suicide prevention tagged posts

Why Are Children Taking Their Own Lives? What Can We Do?

Donna Holland Barnes, PhD

Donna Holland Barnes, PhD
President/Co-Founder, National Organization for People of Color Against Suicide
Howard University, Department of Psychiatry

Suicide is a painful and sensitive topic under any condition, but it becomes exponentially more so when we’re talking about the most vulnerable members of our society: children.

A recent study entitled “Suicide Trends Among Elementary School Aged Children in the United States,” published in JAMA Pediatrics, showed that the suicide rate among Black males between the ages of 5 to 11 has nearly doubled in the last two decades.

This is a shockingly young age bracket. While we know little about why these children are taking their own lives, we can only guess that there is a disconnect somewhere.  So where do we begin to address such a tragic and complicated issue?

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The Hospital Failed My Father – And Our Family

Jess and Dad

by Jessica

My father battled depression his entire life but two years ago he suffered a debilitating setback. My mother took him to the local hospital to get help. He stayed for a few days and did very well while he was there. He loved the staff and talked about them for days afterward.

A few weeks later, my dad’s depression worsened. My mother decided to take him to a bigger hospital because they had a psychiatric unit. She thought they would be more help than our local hospital. I went with them to offer my support.

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Suicide Prevention Efforts Aren’t Working. Here’s Why.

Donna Holland Barnes, PhD

Donna Holland Barnes, PhD
President/Co-Founder, National Organization for People of Color Against Suicide
Howard University, Department of Psychiatry

Now is a frustrating time to be working in suicide prevention. While death rates for the other leading causes of death are mostly decreasing or holding steady, death rates for suicide continue to climb. In 2000, the U.S. suicide rate was 10.4 deaths per 100,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). By 2011, the rate had climbed to 12.3 deaths per 100,000 people. Suicide rates among middle-age adults rose at an even higher rate, jumping nearly 30 percent between 1999 and 2010, according to the CDC.

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Mental Health Advocate Launches Suicide Prevention Campaign While In- flight

AJ French, CRSS
Executive Director of Sacred Creations

Anyone can start an awareness campaign. All it requires is passion and a willingness to speak out. AJ French is a mental health advocate who demonstrates that a little tenacity and the courage to speak up has the power to change lives.

The Illinois Suicide Prevention Alliance recently sent out an email saying that this is “a time to encourage people to add the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK (8255) number into the contact list on their phone. You never know when you will want to share it with someone who is struggling.” I was thinking about this on United Airlines Flight 4628 to New Jersey and asked the flight attendant if I could have one minute to make an announcement about the Suicide Prevention LIFELINE. She said yes and I made the announcement!

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Yes, It is OK2Talk About Your Mental Health Condition

Sen_Smith_hi In today’s CFYM post Gordon H. Smith, president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters and former U.S. Senator from Oregon (1997 to 2009) informs our readers about the innovative OK2Tallk campaign aimed at young adults. This program provides broadcasters with PSA’s to air on their network and features young adults as role models to support peers living with a mental health condition.

Yes, It is OK2Talk About Your Mental Health Condition

How are you doing?” This simple question is one of our most often used phrases, but rarely do we listen to the answer.

It’s our nature to say “fine, thanks” and go on with our day. You rarely – if ever – hear someone say “not well, I’m having a really tough time and would like to talk about it.”

But We Should

One in four Americans will experience a mental health condition this year. That’s more than 78 million people – or a few million more than the populations of California, Texas and Pennsylvania combined. Mental illness doesn’t care if you are tall, short, rich or poor. Mental illness doesn’t discriminate.

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Should We Screen Middle and High School Students for Mental Health Disorders?

MHA_il_Gold_JPG

90% of youth who die by suicide suffer from a treatable mental illness. 

65% experience symptoms for a full year prior to their death.

When we identify kids at risk, we can save lives.

Over 10 years ago, President George Bush accepted The New Freedom Commission on Mental Health recommendation that the federal and state governments work to implement broader access for youth mental health screenings as a matter of public health.  While we are still waiting for federal assistance, local organizations are taking up the challenge and offering free mental health screenings to middle and high school age students. One of those organizations, Mental Health America of Illinois (MHAI) has been quietly running a mental health screening program, Youth Screen, in Chicago-area schools since 2007.

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Keeping Our Loved Ones Safe and Getting Them Well

Families for Depression Awareness

FDA_logo_greenAs family caregivers and caring friends of people living with mood disorders or other mental health conditions, we want to help our loved ones by

  • keeping them safe
  • getting them care to get well; and
  • preventing suicides.

Sometimes people are in a state of mind that prevents them from making sound decisions. There are mental states (e.g., experiencing psychosis) and physical conditions (e.g., effects from a stroke) that can adversely affect a person’s usual good judgment. We agree with DBSA and others that, ideally, a person with a mental health condition will engage family members and friends as partners in wellness and in crisis. There will be a written plan and the legal documents necessary to ensure that care is pursued and provided according to the individual’s wishes as expressed when he or she was well. Mental health practitioners can make sure that families get information about this and should strongly encourage patients to bring a family member to at least the first appointment.

The Reality

In our experience, all too often these conversations and pre-planning have not occurred, and the family member must navigate the complex medical, insurance, and legal systems to get emergency care for their loved one.

Family members are frequently excluded from mental health care decisions, despite being the ones who often have the most pertinent knowledge and the greatest motivation to get someone the care they need to get well.

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