Netflix adaptation of the young adult novel 13 Reasons Why has stirred up debate about how this topic is covered across media – especially in popular fiction.
Here on the Tommy Fuss News page we’ve covered this topic several times:
City teen’s suicide prevention video goes viral – 13 Reasons Why Not
– The Journal Gazette, June 3, 2017
Is Suicide Contagion Real?
– Psych Central, May 19, 2017
How To React When Your Friend Is Talking About Suicide
– Refinery29, May 5, 2017
Educators and school psychologists raise alarms about 13 Reasons Why
– The Washington Post, May 2, 2017
Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why and the trouble with dramatising suicide
– The Guardian, April 26, 2017
How 13 Reasons Why gets suicide wrong: Voices
– USA Today, April 18, 2017
To these we’d like to add this publication from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: Tips for Parents to talk with their Children about 13 Reasons Why and Suicide.
Critics have pointed out that the framing device – the central character Hannah sends 13 cassette tapes to friends and others detailing how they contributed to her decision to end her life – is not the typical course of the mental illness and stressors that result in suicide.
[May I be forgiven for suggesting that a contemporary teenager using a cassette tape recorderinstead of a smartphone to make and distribute their post-suicide diatribes seems a wild anachronism. Akin to having Hannah send the info via telegram. The teens I know today would be hard pressed to identify a cassette tape much less use one.]
13 Reasons Why has been accused ofromanticizing suicide, a claim that also could be made against the most famous teen suicides in all of literature: 15 year old Romeo Montague and 13 year old Juliet Capulet.
The arch of the 13 Reasons Why story also defines suicide as a means of revenge against those who Hannah felt betrayed and ostracized her. This, researchers and professionals tell us, is almost never the case in real life. Depression and anxiety are mental illnesses that, left untreated (or improperly treated), can result in suicide.
It is not the actions of others that is the primary cause of suicidal ideation. It is a self-generated condition. Externally many suicides can appear successful in all the ways we measure success.
Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.
And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
‘Good-morning,’ and he glittered when he walked.
And he was rich – yes, richer than a king –
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.
So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.
– Edwin Arlington Robinson
Postman behind online suicide game ‘Blue Whale challenge’ arrested in Russia
Russian authorities have arrested a Moscow postman who allegedly ran an online game which led to 32 teenagers killing themselves.
Ilya Sidorov, 26, is accused of encouraging vulnerable youngsters to self-harm and eventually killing themselves in a twisted game likened to the “Blue Whale challenge” that has been linked to more than 130 deaths.
He has reportedly admitted to state investigators that he runs a ‘suicide group’ that have as many as 32 members.
According to Mail Online, Sidorov was filmed sobbing as police interrogated about how he instructed a school girl to “jump under a metro train”. He was arrested and taken to Chelyabinsk region in the Urals on the charges that he encouraged a 13-year-old girl to kill herself.
Trial Over Suicide and Texting Lays Bare Pain of 2 Teenagers
Michelle Carter is a haunting presence in court, looking on darkly as her troubled past — with eating disorders, deep social insecurities and talk of killing herself — is laid bare in her trial, for all the world to see. Most of the time, she appears to be on the verge of tears.
Sitting in court, she has said nothing publicly. But her own words, in the form of thousands of text messages, make up the bulk of the evidence both for and against her in an unusual trial that began last Tuesday and could come to an end this week.
Ms. Carter, 20, is being tried on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Conrad Roy III, whom she called her boyfriend. He was 18 in July 2014 when he killed himself with carbon monoxide as he sat alone in his truck in a Kmart parking lot.
Ms. Carter, then 17, was about an hour away at the time. But she had urged him, through screen after screen of texts, to kill himself.
Artificial intelligence can now predict suicide with remarkable accuracy
When someone commits suicide, their family and friends can be left with the heartbreaking and answerless question of what they could have done differently. Colin Walsh, data scientist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, hopes his work in predicting suicide risk will give people the opportunity to ask “what can I do?” while there’s still a chance to intervene.
Walsh and his colleagues have created machine-learning algorithms that predict, with unnerving accuracy, the likelihood that a patient will attempt suicide. In trials, results have been 80-90% accurate when predicting whether someone will attempt suicide within the next two years, and 92% accurate in predicting whether someone will attempt suicide within the next week.
Victorville NAMI office ‘overloaded’ with teens contemplating suicide
No way out.
This sadly mistaken belief is motivating a staggering number of depressed and discouraged American kids to commit suicide.
According to the Parent Resource Program, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention of youth suicide, there are an average of over 5,240 attempts per day by young people in grades 7 through 12.
The charity also notes on its website that more teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza and chronic lung disease combined.
To help remedy the problem in California, the state legislature passed Assembly Bill 2246 in 2016, which requires school districts to adopt suicide prevention policies that target high-risk groups. These include students who are bereaved by a classmate’s death, as well as gays, lesbians and transgenders.
Organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) also have been doing their part to assist children and young adults who are having suicidal thoughts.
Zero Suicides? That’s the Goal
The public health approach tasks everyone with looking for suicidal behavior and being comfortable with talking about the topic and then offering help.
Suicide prevention has been an elusive topic for generations. Even doctors historically shied away from the conversation, assuming psychiatrists and families would step in when the time was right.
But stigma prevents many people from opening up about depression, leading to a deadly silence that, partially, helps to explain why people kill themselves.
Now, mental health experts are leading a new approach to suicide prevention that asks medical professionals to do the opposite of what has been prescribed: speak frankly with their patients. It’s a core value of the Zero Suicide initiative, which is gaining traction throughout the country.
Man Who Committed Suicide May Have Taken Cues From 13 Reasons Why
A 23-year-old man in Peru committed suicide last night, and it appears that he might have been inspired by the deceased heroine of 13 Reasons Why. Franco Alonso Lazo Medrano jumped from the fourth floor of his apartment building and People reports that he yelled “I can’t stand a heartbreak,” as his mother looked on. After surviving the fall initially, he was declared dead at the hospital.
The police reportedly later found two suicide notes in his home, one of which was a farewell to a person named Claudia, and the other directing a series of tapes to be distributed to a list of people Medrano had written down. The content of the tapes has not been shared, so it is not confirmed whether or not Medrano created his recordings for people he believes contributed to his decision to kill himself, just as Hannah Baker did on the Netflix hit show, nor is it confirmed that Medrano saw or was inspired by the show.
Still, the news is concerning in light of the controversy that has surrounded 13 Reasons’ depiction of suicide. Netflix has attached disclaimers and warnings to the program, but has still made enough people uncomfortable about the possibility that it glamorizes suicide for the series to be banned in certain schools.
Preventing Suicide: Breaking the Silence Digital Documentary
Suicide is considered a whispered word. But those who have attempted it — and their friends and relatives — are sharing their stories to heal and help others in crisis. Watch our full-length special report. (45 minutes)
What Pushes a Person to Suicide?
One May day five years ago, an ambulance arrived for me. My eyes were twitching, hands shaking, thoughts racing and confused. At that point, I hadn’t slept for three days. I’d taken drugs, fell asleep at the wheel, bumped into a car at a red light. I was closer to suicidal than ever, but I wasn’t sad. Instead, I was agitated, frantic, paranoid. What put me at risk was not sorrow, per se, but loss of control: the careless apathy that might swerve a bike into traffic. My therapist convinced me I needed help. A phone call later, the ambulance took me to the mental hospital, where I stayed for a week and left with lithium.
City teen’s suicide prevention video goes viral
Netflix gave viewers “13 Reasons Why.”
Bishop Luers High School student Sarah Podzielinski has given Facebook users “13 Reasons Why Not” – a suicide-prevention video that intersperses facts with footage of classmates acknowledging those who have positively affected their lives.
The teen created the 6-minute video for her freshman honors English class, but its reach has gone beyond the classroom walls. Since she posted it to Facebook on May 21, it has garnered 14,000 views, 250 shares and more than 50 comments, including some from strangers and a Washington state educator whose school was recently affected by suicide.
Her mother, a mental health professional, is impressed.
In all likelihood, “you’ve reached more people in 72 hours than I will in a lifetime,” Ewelina Connolly told her daughter as they sat in teacher Jessica Marlin’s classroom Wednesday.
A suicide at age 8? Very rare, but not inconceivable
The death was startling even to the coroner: a boy only 8 years old apparently killing himself in his Cincinnati bedroom.
Now Gabriel Taye’s January death is being re-examined, after it emerged that he was bullied and knocked unconscious at school two days before he died.
Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco’s office has ruled Gabriel’s death a suicide, but she said last week that she was reopening the investigation to re-examine the boy’s injuries and whether there were contributing factors to his death.
“It was very hard for me to believe that an 8-year-old would even know what it means to commit suicide,” Sammarco said.
WHIO TV 7, May 14, 2017 [Published June 5, 2017]
Suicides and fatal poisonings increase as cause of child deaths, CDC says
While the overall number of child deaths has decreased slightly thanks to progress in the number of infants surviving, the hazards for older children have been growing.
Suicide rates and accidental poisonings, including those related to opioids, have increased, according to a new analysis of state data on birth and death rates released in the medical journal Pediatrics.
For children between the ages of 1 to 19 years old, suicide rates increased from 11.3 percent of all deaths in 2013 to 12.1 percent of all deaths in 2014.
Accidental poisoning deaths have particularly increased for adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 24. The researchers found accidental overdose deaths in that group increased 163 percent from 3 deaths per 100,000 people to 7.9 deaths. The ongoing opioid crisis is likely one major factor for this increase, according to the researchers.
Youth suicide rates are rising. School and the Internet may be to blame.
A new study presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting in May found that the number of children and teens admitted to children’s hospitals for thoughts of suicide or self-harm have more than doubled during the last decade. The lead author on the study, Dr. Gregory Plemmons, is an associate professor at The Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
Stressful environments and unfettered access to information may have boosted the number of teens and children hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or actions.
SUICIDE in VOGUE: Facing the rising tide of suicidal ideation
There was nothing Sarah Liljedahl feared more than herself.
When her mind ventured to dark places, the icy roots of suicidal ideation burrowed through her brainstem, embedded beneath her skull and took Sarah captive.
When the darkness lifted, so did the ideation and Sarah knew she did not want to die. But, the thoughts always returned and, with it, the urge to kill herself. It was a deadly cycle Sarah could not escape.
“At the end of it, when I would get out of that bad depression, I realized I hated myself so much there was nobody I feared more than myself,” she said.
Cindy Baker of Touchstone Counseling has dealt with cases like Sarah’s for about 20 years. However, now more than ever, Baker is witnessing spikes in suicidal ideation and death by suicide that trickles down to those as young as 10 years old.
Binge-drinking and drug-taking teenagers are 5 TIMES more likely to commit suicide in their 20s
• Researchers looked at data of more than a million youngsters over 15 years
• They found alcohol-related injuries face a higher risk of killing themselves
• The findings also applied to those who required treatment for taking drugs
• Experts warned that the NHS must do more to help teenagers in such cases
AI May Hold the Key to Stopping Suicide
Every day in the United States about 120 people commit suicide. At nearly 45,000 suicides annually, it’s the 10th-leading cause of death in the U.S. and its rate is increasing year by year, national data shows. Healthcare providers have ways to prevent a suicide attempt, but often they don’t know in advance who needs the intervention most.
“We’ve been doing this for 50 years, and our ability is still at chance level,” says Jessica Ribeiro, a psychologist and researcher at Florida State University.
That may soon change now that researchers like Ribeiro are getting help from technology. Instead of relying on a few well-known risk factors like depression or drug abuse, these new methods help to recognize suicide as a complex phenomenon; an outcome of many interrelated life events.
The Truth About ‘Blue Whale,’ an Online Game That Tells Teens to Self Harm
Creepypasta, media hysteria, and teenage suicide
According to a report conducted by the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, there should be a link between the Blue Whale game and numerous cases of teenage suicide in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan between November 2015 and April 2016: The victims had been members of VK groups dedicated to the game.
However, in at least one of the cases cited—the suicide of a nineteen year-old Kazakh, Marat Aitkazin—the nature of the connection to the game can’t be confirmed. In fact, after taking a closer look at the Blue Whale phenomenon, it seems less like the shocking story Novaya Gazeta initially reported, and more like a perfect storm of internet creepypasta, media hysteria, and the very real and serious issue teenage suicide.
The story rapidly exploded in the media and arrived in Europe with rather alarmist tones, to the extent that it drove a comedy television show like Le Iene to discuss it. What remains to be seen is the line that separates mass hysteria from the genuine, actual danger of the phenomenon.
Depression and its Link to Suicide
What a psychiatrist at Shannon Clinic says has been found in people who have committed suicide is that they have lower than normal concentrations of serotonin.
In my initial discussion with Cliff Richey–a retired tennis pro–on depression, he also described this chemical imbalance as the reason for depression.
Serotonin impacts an individual’s motor skills and emotions [Pictures showing the difference between a “normal” brain and a “depressed” brain are in the video story].
The treatment of which, once diagnosed, can be handled with a combination of counseling and medication.
With Suicide Rates On The Rise, Mental Health Advocates Search For Prevention Answers
Suicide rates in the U.S. are at their highest in 30 years. In 2014, the last year for which there are official government figures, nearly 43,000 Americans killed themselves. That’s nearly four times as many as were shot to death by others.
The rise in suicide comes despite intensive prevention efforts by mental health professionals, citizen-volunteers, people affected by suicide, teachers, religious leaders and others.
Could the key to prevention be identifying people about to make an attempt?
To intercede in the minutes or hours beforehand, you’d need a sign. But one meta-analysis — a careful examination of other studies — considered the results of 365 research articles that looked at the presence of depression, talk about self-harm, feelings of hopelessness and other factors related to suicide.
The conclusion: There are no clear predictive patterns, meaning mental health workers can do little more than guess.
Is Suicide Contagion Real?
With the popularity of the Netflix hit teenage high school show, “13 Reasons Why,” there’s been debate among mental health care professionals and researchers as to whether an actual “suicide contagion” exists. Would such a contagion effect apply to something such as a fictional TV series?
Is suicide contagion a real thing? If so, is it really something we need to be concerned about as much in this day and age of instant entertainment and information available on the Internet, where people’s graphic depictions of self-harm and suicide stories are always just a single click away for any teen to view as much as they’d like?
In the mind of an 8-year-old: Experts say young children can understand suicide
One piercing question from the January suicide of 8-year-old Gabriel Taye of Cincinnati haunts parents and teachers alike: How can a young child know enough about self-destruction to carry it out?
One simple answer, say experts who deal with youth suicide, rests in our common humanity: The mind of an 8-year-old child does has the capacity to think about death, even suicide.
“An 8-year-old can understand the finality of death, the irreversibility of death, even though those are kind of the two main features that go along with what you’d consider to be more of an adult view,” said Dr. Paul Crosby, chief medical officer at the Lindner Center for Hope in Mason and a psychiatrist who treats children and teenagers.
Facebook teams up with The Trevor Project for LGBTQ youth suicide prevention
Facebook has partnered with The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention hotline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer youth, to bring additional crisis support to Facebook Messenger.
Back in March, Facebook brought suicide prevention tools to both Live and Messenger in partnership with organizations like the Crisis Text Line, the National Eating Disorder Association and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Facebook’s lineup of partners, which now includes The Trevor Project, enables people contemplating suicide and/or feeling depressed to immediately, directly connect with them. Chat functionality with The Trevor Project will roll out over the next few months.
Worldwide, there is a suicide attempt every 40 seconds, according to the World Health Organization. Among those aged 10-24 years old, suicide is the second leading cause of death, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Parents who lost a child to suicide share their stories to help others cope
The last time Kathy Shott spoke to her son was shortly before Christmas 2013.
She recalled that he was sad — the 31-year-old was going through a divorce — but he also seemed to be looking to the future. She said he thanked her for the socks she had sent to him in Missouri and mentioned they would come in handy when he returned to work.
“Mom, don’t ever forget how much I love you,” she remembered him saying over the phone.
On Christmas Day, he took his life.
It’s a story Shott, who lives in San Diego, has told multiple times since the death of her son, an Iraq War veteran who served in two branches of the U.S. military. She shares it in support groups that help people who have lost loved ones to suicide.
Pediatric Research: Questions must be asked to reduce suicide risk
There is a simple, one-question quiz that every physician, teacher, politician, parent, brother, sister and good friend should pass with flying colors.
What is the No. 1 non-accidental cause of death in young people 10 to 34 years old?
The answer is suicide.
In fact, suicide claims more young people than cancer, diabetes, heart disease, cystic fibrosis, influenza, pneumonia and other infectious diseases combined.
Student beat him, then others kicked him. Later, 8-year-old kills himself
A security camera video taken inside a Cincinnati elementary school reveals that a student assaulted an 8-year-old boy in a restroom and other children may have kicked and struck the boy for 5 minutes while he lay unconscious.
Two days later, the child, Gabriel Taye, hanged himself.
School officials did not tell Gabriel’s mother about the assault or that he had lost consciousness, only that the boy had fainted, said Jennifer Branch, a lawyer for the boy’s mother. Gabriel’s mother has agreed to identify her child publicly but did not wish to release her own name.
A Suicide Therapist’s Secret Past
My depression was a dark presence that first came when I was 12 years old and revisited often. Finally, at the age of 26, I started taking an antidepressant, and that helped tremendously. Then I started losing hair, an uncommon side effect, so I stopped. My new therapist in Austin, a psychiatrist, wanted me to try a different antidepressant. But my mind already had tricked me into thinking nothing could possibly help, and even if it could, I did not deserve it.
Man behind ‘Blue Whale’ suicide is jailed, but says he is ‘cleansing society’
The Russian man behind a social media challenge which urges young people to kill themselves says he is “cleansing society.”
The online social media game reportedly targets at-risk participants, taking them through a series of challenges over 50 days that culminate in suicide.
New Zealand police have already warned parents to be wary of the game.
The challenges include waking up at 4am every day, watching violent videos, and self-harming.
Mental illness and artistic expression are probed by a surviving sibling in “32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide.”
A difficult sibling’s tragic death is the catalyst in “32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide.” But if documentarian Hope Litoff initially expects belatedly confronting the titular event will result in some sense of inner peace, she — and everyone around her — are alarmed when instead the “process” sends her down a personal rabbit hole of guilt, denial and addiction. Gripping and discomfiting, this first directorial feature by the veteran editor is the kind of diaristic inquiry that can seem self-indulgent but here sports a fearlessness that transcends vanity — at times it’s downright unflattering.
In late 2008 photographer Ruth Litoff was found in her Manhattan loft, having finally “succeeded” after 20 or more suicide attempts over many years. Police on the scene said they’d never seen anything like it — her entire apartment was meticulously prepared for the event, with umpteen notes, presents, etc., left labeled with instructions for disbursement to various friends and family.
Is Suicide Preventable? Insights from Research
Wilkins Kearney left a note for his wife on the kitchen counter, propped against their wedding picture. It began, “To dear Lilla,” and ended, “I love you so much!” Then he pulled open a drawer and took out his gun.
His suicide seemed to come out of nowhere for his tight circle of friends and family. Looking back now, they remember no warnings, no signs of depression, nothing but the long, solitary runs he would sometimes take when work or life got him down. He was always just the same old Wilk, a loyal friend with a streak of mischief in his grin. “An active participant in life,” one close friend said.
For years, public-service campaigns have stressed that suicide is preventable, that people can save a life if they just catch the warning signs early enough. But a recent RAND study found that the truth is much more complicated. In our search for answers, it concluded, we may have been looking in the wrong place.
How To React When Your Friend Is Talking About Suicide
With its gripping story, visceral emotions, and penchant for stirring up controversy, Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why has also begun several difficult discussions about suicide. Specifically, the way it’s portrayed onscreen, and how we can be better at handling mental health issues IRL. So what can you do to help friends who are talking to you about hurting themselves? A lot, it turns out.
To start, it’s surprisingly important to pay attention to the emotions your friend’s behavior triggers in you. “If you’re feeling uncertainty or fear, it’s always worth mentioning,” says Julie Larson, LCSW, a therapist based in NYC. “[It honors] that feeling that you’re having about your friend, but it also sends the message that you care deeply.”
Guns and suicide go tragically hand in hand
As the community comes to grip with the tragedy at Farragut High School, one issue that must not be ignored is the role of guns in suicides.
Two of the three young men who have died this semester used firearms to take their own lives.
Tragically, they are far from alone.
Each year, about 33,000 Americans die of gunshots, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Of those, some 20,000 are suicides.
Without easy access to guns, many of those deaths would not have happened.
Rising suicide rates alarm researchers attending Pittsburgh conference
When David Brent helped start the STAR Center at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic 30 years ago, the field of youth suicide prevention “was scary,” he said.
“There were no real effective treatments for depression, either pharmacological or behavioral, and there were no good suicide intervention therapies,” he said about the research and clinical center that saw 360 patients over the last year alone. “But now there are some tools in your tool box you can go to for help. I’d say we’re in a much better place than when we started.”
Educators and school psychologists raise alarms about ‘13 Reasons Why’
Educators and school mental health professionals across the country are warning parents about the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” saying the show’s graphic depiction of a teenager’s suicide could contribute to a “contagion effect” among students with mental illness and linking it to self-harm and suicide threats among young people.
The show has prompted a major response from educators and administrators, who have spoken at PTA meetings, sent messages home and even cautioned certain groups of students about whether to watch it at all.
“There’s no room for error when it comes to student wellness,” said Rebecca Aguilar, who oversees school counselors at Thoreau Middle School in Fairfax County, where school officials sent home a list of talking points advising parents about the show.
Nightmares and Suicide: Empirical Evidence and Intervention with Imagery Rehearsal Therapy
The Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention (ICRC-S) is hosting a webinar on nightmares and suicide risk. Michael R. Nadorff, assistant professor of psychology and director of clinical training at Mississippi State University, will review the literature on nightmares and suicide, and discuss how nightmare treatments may hold promise for reducing suicide risk. Barry Krakow, founder of Maimonides International Nightmare Treatment Center, will focus his presentation on Imagery Rehearsal Therapy, which is a recommended treatment for nightmare disorder. The webinar will be held on May 9 from 3 to 4 p.m. ET.
Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why and the trouble with dramatising suicide
Netflix has been accused of dangerous sensationalism. But how best to tackle this traumatic subject? We talk to YA novelist Chloe Combi and director Katie Mitchell.
If there was a list of ways not to portray suicide, this would tick every box. The new Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, adapted from the novel by Jay Asher, is about a teenager called Hannah Baker who takes her own life. She leaves behind a set of cassette tapes, each addressed to a different person in her life, detailing how they hurt her and contributed to her death.
It’s a revenge fantasy, so it portrays suicide as an act that will achieve something. It’s aimed at a young audience, who are particularly susceptible to contagion, and particularly likely to experience suicidal thoughts. It normalises and legitimises the act. It goes into too much and too graphic detail about the suicide itself – which is expressly against Ofcom guidelines because, however horrible it is to watch, this can still be read as a how-to.
The series depicts suicide as a reasonable response to a set of challenges that anybody might experience, and lays it at the feet of other people. It’s wrong from so many angles that it’s almost as if it were devised as a training manual for how not to use suicide as a plot point.
More Than Sad – School-Based Suicide Prevention Workshop – Workshop Overview
Pennsylvania middle and high schools are now required by Act 71 to provide faculty and student training on the topic of suicide prevention. The largest piece of this training requirement is the 4‐hour faculty component for those working with grades 6-12. The Western PA chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) presents this free workshop to demonstrate to school trainers our school-focused suicide prevention content and best practices to meet these Act 71 requirements. We are pleased to oﬀer this at no charge, to help our schools while supporting our organization’s goal to reduce the suicide rate in PA and in the U.S.
“More Than Sad” is AFSP’s school‐ready and evidence-based training speciﬁcally designed for teen‐level suicide prevention. More Than Sad has been used across middle and high schools in the U.S. for several years. Workshop attendees will gain a full how‐to demonstration on training faculty with the mixed‐media methodology, which fulﬁlls about 3 hours of faculty training. AFSP representatives will also recommend additional content to meet the full 4‐hour training requirement, including the bullying-suicide connection and how to appropriately respond as a school should a suicide occur.
Why the Russian Suicide Game Went Global
A teenage suicide game spreading from Russia raises the same urgent questions everywhere, including Brazil, where my Bloomberg View colleague Mac Margolis just spotted it: Who is responsible? How do we stop them?
While social networks and the parliament in Russia have moved to eliminate so-called “groups of death,” they may well be fighting an urban legend. But the obvious threat is well established: the tragically high suicide rates in countries struggling after the fall of the Soviet Union are a result of much broader societal ills.
The game that’s got parents and officials worried in Brazil is called Baleia Azul – a direct translation of the original Russian name, Siniy Kit, or Blue Whale. The name apparently comes from a song by the Russian rock band Lumen. Its opening lines are, “Why scream / When no one hears / What we’re talking about?” and it features a “huge blue whale” that “can’t break through the net.”
CMSD program works to reverse alarming suicide rates
The E-Team broke the story on News 5 in February that one in five high school-aged students enrolled in Cleveland Metropolitan School District tried to kill themselves in 2015. It’s the highest suicide-attempt rate out of any major urban school district in the United States.
The stressors of being a teen are elevated in Cleveland, where more than 70 percent of the student population lives in poverty and estimated 4,000 students are homeless. But there is help; in the same way schools protect a student’s safety, in Cleveland, they’ve now learned they need to protect a student’s soul.
Andrew Dickens: Grief, depression and suicide
One story struck me most this week. It was not the snap election in the UK. It was not the posturing of North Korea and America’s response. It was not the firing of Bill O’Reilly. It was not the historic pay equity deal, or the immigration tweaks and debate.
It was Prince Harry’s remarkable 27 minute interview with the Telegraph where he told of 20 years of grief and depression.
It began with his mother Diana’s untimely death, his recovery, and acceptance in recent years. It was a story that many can relate to. A story of loss and regret and an unhealthy response. But this was a Prince of England. A member of a firm that values image, duty and a stiff upper lip. And here he was telling the truth.
We remember the little boy marching with his brother and uncles behind his mother’s coffin. The boy who broke all our hearts. The boy who developed into a troubled man and then over recent years gained our respect. Here he was revealing his 2 decades of grief.
Study Cites Factors Linked to Suicide in the Young
Teens and young adults who come from troubled backgrounds have a greater risk of killing themselves, a new study suggests.
Kids exposed to suicide in the family, parental mental health disorders and substantial parental criminal behavior had the highest suicide rates, the study found.
The findings “emphasize the importance of understanding the social mechanisms of suicide and the need for effective interventions early in life aimed at alleviating the suicide risk in disadvantaged children,” according to study author Charlotte Bjorkenstam from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, and her colleagues.
How ’13 Reasons Why’ gets suicide wrong: Voices
People who don’t want to live need professional help. You can’t save them with kindness.
For most viewers of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, the message is clear: Be kind, it could save a life. But that isn’t what I watched.
Since its release on March 31, viewers have taken to Twitter and other social media platforms to proclaim their love for the show, stressing how important they think it is. I’ve seen people go so far as to suggest it become required viewing for middle and high school students, despite the graphic displays of assault and, ultimately, suicide.
Work on Steel Suicide Net at Golden Gate Bridge to Begin
A long talked-about suicide barrier is being installed on the Golden Gate Bridge.
Officials gathered at the Golden Gate Bridge Thursday to mark the start of work on a long talked-about suicide barrier that families of suicide victims hope will prevent other deaths.
More than 1,400 people have jumped to their deaths since the bridge opened in 1937. Their survivors have lobbied bridge authorities for some kind of barrier.
“As satisfying as this is and seeing everyone here, we wish the occasion was for something else,” said John Brooks, who lost his daughter, Casey, to suicide in 2008 when she was 17.
“We did this so other people don’t have to face the pain and heartache,” Brooks told the Marin Independent Journal. “Eight years ago I never thought we would be at this point.”
It will cost more than $200 million to install the stainless steel netting along the length of the 1.7-mile (2.7 kilometer) bridge. Bridge officials say the project will be completed by 2021.
Frequent nightmares increase the risk of suicide, new study shows
Everyone’s woken up in the middle of the night from a nightmare, a little panicked and uneasy, only to remind themselves it was just a dream.
But according to a new study, nightmares — especially frequent ones — can have serious repercussions in real life. Researchers in Finland found that such dreams slightly increase the risk of suicide in the general population.
The complete Nature report referenced by the Sacramento Bee:
Nightmares as predictors of suicide: an extension study including war veteransNightmares as predictors of suicide: an extension study including war veterans
Nightmares are intensive dreams with negative emotional tone. Frequent nightmares can pose a serious clinical problem and in 2001, Tanskanen et al. found that nightmares increase the risk of suicide. However, the dataset used by these authors included war veterans in whom nightmare frequency – and possibly also suicide risk – is elevated. Therefore, re-examination of the association between nightmares and suicide in these data is warranted. We investigated the relationship between nightmares and suicide both in the general population and war veterans in Finnish National FINRISK Study from the years 1972 to 2012, a dataset overlapping with the one used in the study by Tanskanen et al. Our data comprise 71,068 participants of whom 3139 are war veterans.
Communication, teamwork key to suicide response
Before he was vice president for student affairs at Marquette, Xavier Cole found himself dealing with a student death by suicide.
Added to the tragedy was extensive media coverage that garnered public attention.
“It wasn’t just the tragedy that goes along with losing a young person in their prime. It was also a very public exposure of the incident for the family and the university,” Cole said. “Any time, for the public, there’s media interest in an event like this, it’s a double-edged sword.”
In Wake of Michigan Boy Killing Himself, How Common Is Youth Suicide? What Parents Should Know
An 11-year-old Michigan boy’s death last week — three weeks after he hanged himself — has drawn national attention to youth suicide prevention and how that intersects with social media.
Police in Marquette, Michigan, say they have brought charges against an unidentified juvenile after a boy was found unresponsive following a reported suicide attempt on March 14. Though authorities declined to identify either child involved, Katrina Goss told PEOPLE her son Tysen Benz was the boy who died.
Goss claimed the child who has been charged is a girl Tysen knew, who faked her own suicide on social media before Tysen killed himself. (The girl’s family did not return messages seeking comment; it’s unclear if the child who has been charged has entered a plea.)
PEOPLE spoke with multiple experts to better place Tysen’s case in context and to provide information and resources for other families.
The experts reiterated a common point: Suicidal crises can be overcome with help, and help is out there.
11-Year-Old Boy Killed Himself After Girlfriend Faked Suicide, Mom Says
Charges are pending against a juvenile after a Michigan mother said a social media prank in which her 11-year-old son’s girlfriend faked her own suicide led the boy to take his own life.
Katrina Goss said Thursday that she found her son, Tysen Benz, hanging by the neck March 14 in his room after seeing social media posts and texts that his 13-year-old girlfriend had killed herself.
Teen leads suicide prevention effort
An Encinitas high school student who lives near the coastal railroad tracks wants to take rail safety a step further.
Kassidy Kanner, 18, recently launched a campaign calling for suicide-prevention signs to be installed along the Leucadia stretch of the rail line where two people have died this year, including a man who was fatally struck by a train on March 15.
Nearly 12,000 people have already signed Kanner’s online petition in support of the signs, which would display a hotline number and messages urging suicidal people to seek help. Similar signs have been installed by transit districts elsewhere in the country, including Northern California, Pennsylvania and Illinois.
3 student suicides prompt changes at Middletown High School
There were seven teen suicides in Butler and Warren counties last year, and three of them were committed by Middletown High School students.
Whatever the challenges Middletown residents are facing are also felt in the high school hallways, said MHS Principal Camela Cotter in an exclusive interview with the Journal-News.
“A school simply is a reflection of the community,” Cotter said. “What goes on in the community usually comes in and happens in your school. Whatever happens in Middletown happens in the school.”
Of the recent incidents, Cotter said that two students committed suicide over the summer and a third over Christmas break in 2016.
Suicide is the third-leading cause of death, after accidents and homicide, for 15- to 24-year-olds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s also thought that at least 25 attempts are made for every one teen suicide completed, the agency said.
Can We Talk? Hayden Houlton tragically lost both his brothers to suicide
TWO brothers, both in the prime of their lives and both lost to suicide.
Hayden Houlton is only 26 but knows the horrific toll that suicide can wreak on a family. His elder brother Ben took his own life aged 20 and two years later his younger brother Jason also committed suicide, at the age of 17.
For years, worried about his brothers’ privacy and his family being perceived as “weak”, the medical student from Sydney’s northern beaches did not talk about the impact of such a heartbreaking loss.
His life fell to pieces. He shut himself off from friends, began overeating and became depressed.
It was only through a support network of loved ones and mental health experts that he came back from the edge. And it was only the thought of being able to help someone else that gave him the strength to talk about his experience.
Traveling Minnesota art exhibit aims to ‘break the stigma’ of suicide
An oversized red bandanna covers her small head of brown hair. She’s missing a tooth. She stands in front of flowery green and gold wallpaper, her cherubic face exuding warmth and innocence.
It’s this image her mother clings to in her darkest moments. “I can’t let her grow up without a mother,” writes Alice Blessing, who painted her 7-year-old daughter’s portrait. “So I have to get better.”
Blessing’s painting, along with nearly 50 other high-quality pieces in the exhibit “What’s Left,” can be enjoyed, safely, from afar. But these artists hope we will step closer, cross the line of comfort and denial, to a more intimate space.
A space where honest dialogue about mental illness and suicide can begin.
“I want people to see the person and not the illness,” said John Bauer, a Grand Rapids, Minn., public radio host who produced the exhibit and is taking it across Minnesota.
Middle school suicides double in seven years
The Center for Disease Control reports the number of middle school children ending their life by suicide doubled from 2007 to 2014 and now exceeds the number of middle school children who die annually in auto accidents.
Ninteen percent of students 15 years old or younger who were surveyed (high school students) considered attempting suicide in the last 12 months; 12.5% of those surveyed report making a plan about how they would attempt suicide in the last 12 months; Almost 11% of 10th graders surveyed reported making a suicide attempt in the last 12 months.
Suicide Risk Assessment Doesn’t Work
New research suggests it doesn’t help—and it may hurt—to rely on a formula to predict the risk of a suicide.
It is 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon. “My wife is suicidal, Doctor. If you don’t admit her to the hospital, you’ll have blood on your hands on Monday…”
If the apparently suicidal patient is not hospitalized it could be a difficult weekend for the patient, of course, but also for the understandably worried spouse and even the psychiatrist. The psychiatrist would be aware that the guidelines for patients with suicidal behaviors recommend estimating the likelihood of suicide by combining clinical findings (such as suicidal thoughts and behaviors) with multiple risk factors to judge the seriousness of the suicide risk. The guidelines go on to suggest that if the patient does die by suicide that psychiatrists should contact their attorney. When the risk of suicide is high, it is not surprising that doctors often take what seems to be the safest option and arrange for hospital admission.
But how good are we at predicting the level of suicide risk? Not very good at all, it seems, according to two recent meta-analyses of the last forty years of suicide risk research. One group of authors even suggests that the process of suicide risk assessment itself might increase the likelihood of suicide.
Suicide leading cause of death in several Kansas age categories
Suicide remains the second leading cause of death for the 15-24 age group. Suicide also remains the second leading cause of death for the 25-44 age group. Suicide has fallen to the fourth leading cause of death for the 5-14 age group. It remains the fifth leading cause of death for the 45-64 age group.
A stone thrown into the middle of a pond causes a ripple effect above and below the water’s surface — just as a suicide causes a ripple throughout a town, the effects of which may not be immediately visible.
“On the broader lever, the macro level, the community impact of a suicide is pretty negative,” said Andy Brown, executive director of Headquarters Counseling Center. “When we lose a friend or loved one to suicide, it impacts our own mental and emotional well-being and can cause a ripple effect through a community.”
Antidepressant Dose Doubled Before Girl Streamed Her Suicide
A month before a South Florida foster child live-streamed her suicide on Facebook Live, a doctor doubled her dosage of an antidepressant.
The Miami Herald reported Sunday that Zoloft was the antidepressant prescribed to 14-year-old Naika Venant, and it has a critical warning that it increases the risk of suicide in children.
The drug had a “black box” warning — the strongest advisory from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
A spokesman for Zoloft’s parent company, Pfizer, says the black box warning includes a note to families and caregivers about monitoring patients for suicidal thoughts or unusual changes in behavior.A month before a South Florida foster child live-streamed her suicide on Facebook Live, a doctor doubled her dosage of an antidepressant.
The Miami Herald reported Sunday that Zoloft was the antidepressant prescribed to 14-year-old Naika Venant, and it has a critical warning that it increases the risk of suicide in children.
The drug had a “black box” warning — the strongest advisory from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
A spokesman for Zoloft’s parent company, Pfizer, says the black box warning includes a note to families and caregivers about monitoring patients for suicidal thoughts or unusual changes in behavior.
Rae of Hope Launch Party raising funds for teen suicide prevention
Tuesday afternoon, Scott Johnson waved goodbye to his employees and said, “See you later, I’m going to counseling.”
Johnson said customers who overheard were surprised he was so open about his mental health, which many people perceive as taboo.
“This is what we want to change. The goal of the Rae of Hope Foundation is to change the tide of mental health and suicide,” he said.
The Rae of Hope Foundation was formed by family and friends of McKenna Rae Johnson, a Kearney teen lost to suicide on Jan. 9. The foundation’s mission is to prevent teen suicide by fostering awareness, resilience and social change.
Stanford psychiatrist advised producers on new teen-suicide drama
Rona Hu helped adapt a popular young-adult novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, into a Netflix series that aims to depict teen suicide without romanticizing it.
When Stanford psychiatrist Rona Hu, MD, was invited to help shape the script of a Netflix series about teenage suicide, she knew it would be an unusually good opportunity to communicate with teenagers about mental health issues.
The new series, 13 Reasons Why, which premieres March 31, is based on a bestselling 2007 novel about a high-school student who dies by suicide after being bullied by her classmates.
The Forces Driving Middle-Aged White People’s ‘Deaths Of Despair’
In 2015, when researchers Anne Case and Angus Deaton discovered that death rates had been rising dramatically since 1999 among middle-aged white Americans, they weren’t sure why people were dying younger, reversing decades of longer life expectancy.
Now the husband-and-wife economists say they have a better understanding of what’s causing these “deaths of despair” by suicide, drugs and alcohol.
After suicide, grieving partners live with health risks
People who lose a partner to suicide are at increased risk for physical and mental problems including cancer, mood disorders like depression, and even herniated discs.
The findings underscore the need for support systems for bereaved partners and others who have lost loved ones to suicide, since interventions addressing complicated grief could help mitigate some of the effects, researchers say.
“Health care providers, friends, and neighbors often do not know how best to support those bereaved by suicide.”
More than 800,000 people around the world die by suicide each year—and the suicide rate in many countries, including the United States, is on the rise.
Suicide risk is higher in first year after deliberate self-harm
Self-harm with a firearm is associated with highest suicide risk in the following month.
New findings suggest that American adults who survive deliberate self-harm are at increased risk of suicide in the first year after such an event, indicating a need to direct clinical interventions in the critical 12 months following such episodes.
Groups tackle rising suicide deaths with support
What Brenda Melanson of Winchendon wants people to know about her son Luc, a friendly, athletic boy who died from suicide six years ago at 14, is not how Luc died. “It’s the fact that I lost my child,” she said.
Last fall, Ms. Melanson started leading a suicide survivors support group at Heywood Hospital in Gardner to help others share their grief and continue on.
At the other end of Worcester County, Abby LaFountain, a senior at Tantasqua Regional High School in Sturbridge, shared her battle with depression and attempt to take her life in a video she made with the guidance department and students in the video studio class. She was prompted to seek help after a new suicide prevention program at the school last year made her realize she suffered from a mental illness.
Silent no more: Mother hopes to help remove suicide stigma by telling her story
On Feb. 17, 1998, a baby boy was born amid the dreams many mothers have for their children.
No mother holds a newborn in her arms and imagines losing her child to suicide, but that baby, Dakota Jay Rawlins, took his life on April 3, 2016. He was 18 years old.
“I didn’t say the word (suicide) for a whole month,” said his mom, Valerie Rawlins of Smithfield. “Since then, I have been more open, I’ve decided I don’t want to hide it, I don’t want it to be taboo like it is.
The General Who Went to War On Suicide
A commander with a history of depression created a unique way to keep his soldiers from killing themselves. The Army had other ideas.
On the evening of July 19, 2010, Major General Dana Pittard, the new commander of Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, got a call from the base’s 24-hour duty officer. A SWAT team had been sent to the house of a young sergeant named Robert Nichols. Nichols was inside with a gun, threatening to kill himself.
Pittard arrived at the soldier’s home just in time to see the soldier step out of the house, put the gun to his chest and fire. Neighbors and police crowded the street, but Pittard was the only officer from the Army base at the scene. He went home, where his boxes were still packed from his move 10 days before, feeling disturbed and helpless.
Nichols was the first of Pittard’s soldiers who died under his command at Fort Bliss. Others followed. A soldier from Fort Bliss’ 11th Air Defense Artillery brigade, which had recently returned from a tour in the Middle East, committed suicide. Another from the same brigade soon overdosed on prescription drugs.
Suicide, social stigma and same-sex marriage
Suicide is the second leading cause of death in U.S. young people ages 10 to 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so when the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics publishes a study that shows a significant decrease in suicide attempts in young people, it’s worth taking note.
A study published last month stated that legalized same-sex marriage saw a drop in suicide attempts among high school students. The effect was doubled for lesbian, gay and bisexual students.
Gun violence and suicide by firearm is a public health epidemic
When Americans think of gun violence, we typically think of homicide and the never-ending debate over Second Amendment rights. But we rarely consider gun violence —and the growing rate of suicide by firearms — as a public health epidemic.
There were 36,252 gun deaths in the United States in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. America’s firearms homicide rate is 25 times greater than the average of other high-income countries.
In fact, guns have killed more Americans since 1968 than in all the combined deaths on the battlefields of all American wars. These numbers are astounding.
Practical steps you can use to prevent suicide
There’s no catch-all cure. But there are things that you can do to prevent suicide.
At its core, suicidal thoughts are brought on by a sense of hopelessness. Though not all tell of their intent to die by suicide, there are often warning signs that may foretell these feelings. In fact, everyone must be engaged in order to help make a dent in the epidemic of suicide.
Jobs with highest risk of suicide for men and women revealed
Care workers of both genders face a suicide risk that is almost twice the national average, according to the data
Women working in culture, media and sport and male construction workers are most at risk of dying from suicide according to new data.
An analysis by the Office for National Statistics commissioned by Public Health England and published on Friday shows that amongst women, the risk of suicide is 23 per cent higher for nurses than the national average, and 42 per cent higher for primary school teachers.
For women working in culture, media and sport, the figure shoots up to 69 per cent.
CAPS expands program, releases new suicide prevention videos
As “CAPS Suicide Prevention – A Focus on Students” — a short informational film about student experiences with mental illness — began to play, LSA junior Ryan Marshall appeared on screen and shared his own experience with depression. He detailed the isolation he felt, as well as the immense pressures to perform both academically and socially at such a high-ranked university.
Every year, 24,000 students attempt suicide on college campuses in the United States. Through the release of three new suicide prevention videos, as well as the “Do something: Stop Student Suicide” initiative, the University of Michigan Counseling and Psychological Services is working to provide students and faculty with the tools needed to identify students at risk.
Trends in Suicide by Level of Urbanization — United States, 1999–2015
Suicide is a major and continuing public health concern in the United States. During 1999–2015, approximately 600,000 U.S. residents died by suicide, with the highest annual rate occurring in 2015 (1). Annual county-level mortality data from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) and annual county-level population data from the U.S. Census Bureau were used to analyze suicide rate trends during 1999–2015, with special emphasis on comparing more urban and less urban areas.
U.S. Suicide Rates Rising Faster Outside Cities
Although the U.S. suicide rate has been rising gradually since 2000, suicides in less urban areas are outpacing those in more urban areas, according to a new federal report.
“Geographic disparities in suicide rates might be associated with suicide risk factors known to be highly prevalent in less urban areas, such as limited access to mental health care, made worse by shortages in behavioral health care providers in these areas, and greater social isolation,” the researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote.
Report shows alarming suicide trend among teens
New numbers show an alarming number of high school students in our state are attempting suicide. On average, two students per high school classroom in North Carolina tried to kill themselves last year.
“It’s one of those things you never think will happen to you,” explained Nikki Warren, whose brother Greg died by suicide. Warren knows now that hindsight is 20-20.
“Looking back, he would cancel plans at the last minute,” she said. “He was napping a lot. There were signs we didn’t see.”
Some Gun Laws Tied to Lower Suicide Rates
Background checks and waiting periods for gun purchases are associated with lower suicide rates, a new study reports.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the national suicide rate is now 13 per 100,000, a 30-year high.
Surviving After Suicide
Survivors of suicide represent “the largest mental health casualties related to suicide” (Edwin Shneidman, PH.D., AAS Founding President)
There are currently over 36,000 suicides annually in the USA. It is estimated that for every suicide there are at least 6 survivors. Some suicidologists believe this to be a very conservative estimate. Berman (2011) reported that the number of survivors estimated varied depending on who defined themselves as a survivor.
Based on the 6 survivors per suicide estimate, approximately 6 million Americans became survivors of suicide in the last 25 years.
Russian Activists Take On The Fight Against An Online Suicide Game
A growing phenomenon among teens is prompting activists to fight back against child suicide
A group of young activists backed by the Kremlin and known for their efforts in cracking down on homosexuality in Russia has taken on a new cause: curbing a wave of teen “suicide games” on the internet.
“It is important for us to make the internet cleaner and safer,” said Anna Rogacheva, the project manager for the Media Guard, a spinoff of the Young Guard formed in 2005 as part of President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party efforts to get young people involved in politics. “And the propaganda of suicidal behavior went too far and it stems from a problem that psychologists call ‘social loneliness.’”
What every parent needs to know about teenage suicide
Ms. J, a mother of two, is very concerned about her 16-year-old daughter, Stephanie, who seems sad and tearful. Stephanie has not been sleeping well and has lost quite a bit of weight the last two months, but she is not trying to diet. She often talks of having excessive feelings of guilt. Ms. J. has a history of suicide in her own family history. She lost her father and an uncle to suicide; both killed themselves with a shotgun. Ms. J gave all the family’s guns to a friend and is now less worried about Stephanie. Should she be less worried?
Are YOUR children playing the Blue Whale challenge? Police warn British parents over ‘suicide game behind hundreds of Russian teen deaths’
British police are warning parents about the dangers of a sick social media ‘game’ that’s said to be responsible for hundreds of teenage suicides in Russia.
The ‘Blue Whale challenge’ encourages at-risk participants to take part in a series of tasks like cutting themselves every day for 50 days.
They are then instructed to kill themselves on the final day of the sick ‘challenge’.
Washington Couple Whose Son Committed Suicide Help Other Teens Struggling with Mental Illness: ‘There is Hope’
Jordan Binion intently stared out his kitchen window, fully expecting Drake or Justin Timberlake to arrive on his doorstep, whisking him away to a musical career that would make him famous.
Instead, Binion’s increasing mental illness drove him to take his own life with a self-inflicted gunshot in 2010 just days after the Washington state boy turned 17 years old. His parents Deb and Willie Binion of Graham, Washington, were outraged that under the law at that time, a clearly psychotic Jordan had been able to sign himself out of a Seattle hospital without the treatment that might have saved him.
“Jordan Binion was just the kind of lost and hurting teenager who might have found help if laws and hospital requirements were different,” family friend Peggy Wright says. “(His parents) have successfully lobbied the State of Washington for change in this law.”
There are lots of things guys don’t talk about but if you’re having suicidal thoughts, it’s important to tell someone. It can be tough to talk but you’re not alone and we can help you get through it.
Experts, advocates react to youth suicide report
Federal report affirms local work, points to ways to improve students’ wellness, strengthen suicide-prevention efforts
For a community that has done much soul searching in the wake of two youth suicide clusters over the last eight years, the findings of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report on the subject released Friday are sobering, but not surprising.
The value of the report, experts and community leaders said in interviews with the Weekly, is to provide an endorsement of efforts already underway, a roadmap for work going forward and a reminder of the importance of work yet to be done to prevent youth suicide in Palo Alto and Santa Clara County.
UPDATE: Was a Game Called ‘Blue Whale’ Responsible for Dozens of Suicides in Russia?
While certain groups on social media have been accused of promoting suicide, they have not been found to have directly caused an uptick in young people taking their own lives.
What is the Blue Whale online ‘suicide game’ and how many teenage deaths have been linked to it in Russia?
Cops fear vulnerable youngsters are being swayed to take their own lives through sick social media accounts,
The Blue Whale ‘suicide game’ is believed to be an online social media group which is encouraging people to kill themselves.
It’s thought a ‘group administrator’ assigns ‘daily tasks’ to members, which they have to complete for 50 days.
They include self-harming, watching horror movies and waking up at unusual hours, but these gradually get more extreme.
But on the 50th day, the controlling manipulators behind the game reportedly instruct the youngsters to commit suicide.
FSU researcher’s breakthough may predict suicide attempts with 80% accuracy
A groundbreaking project led by a Florida State University researcher makes an exponential leap in suicide prediction, potentially giving clinicians the ability to predict who will attempt suicide up to two years in advance with 80 percent accuracy.
FSU Psychology researcher Jessica Ribeiro feels an urgency to confront this relentless problem. Shadowing her research is the ever-present awareness that 120 Americans take their lives every day, nearly 45,000 a year.
Suicide prevention education in school
What do you know about suicide? What do you think you know about it?
Betsy Sobkowski, Warren Area High School counselor, said, in the past three years, part of her job has been to try to raise awareness and educate students about suicide in an attempt to prevent it.
For instance, said Sobkowski, suicide surpasses car accidents as the cause of death in students ages 15 to 19. She also said that contrary to popular belief, it’s often the people who don’t talk about suicide who are the most serious about it.
Depression and anxiety, said Sobkowski, are the most common symptoms of a larger problem. Being aware of what those symptoms are, she said, is integral to helping prevent a problem from coming to the point where the person suffering from them attempts suicide. Being able to recognize the symptoms in themselves and in others is step one to preventing both suicide attempts and completed suicide.
Suicide survivor outreach program in development
When someone commits suicide, those who love them are left reeling. Members of teams dedicated to reaching out to suicide survivors can bring comfort and healing.
On Thursday evening, community members are invited to discuss the formation of a Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS) Team. Currently, LOSS teams exist in Lincoln, Papillion, Kearney and Norfolk, and others are being developed.
“Each death by suicide in the U.S. leaves behind 115 people, including 25 who felt the death had a devastating effect” and who might need assistance, said Dr. Donald Belau, a psychologist and the clinical director of the Lincoln/Lancaster County LOSS Team.
Facebook turns to artificial intelligence to help prevent suicides
The social network has rolled out new tools in tandem with partners
Facebook is using a combination of pattern recognition, live chat support from crisis support organizations and other tools to prevent suicide, with a focus on its Live service.
There is one death by suicide every 40 seconds and over 800,000 people kill themselves every year, according to the World Health Organization. “Facebook is in a unique position—through friendships on the site—to help connect a person in distress with people who can support them,” the company said Wednesday.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Partners with Charleston Non-Profit
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced Tuesday that the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is partnering with First Choice Services, a local non-profit organization based in Charleston, to answer calls from West Virginians in times of need… According to the DHHR, 340 West Virginians died by suicide in 2015, making it the 14th leading cause of death in the state. Last year, 40 percent of West Virginia callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline were veterans.
Suicides up 40 percent over 10-year period across Massachusetts
There were 608 suicides in Massachusetts in 2014, more than the combined number of deaths attributable to homicide and motor vehicle accidents, according to a report placed on file with the Legislature by the state Department of Public Health.
The report, submitted by Public Heath Commissioner Monica Bharel and dated Feb. 1, found the suicide rate in Massachusetts has increased an average of 3.1 percent per year since 2004, with about 40 percent more suicides in 2014 compared to 2004. The 2014 numbers are the most recently available data.
Machine-learning Algorithms Can Predict Suicide Risk More Readily than Clinicians, Study Finds
Each year in the United States, more than 40,000 people die by suicide, and from 1999 to 2014, the suicide rate increased 24 percent. You might think that after generations of theories and data, we would be close to understanding how to prevent self-harm, or at least predict it. But a new study concludes that the science of suicide prediction is dismal, and the established warning signs about as accurate as tea leaves.
There is, however, some hope. New research shows that machine-learning algorithms can dramatically improve our predictive abilities on suicides. In a new survey in the February issue of Psychological Bulletin, researchers looked at 365 studies from the past 50 years that included 3,428 different measurements of risk factors, such as genes, mental illness and abuse. After a meta-analysis, or a synthesis of the results in these published studies, they found that no single risk factor had clinical significance in predicting suicidal ideation, attempts or completion.
Russian teenagers committing suicide ‘as part of bizarre social media GAME called Blue Whale’, police say
• Two schoolgirls fell to their deaths after taking part in Blue Whale suicide game
• It is understood game masters set the participants tasks via social media
• Teens complete tasks like cutting themselves and it ends in suicide on day 50
• Police are investigating given Russia has suffered similar problems historically
Police in Russia are investigating a rush of teenage suicide attempts amid fears that they may have been manipulated by sinister social media groups.
Two schoolgirls fell to their deaths from a building on the weekend prompting fears they were influenced into doing it by games masters behind a craze called Blue Whale.
Teenagers complete tasks like cutting themselves in the build-up to them being told to kill themselves on day 50 of being involved in the game.
What’s behind the student suicides sweeping Hong Kong?
The two boys put on their school uniforms, left home and then killed themselves.
A 15-year-old leapt to his death at Times Square in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay; days before, he told his parents that he was unhappy at school.
This month, at least five students in Hong Kong took their own lives.
Teen suicide attempts fell as same-sex marriage became legal
Teen suicide attempts in the U.S. declined after same-sex marriage became legal and the biggest impact was among gay, lesbian and bisexual kids, a study found.
The research found declines in states that passed laws allowing gays to marry before the Supreme Court made it legal nationwide. The results don’t prove there’s a connection, but researchers said policymakers should be aware of the measures’ potential benefits for youth mental health.
Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for all U.S. teens. Suicidal behavior is much more common among gay, lesbian and bisexual kids and adults; about 29 percent of these teens in the study reported attempting suicide, compared with just 6 percent of straight teens.
After son’s suicide, dad starts ‘The Kindness Challenge’
HOLMDEL, N.J. – A New Jersey father mourning the suicide of his son figured a few dozen family friends might join the page he launched on Facebook, his attempt to share stories of kindness and to urge people to do good deeds without expecting anything in return.
Less than a month later, Dennis Vassallo’s “The Kindness Challenge” page has more than 44,000 followers. Dozens of posts each day share stories of kindness, including heartwarming photos, words of thanks to doctors from cancer patients, and motivational messages.
The page has become an oasis amid all the division, rancor and anger online — a big virtual hug.
STUDY: Antidepressants linked to higher rates of suicide and self-harm
Evidence continues to pile up about the serious risks of taking antidepressants, and a new study provides additional proof that these risks extend beyond the popular SSRI class of drugs. A study out of the University of Nottingham links some popular antidepressants to a higher rate of suicide and self-harm among people suffering from depression between the ages of 20 and 64.
Shift In How We Think About Suicide Prevention Needed
This fundamental shift in thinking affects how we deliver care for people at risk of suicide. Proactive identification of individuals with suicidal behavior disorder and then treating those individuals with evidence-based practices will deliver the most impact. The Zero Suicide framework, developed by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, offers the best approach for doing so.
Idaho Suicide coalition working on changes to help lower suicide rates
Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in Idaho among those who are ages 10 to 44. In fact, there were 361 suicides in Idaho in 2015. That’s almost one suicide per day. In 2015, Idaho moved from ninth in the nation to fifth-highest for suicides per capita.
Those stats are according to the Idaho Suicide Prevention Coalition, who is in Boise this week hoping to encourage some policy changes.
Wednesday was Suicide Advocacy Prevention Day at the Capitol and so the coalition presented its ideas on how to improve the growing rates.
Local student shares story of suicide attempt after bullying
Counselors spoke with students at Anderson High School Monday, February 13, after a classmate committed suicide over the weekend.
Authorities have not said if they know why he did it. Another local 15-year-old, Xia Whitfield, was bullied at school to the point she didn’t want to live. She shared her story with Local 12 and talked about what could have made a difference.
Suicide increases on Valentine’s Day
“Valentine’s day is the day of love, and people that commit suicide usually feel unloved or feel unworthy to love those that they’re with,” Dr. John Robertson said.
Psychologists believe there is a connection between depression and suicide, and the day of love only brings awareness to those who feel lonely.
“They feel like they’re a burden on their lives, their loved ones would be better without them,” Robertson said.
The disturbing trend of live-streamed suicides
Just like that, Naika Venant was live.
The 14-year-old girl was on Facebook, broadcasting from a bathroom at her foster home in southeastern Florida. Then, she was hanging from a scarf tied to a shower’s glass door frame – a deeply painful and personal moment playing out so publicly on social media.
A friend saw the video stream on Facebook Live and called 911, but officers were sent to the wrong address.
By the time they got to the foster home in Miami Gardens, Florida, it was too late: Naika had committed suicide.
Looking for answers in a child’s suicide
Cincinnati Public Schools called the death of 8-year-old Gabe Taye an accident because medical experts believed he could not have understood what he was doing.
But the Hamilton County Coroner called the boy’s death suicide.
What drove the boy to end his life?
Contemplating loss: Art show seeks to shatter suicide stigma
An empty school desk. A chest filled with mementos left behind. Voices of loss and desperation, repeated through the handset of a rotary phone.
These are a few of the pieces on display in a traveling multimedia art exhibition exploring suicide, a new offering of the Crossing Arts Gallery at Franklin Arts Center. The exhibit—”What’s Left: Lives Touched by Suicide”—opened Friday to more than 50 people with a presentation from its project director, John Bauer.
Bauer, who lost his daughter to suicide in 2013, said the project is intended to break through the stigma surrounding mental illness.
Suicide wave grips Columbia University
A disturbing wave of seven suicides and likely drug overdoses has swept through Columbia University so far this school year — and students say fiercely competitive academics and inadequate campus counseling programs are in large part to blame.
The student deaths include three in January alone — two of whom police suspect OD’d, plus an exchange student from Japan who killed herself by leaping from the seventh-floor window of her Broadway dorm.
The four other student suicides came once a month, from September through December, The Post has learned.
They include a promising 21-year-old journalist, a 29-year-old Navy veteran, a Moroccan student and an 18-year-old freshman from Brookfield, Missouri, named Taylor Gilpin Wallace.
“You don’t know how badly I want to jump out that window right now,” Wallace, who would be Columbia’s October suicide, said in a Facetime call from his John Jay Hall dorm room to his mother in Missouri — days before quitting school, moving back home and hanging himself in his basement.
Brain scans may shed light on bipolar disorder-suicide risk
Among teens and young adults with bipolar disorder, researchers have linked brain differences to an increased suicide risk.
About half of people with bipolar disorder – marked by extreme mood swings – attempt suicide and as many as one in five dies by suicide, the study authors said.
For the new study, teens and young adults with bipolar disorder underwent brain scans. Compared with those who had not attempted suicide, those who had attempted suicide had slightly less volume and activity in areas of the brain that regulate emotion and impulses, and in the white matter that connects those areas.
“The findings suggest that the frontal cortex is not working as well as it should to regulate the circuitry,” said study senior author Dr. Hilary Blumberg.
Point-Counterpoint: Focus on root causes, not guns, to eliminate suicide
Guns don’t cause suicide.
Just as we can’t blame all 15,000 murders per year on firearms, we can’t attribute the United States’ suicides, over 44,000 per year, entirely to its high rate of gun ownership and availability. While guns do play a part, it’s more important to consider the underlying causes of suicide rather than merely restricting access to guns.
Suicides by gun on the rise
A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more Americans are committing suicide with firearms.
According to the study, in 1999 there were 16,599 suicides committed with a firearm. In 2014, there were 21,334 gun suicides.
Kristina Hannon, vice president for behavioral health care at Family Guidance Center, says for every one homicide by a firearm there are nearly three suicides with a firearm. Prevention is key, she says.
“Here at Family Guidance Center, we don’t say, ‘Do you have guns in your home?’ We say ‘Where are your guns kept? How are your guns stored?’ because it’s the belief, especially in the Midwest culture where hunting and sporting with guns is so prevalent, that most people have weapons in their home,” Hannon says.
An Unusual Anti-Suicide Partnership Targeting Gun Shops Is Ramping Up
You probably wouldn’t expect a delegation from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to show up to the largest annual trade event for firearms sellers. And yet that’s what happened at the 2017 SHOT Show, which was held last week in Las Vegas. As Maura Ewing writes in the Trace, the delegation, perhaps a bit out-of-place-seeming “among the rows of retailers hawking the latest models of firearms and tactical gear … had come to promote a unique partnership with the show’s organizers on a nationwide suicide prevention program with the ambitious goal of stopping nearly 10,000 deaths in the next decade.”
Mother loses son to suicide, wants to send message to other kids who might feel the same
It has been four days since a sophomore at Loy Norrix School in Kalamazoo took his own life. His family said they’re blindsided by his tragic decision. Now they are looking for opportunities to tell others who might feel like their son to get help.
A vigil was held in Milham Park on Tuesday night. Hundreds of friends and family members showed up to light candles, share memories and listen to Alex Sanchez’s mom, Joanna, speak to them.
She said she is trying to cope with her son’s death by making it her mission to help other kids his age. She said she never saw suicide coming, but now she’s learned some of his friends knew he talked about taking his life. Now, this grieving mother has some advice to other parents and students out there.
New Data on Suicide Counts in Travis County: Millennials accounted for more than a quarter of recorded deaths by suicide in Travis County
Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among Travis County millennials, according to new statistics released by Austin Public Health’s Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit. The mortality data report, published last week, studied county mortality counts from 2010 through 2014 and found that more residents between the ages of 15 and 34 died by suicide than any other age group. Millennials accounted for more than a quarter of recorded deaths by suicide in Travis County – 193 of 655. Curiously, suicide was also one of the leading causes of death for local youth, ranking third for children aged 5 to 14.
Gun industry, suicide prevention forge unlikely alliance
Dr. Christine Moutier, medical director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, discusses an initiative with the National Shooting Sports Foundation to prevent suicide, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, in Las Vegas. It’s a difficult topic to discuss and an even tougher one to fix, fraught with politics and societal stigmas: people who kill themselves with a gun. But now two unlikely allies, the gun industry and a leading suicide prevention group, are coming together to tackle it.
Clark County expert urges parents to talk about suicide
A local psychologist says parents should talk to their children after public suicide attempts, like a recent Clark County teen who allegedly streamed her attempt to kill herself live on Facebook.
“If suicide attempts are being made publicly via Facebook Live than the level of exposure is increasing exponentially,” said Dr. Jordan Allison, a clinical psychologist with the Springfield Regional Medical Group.
Exposure to suicide is a risk factor for teens and adults, Allison said, and copycat suicides are more common in adolescents.
If a child is exposed to suicide in any way, he said, that’s a good time to bring up the subject with them and ask if they’ve ever though about harming themselves.
State, Community Alliance Poised To Expand Suicide Prevention
The Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention is working hard to help save lives even more in 2017.
Victoria Patti, Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention coordinator, said there has been a lot of work put in Chautauqua County, and the momentum isn’t stopping for this year.
Currently, the group is working on a strategic plan which will focus on a variety of areas. The need in Chautauqua County is great, that makes the organization that much more important, Patti said. The Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention was founded in 2011, and collaborates with a variety of community organizations, individuals and other agencies to educate the community on suicide prevention and intervention.
Teenage suicide: Two mothers tell their children’s stories
The BBC’s Jeremy Cooke follows the stories of two families with children who have struggled with mental health problems.
A government response to the rising number of suicides was announced earlier this week.
Theresa May unveiled plans to do more to help those, particularly young people, with mental health conditions.
Latest figures show that the number of young people calling Childline with suicidal thoughts has doubled in the last five years, to nearly 20,000 calls
How communities are rescuing teens from suicide’s deadly river
If you tell your iPhone to find a bridge you can jump from, Siri will ask if you want her to dial a suicide crisis line. Query Google about ways to kill yourself, and the first response is a link to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, with a button to launch live chat. A teenager struggling at most Utah schools can readily find a trained peer from Hope Squad to listen and help. Even a Facebook post that indicates suicidal thought may be answered by a crisis counselor from the national crisis line.
These personal and technological prompts mark progress in a journey to prevent teen and other suicides, but policymakers, legislators and others say the road to reducing suicides is very much under construction.
Leaders gather to discuss suicide prevention in teens
Social media is the worst thing ever to happen to the public schools. When we were kids, if we had something to say to someone, we had to say it in person. Now, you can sit in your room, 10 feet tall and bulletproof, and say whatever you want.
More than 50 community leaders, health care professionals and concerned citizens attended Monday’s Town Hall Meeting on Suicide.
The event, hosted by Extended Grace, brought together more than a dozen panelists to discuss suicide and mental illness in Grand Haven and the surrounding communities.
Michael Pyne, who chairs the Muskegon County Suicide Prevention Coalition, said these conversations aren’t easy to have, and many fear that talking about suicide leads to more people considering taking their own life. That’s simply not true, he said.
“Talking about suicide does not lead to suicide,” Pyne said. “The opposite, in fact, is true.”
Sharing suicide videos is dangerous. Facebook has failed us by allowing it
Late last year an American child, not yet a teenager, killed herself. A video has surfaced online which purportedly shows the girl recording herself via life stream video doing it.
Facebook Live is changing the world – but not in the way it hoped
Facebook’s betting big on everyone streaming their lives in real time, but has it unleashed a monster it can’t control?
I came across the video via Facebook. Someone alerted me to it less than a week after her death. I did what any reasonable person would do: I followed Facebook’s own advice and reported it for showing graphic details of self-harm or suicide.
Less than two hours later I received a reply. It wasn’t what I expected:
“We’ve reviewed the share you reported for showing someone injuring themselves and found that it doesn’t violate our Community Standards.”
Suicide is a national crisis. The law must stop hiding its true extent
n the UK, suicide is the leading cause of death among young people between 10-34, according to Office for National Statistics figures released for 2015. Suicide leaves parents, partners and families devastated and broken, as I know only too well following the death of my own son Christopher by suicide in 2009. As chairman of the charity Papyrus Prevention of Young Suicide, I know that I am not alone in feeling that the way in which coroners determine death in such cases can perpetuate stigma around suicide.
Suicide and older adults
Suicide is a very serious problem among older adults. Although people age 65 and older made up only 13.7 percent of the population in 2012, they accounted for 16.3 percent of the suicides. The most common cause for suicide in this age group and (and in general) is untreated depression. About one-third of those older than 65 experience depression, yet 75 percent of these are not being treated.
Identifying and Helping Prevent Student Suicide
The suicide of a former Central High School student this week has brought the issue of teen suicide back to the forefront.
Mental health professionals offered insight for students and parents to get help if they’re faced with that struggle.
Emily Reidford with the HOPE Team and Suicide Prevention Coalition says “we train people to help identify an emerging or active mental health crisis and refer that person to help and treatment. We do that absolutely for free all over the city for parents, for teachers, for the school bus drivers, coaches, clergy members, anyone with an active role in students’ lives.”
Suicide 3rd leading cause of death among teens
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says for every suicide there are 25 attempts.
Madeline Muth was 19 when she committed suicide 15 months ago Wednesday.
“She faced a lot of struggles throughout her life and she overcame many of them. However, there was a day that she was not able to deal with those [struggles],” said her father Dave Muth.
Since her death, Muth continues to spread awareness about suicide prevention by working closely with families who have been affected by suicide. He says it’s important for parents to find help for their children.
“It was very painful. We did everything we could for her. Our lives revolved around her,” Muth said.
Muth said Madeline struggled with mental health since she was 11.
Son’s suicide ‘stays with you forever’
Steve Wesener draws in a deep breath and sighs. Every time he and his wife Angela talk about Jonathan’s death, the scab on their grief breaks making their hearts bleed with sorrow, again.
This grief also bubbles to the surface each time they learn about another suicide. In October, another high school student from Edgar, their small town near Wausau, died from suicide and their hearts ached anew.
“This is not something you ‘get over’ or ‘move on’; its stays with you forever,” Angela Wesener said.
Special Report: Schools face surge in suicide attempts: Bay State panel formed to craft student lifelines
Bay State educators struggling with a surge of student suicides and attempts are getting help this winter as a panel set up in response to the Sandy Hook massacre spells out how to assist teens suffering from panic attacks, substance abuse, neighborhood violence, eating disorders and self-harm.
It’s being called the first such report of its kind nationwide that’s zeroing in on mental health fixes.
Special Report: Schools face surge in suicide attempts
Bay State panel formed to craft student lifelines
Bay State educators struggling with a surge of student suicides and attempts are getting help this winter as a panel set up in response to the Sandy Hook massacre spells out how to assist teens suffering from panic attacks, substance abuse, neighborhood violence, eating disorders and self-harm.
It’s being called the first such report of its kind nationwide that’s zeroing in on mental health fixes.