San Francisco Suicide Prevention (SFSP) 2015-07-01T18:59:57Z http://www.sfsuicide.org/feed/atom/ WordPress San Francisco Suicide Prevention http://www.blogger.com/profile/11080481867805176850 <![CDATA[Suicide Notes Infographic]]> http://www.sfsuicide.org/?guid=c1cb1f86fef616329ce7fe4083c32618 2014-09-08T23:10:27Z 2014-09-08T23:10:00Z


http://www.socialworkdegreecenter.com/suicide-notes/

]]>
San Francisco Suicide Prevention tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-9168579650937502087 2014-10-04T18:43:02.764-07:00 0
SFSP http://www.blogger.com/profile/06914903749318628162 <![CDATA[No Laughing Matter]]> http://www.sfsuicide.org/?guid=5b1e010fe89f6ae7553700377937f133 2014-08-20T22:09:12Z 2014-08-20T22:06:00Z




San Francisco and the world lost Robin Williams, one of its most beloved figures, to suicide Monday. Today we are all asking the same questions that families ask after a suicide: How could this have happened? Why didn't we see it coming? Why couldn't we have helped?
In the United States each year, there are 39,000 suicide deaths. That compares with 16,000 homicides and 33,000 highway vehicle deaths. How can we lose so many people to suicide and not know about it? What makes this happen and what can we do to stop it?
Suicide is the result of pain. Suicide happens when people are in so much pain that they kill their bodies to kill the pain. That pain may be emotional - it usually is in the United States - or it may be economic, physical or social pain (shame). The common denominator is that even though it is unbearable, it is largely invisible. Does this mean that there is nothing we can do?
At a moment when we have all lost someone we love to suicide, it is important to learn and understand that each of us is capable of saving someone else's life. Each of us who has felt invisible pain of any kind is an especially important force for saving the life of another person, who may save the life of yet another person in the future.
This is the moment when we can realize that at any given time 1 out of 5 of us is in pain. We can look for this pain, even though our culture trains us to ignore it. We are taught that it is a sign of weakness, of being unfit. We know now that it can exist anywhere for anyone - even for a man who has consistently given us joy.
We were captivated by the high energy characters Williams played, and by his perceptive and agile performances. Yet behind the laughs, information from Williams' publicist hints he possibly battled both severe depression and drug and alcohol addictions.
What do we look for? We look for people who talk about wanting to die by suicide. We are taught by our culture not to listen to them because they are trying to "attract attention. " But when one is drowning, one should be trying to attract attention. So we ask about the pain and we listen. We tell them we are here for them and we don't tell them that they shouldn't be feeling all this pain.
We don't even give them advice.
We also look for people who understand that suicide is a big decision and, who, rather than make it themselves, leave the decision up to the universe. They may, for example, hint about suicide - saying that they will be better off dead. Or they may act out their intent to die - giving away belongings or pets, making final arrangements, writing or painting about their death. We ask them about their pain and we listen. They are relieved that we notice and they can live. It is, for them, a real gift from us.
Some people are capable of using pain for laughter. Today perhaps each of us will use our grief to save a life.

When you need a friend

Local suicide crisis line centers are always a source of support for helping a friend through a crisis. Their telephone and computer services are staffed by local volunteers who can offer advice and the phone numbers of community resources. San Francisco Suicide Prevention offers resources at www.sfsuicide.org.
Crisis lines anywhere in the U.S. can be reached by calling 1-800-273-8255.
Eve R. Meyer is the executive director of San Francisco Suicide Prevention.

]]>
San Francisco Suicide Prevention tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-9168579650937502087 2014-10-04T18:43:02.764-07:00 0
San Francisco Suicide Prevention http://www.blogger.com/profile/11080481867805176850 <![CDATA[Golden Gate Bridge board OKs $76 million for suicide barrier]]> http://www.sfsuicide.org/?guid=95af8b2ceb66f21ea2ce66eee6f33966 2014-06-30T21:50:04Z 2014-06-30T21:50:00Z Michael Cabanatuan
Updated 8:20 am, Saturday, June 28, 2014

Over the years, hundreds of people have leaped to their deaths from the Golden Gate Bridge into the San Francisco Bay. Photo: Paul Chinn, The Chronicle

Over the years, hundreds of people have leaped to their deaths from the Golden Gate Bridge into the San Francisco Bay. Photo: Paul Chinn, The Chronicle
The decades-long effort to build a suicide barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge succeeded Friday as the transportation district's Board of Birectors OKd funding for nets that will be installed about three years from now.
"We did it," shouted a woman in the midst of a giant group hug, moments after the board of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District voted unanimously to approve a $76 million funding plan for installation of steel-cable nets 20 feet beneath the east and west edges of the bridge that are intended to deter people from leaping to their deaths or catch them if they do.
Supporters of the suicide net - most of them family members of people who have jumped to their deaths from the bridge - knew that the board was expected to finally approve the barrier after decades of death and debate. Still, more than a dozen, some clutching photographs of their deceased sons, daughters, partners and friends, spoke of the unending pain of losing loved ones to suicide and urged directors to approve the plan.
"The time of healing can only begin when the steady drip-drip-drip of bodies into the raging waters has stopped," said Dana Barks of Napa, whose son, Donovan, jumped to his death in 2008.
According to the Bridge Rail Foundation, which has worked for a barrier, at least 1,600 people have jumped to their deaths from the Golden Gate Bridge, including 46 last year. Many of their family members have joined the campaign for some kind of suicide barrier on the bridge. Some barrier supporters have become familiar faces as they've returned to speak to the bridge board time and again over the years.
After reading a series of Chronicle stories about bridge suicides in the 1970s, Roger Grimes started campaigning for a barrier, walking regularly on the bridge with a sign reading, "Please care: support a suicide barrier," as well as attending numerous meetings.

'It had to happen'

While he was often discouraged by the lack of support, he said after the vote, "I knew someday it would happen. It was so wrong. It had to happen."
Although the funding is lined up and the net is mostly designed, it will take about three years before it is built and installed, said Denis Mulligan, bridge district general manager.

Injured but alive

The net design was chosen out of five potential suicide barriers - the rest were all 10- to 12-foot fences or walls - in 2008. Two nets, made of thick steel cables, will be stretched the 1.7-mile length of the bridge two stories beneath its public sidewalks. The presence of the net, bridge officials hope, will deter anyone from jumping.
But if they do, Mulligan said, they'll probably be injured but alive. The net, suspended from posts, will have a slightly upward slope, and will collapse a bit if someone lands in it, making it difficult for the jumper to climb out. The bridge district will deploy a retrieval device to pluck jumpers from the net.
Nobody voiced any objections to the plan at Friday's meeting, but in the past critics have complained that a barrier would mar the scenic bridge's appearance and that it would simply drive suicidal people elsewhere.

Deter jumpers

Dr. Mel Blaustein, the medical director of psychiatry at St. Francis Hospital, said research shows that people deterred by barriers from jumping to their deaths do not go to other, nearby sites.
"We have scientific evidence of that," he said.
Suicide barriers on other bridges have proved to be successful in deterring jumpers, according to a study released by barrier backers. At the Ellington Street Bridge in Washington, D.C., suicides dropped from 25 in seven years to one in the five years after a barrier was erected. A span in Switzerland with a net saw suicides drop from 2.5 per year to none.
In approving the spending plan, the directors committed to spend $20 million in bridge tolls to the plan, something they had previously opposed. The rest of the money will come from $49 million in federal funds steered toward the barrier by Caltrans and theMetropolitan Transportation Commission, and $7 million in state mental health funds.

'Right thing to do'

Mulligan, in a report to the board, said building the barrier "simply is the right thing to do at this time."
Just before the vote, Director Janet Reilly, who helped campaign for barrier funds, voiced her agreement.
"It's not every day you have an opportunity to save a life, and hardly ever that you have an opportunity to save many lives," she said. "Today is that day."
Michael Cabanatuan is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail:mcabanatuan@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @ctuan
]]>
San Francisco Suicide Prevention tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-9168579650937502087 2014-10-04T18:43:02.764-07:00 0
San Francisco Suicide Prevention http://www.blogger.com/profile/11080481867805176850 <![CDATA[Program to save teens from suicide by texting]]> http://www.sfsuicide.org/?p=2558 2013-09-27T22:41:40Z 2013-09-27T22:41:40Z By: Victoria Colliver
Updated 1:41 pm, Friday, September 27, 2013
Jacqueline Monetta, 17, whose best friend committed suicide, attends a state Senate meeting on suicide strategies. Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle
 
(09-27) 13:39 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- When Dan Strauss' 17-year-old son Alex sought help in the hours before he took his life, he didn't try to talk to someone or call a suicide hotline. He reached out in the way he always communicated: via text, to his therapist in the middle of the night.
"After it was too late, the counselor said she got a text from him," Strauss said. "Students are reaching out by texting. That's how they communicate. Why don't we just recognize this?"
A growing number of suicide prevention groups around the country, including one in San Francisco, are starting to catch on.
Last month, San Francisco Suicide Prevention began a pilot text-based suicide intervention program with one San Francisco high school and plans to expand it to other schools in the city early next year.
The program, called MyLife, gives students a text number they can use to connect with a trained crisis counselor. Similar to telephone hotlines, the counselor can provide emotional support and alert emergency services if necessary. The program is funded by 2004's Proposition 63, also known as the Mental Health Services Act.
"Our intention is to provide more avenues for kids to reach out and contact us," saidMichelle Thomas, director of outreach and education for San Francisco Suicide Prevention. Thomas, who spoke about the program before a California Senate mental health committee hearing earlier this week in San Francisco, declined to identify the school or publicize the text number because the project is still in its early stages.
"Eventually this (texting program) would be for everybody, but we wanted to start with youth based on the research," she said.

S.F.'s suicide rates

San Francisco high school students' suicide rates are comparable to their counterparts in the rest of the country and fluctuate from year to year. San Francisco has about 100 suicides among all ages each year, and about one to three of those deaths involve people under age 20, according to San Francisco Suicide Prevention officials.
A 2011 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that about 26 percent of San Francisco students reported feeling sad or hopeless almost every day for two or more weeks, while 13 percent said they had "seriously considered" attempting suicide in the prior year and 9 percent reported at least one attempt in that time period.
Focus groups conducted by San Francisco Suicide Prevention found that all students interviewed favored adding a text-based service to the current types of help already available. A quarter of the students said they would prefer text over all forms of communication in a crisis while 25 percent indicated they would want to speak to someone face-to-face, 25 percent would use a hotline and another 25 percent preferred chat.

Hotline 'antiquated'

"It was really glaring how antiquated the notion of a traditional hotline was," saidJonathan Mark Herzenberg, a school-based clinical psychologist who participated in the San Francisco Suicide Prevention task force studying the text option.
Herzenberg, associate head of student life at Drew School in San Francisco, said texting generally surpasses all modes of communication for teens. "They don't break up in a relationship over phone or face to face," he said. "They don't ask each other out over the phone or face-to-face. It's over text."

In other states

Text-based hotlines started in other parts of the country, including Nevada and Minnesota, have already shown some success. Minnesota's TXT4Life hotline last year handled more than 3,800 text sessions from 1,985 young people seeking help.
In the wake of his son's death, Strauss of Chico started the Alex Project, a nonprofit that promotes texting access to lifesaving crisis center services.
Strauss' goal is for a statewide and ultimately nationwide 24-hour crisis texting service. But even then, he said, the work will continue. "There will be something after texting," he said. "The crisis centers, because they struggle with funding, will always be one generation behind. But what's at stake is lives."
Jacqueline Monetta, a 17-year-old senior at St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco, described the best friend she lost to suicide in 2010 as the "queen of texters."
She'll never know if her friend would have turned to a text-based service for help, but Monetta said that wasn't even an option for her.
"It's surprising that there hasn't been a texting program. I rarely talk to any student that called a hotline," said Monetta of Kentfield, who is working on a documentary film that focuses on teen suicide and texting as a way to help.
"Sometimes it's sad to think our culture has gone to never talking on the phone, but that really is our way of communicating - it's texting," she said. "And if it's going to help somebody by texting, that's more important."

Texting to prevent suicides

Suicide is the third-leading cause of death among people aged 15 to 24, claiming 4,140 lives each year, according to federal statistics. A number of suicide prevention services are starting to offer 24-hour text crisis counseling. More information and help can be found here:
San Francisco Suicide Prevention: www.sfsuicide.org 24-Hour Crisis Line: (415) 781-0500.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org 24-Hour Hotline: (800) 273-8255.
Source: http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Program-to-save-teens-from-suicide-by-texting-4847422.php
]]>
San Francisco Suicide Prevention tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-9168579650937502087 2014-10-04T18:43:02.764-07:00 0
San Francisco Suicide Prevention http://www.blogger.com/profile/11080481867805176850 <![CDATA[Program to save teens from suicide by texting]]> http://www.sfsuicide.org/?guid=22222ceab6bb15c7eaa3e52b0afc7e87 2013-09-27T22:10:29Z 2013-09-27T22:10:00Z By: Victoria Colliver
Updated 1:41 pm, Friday, September 27, 2013

Jacqueline Monetta, 17, whose best friend committed suicide, attends a state Senate meeting on suicide strategies. Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle


(09-27) 13:39 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- When Dan Strauss' 17-year-old son Alex sought help in the hours before he took his life, he didn't try to talk to someone or call a suicide hotline. He reached out in the way he always communicated: via text, to his therapist in the middle of the night.
"After it was too late, the counselor said she got a text from him," Strauss said. "Students are reaching out by texting. That's how they communicate. Why don't we just recognize this?"
A growing number of suicide prevention groups around the country, including one in San Francisco, are starting to catch on.
Last month, San Francisco Suicide Prevention began a pilot text-based suicide intervention program with one San Francisco high school and plans to expand it to other schools in the city early next year.
The program, called MyLife, gives students a text number they can use to connect with a trained crisis counselor. Similar to telephone hotlines, the counselor can provide emotional support and alert emergency services if necessary. The program is funded by 2004's Proposition 63, also known as the Mental Health Services Act.
"Our intention is to provide more avenues for kids to reach out and contact us," saidMichelle Thomas, director of outreach and education for San Francisco Suicide Prevention. Thomas, who spoke about the program before a California Senate mental health committee hearing earlier this week in San Francisco, declined to identify the school or publicize the text number because the project is still in its early stages.
"Eventually this (texting program) would be for everybody, but we wanted to start with youth based on the research," she said.

S.F.'s suicide rates

San Francisco high school students' suicide rates are comparable to their counterparts in the rest of the country and fluctuate from year to year. San Francisco has about 100 suicides among all ages each year, and about one to three of those deaths involve people under age 20, according to San Francisco Suicide Prevention officials.
A 2011 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that about 26 percent of San Francisco students reported feeling sad or hopeless almost every day for two or more weeks, while 13 percent said they had "seriously considered" attempting suicide in the prior year and 9 percent reported at least one attempt in that time period.
Focus groups conducted by San Francisco Suicide Prevention found that all students interviewed favored adding a text-based service to the current types of help already available. A quarter of the students said they would prefer text over all forms of communication in a crisis while 25 percent indicated they would want to speak to someone face-to-face, 25 percent would use a hotline and another 25 percent preferred chat.

Hotline 'antiquated'

"It was really glaring how antiquated the notion of a traditional hotline was," saidJonathan Mark Herzenberg, a school-based clinical psychologist who participated in the San Francisco Suicide Prevention task force studying the text option.
Herzenberg, associate head of student life at Drew School in San Francisco, said texting generally surpasses all modes of communication for teens. "They don't break up in a relationship over phone or face to face," he said. "They don't ask each other out over the phone or face-to-face. It's over text."

In other states

Text-based hotlines started in other parts of the country, including Nevada and Minnesota, have already shown some success. Minnesota's TXT4Life hotline last year handled more than 3,800 text sessions from 1,985 young people seeking help.
In the wake of his son's death, Strauss of Chico started the Alex Project, a nonprofit that promotes texting access to lifesaving crisis center services.
Strauss' goal is for a statewide and ultimately nationwide 24-hour crisis texting service. But even then, he said, the work will continue. "There will be something after texting," he said. "The crisis centers, because they struggle with funding, will always be one generation behind. But what's at stake is lives."
Jacqueline Monetta, a 17-year-old senior at St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco, described the best friend she lost to suicide in 2010 as the "queen of texters."
She'll never know if her friend would have turned to a text-based service for help, but Monetta said that wasn't even an option for her.
"It's surprising that there hasn't been a texting program. I rarely talk to any student that called a hotline," said Monetta of Kentfield, who is working on a documentary film that focuses on teen suicide and texting as a way to help.
"Sometimes it's sad to think our culture has gone to never talking on the phone, but that really is our way of communicating - it's texting," she said. "And if it's going to help somebody by texting, that's more important."

Texting to prevent suicides

Suicide is the third-leading cause of death among people aged 15 to 24, claiming 4,140 lives each year, according to federal statistics. A number of suicide prevention services are starting to offer 24-hour text crisis counseling. More information and help can be found here:
San Francisco Suicide Prevention: www.sfsuicide.org 24-Hour Crisis Line: (415) 781-0500.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org 24-Hour Hotline: (800) 273-8255.
The Alex Project: www.alexproject.org/about-the-alex-project
Source: http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Program-to-save-teens-from-suicide-by-texting-4847422.php

]]>
San Francisco Suicide Prevention tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-9168579650937502087 2014-10-04T18:43:02.764-07:00 0
San Francisco Suicide Prevention http://www.blogger.com/profile/11080481867805176850 <![CDATA[Now what should I do? Primary care physicians’ responses to older adults expressing thoughts of suicide]]> http://www.sfsuicide.org/?guid=c7d7513be1b9515a6649ab48cb1c428e 2011-09-24T01:03:27Z 2011-09-24T01:03:00Z Now what should I do? Primary care physicians’ responses to older adults expressing thoughts of suicide.
Vannoy, S., Tai-Seale, M., Duberstein, P., Eaton, L., & Cook, M. (2011). Journal of General Internal Medicine, 26(9),1005-1011.

Primary care visits are an important opportunity for detecting and responding to suicide risk among older adults. However, a research project revealed that primary care physicians who recognize suicide risk among older adult patients are often unable to effectively address this risk. The authors of an article reporting on this research suggested that physicians’ failure to develop meaningful treatment plans for older adults at risk for suicide “may reflect a lack of coherent framework for managing suicide risk, insufficient clinical skills, and availability of mental health specialty support….”

The research identified three patterns of conversations about suicide between physicians and patients. The first is the “argumentative pattern” in which physicians attempt to convince the patient that suicide is unnecessary. The authors found that this approach “results in mutual fatigue and discouragement.” A second response was the “superficial pattern” in which the physician addresses suicide risk and emotional difficulties “in a seemingly aimless manner with no clear therapeutic goal.” The third response, which the authors labeled the “insufficient pattern,” is “characterized by the physicians initially addressing the issue of suicide and comorbid mood disorder, and offering some potential courses of action, only to drop the subject precipitously with no clear sense of closure or treatment plan.”

None of these approaches contributed to developing a meaningful strategy to reduce the risk of suicide. The authors suggest that physician education and practice support may help promote the ability of primary care physicians to effectively respond to suicide risk among their older adult patients. This response could include monitoring the patient, structured follow-up, and referral to mental health specialists.

The authors caution that the small sample size used in this study limited their ability to provide definitive information on this issue and probably prevented the identification of all patterns of conversation about suicide between primary care physicians and older adult patients. The research involved the analysis of videotapes from 385 primary care office visits by patients over the age of 65. Mental health issues were discussed in 84 of these visits and suicide was discussed in six visits. These six visits represented 3 of the 35 physicians involved in the study. Mental health issues were discussed in 22 percent of primary care visits. Conversations about suicide took place in less than 2 percent of all visits.

Resource Note: The Suicide Prevention Toolkit for Rural Primary Care contains information and tools to integrate suicide prevention practices in primary care settings. The toolkit was developed by SPRC in collaboration with the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education and can be found on the SPRC website at http://www.sprc.org/pctoolkit/index.asp
Link to Abstract]]>
Now what should I do? Primary care physicians’ responses to older adults expressing thoughts of suicide.
Vannoy, S., Tai-Seale, M., Duberstein, P., Eaton, L., & Cook, M. (2011). Journal of General Internal Medicine, 26(9),1005-1011.

Primary care visits are an important opportunity for detecting and responding to suicide risk among older adults. However, a research project revealed that primary care physicians who recognize suicide risk among older adult patients are often unable to effectively address this risk. The authors of an article reporting on this research suggested that physicians’ failure to develop meaningful treatment plans for older adults at risk for suicide “may reflect a lack of coherent framework for managing suicide risk, insufficient clinical skills, and availability of mental health specialty support….”

The research identified three patterns of conversations about suicide between physicians and patients. The first is the “argumentative pattern” in which physicians attempt to convince the patient that suicide is unnecessary. The authors found that this approach “results in mutual fatigue and discouragement.” A second response was the “superficial pattern” in which the physician addresses suicide risk and emotional difficulties “in a seemingly aimless manner with no clear therapeutic goal.” The third response, which the authors labeled the “insufficient pattern,” is “characterized by the physicians initially addressing the issue of suicide and comorbid mood disorder, and offering some potential courses of action, only to drop the subject precipitously with no clear sense of closure or treatment plan.”

None of these approaches contributed to developing a meaningful strategy to reduce the risk of suicide. The authors suggest that physician education and practice support may help promote the ability of primary care physicians to effectively respond to suicide risk among their older adult patients. This response could include monitoring the patient, structured follow-up, and referral to mental health specialists.

The authors caution that the small sample size used in this study limited their ability to provide definitive information on this issue and probably prevented the identification of all patterns of conversation about suicide between primary care physicians and older adult patients. The research involved the analysis of videotapes from 385 primary care office visits by patients over the age of 65. Mental health issues were discussed in 84 of these visits and suicide was discussed in six visits. These six visits represented 3 of the 35 physicians involved in the study. Mental health issues were discussed in 22 percent of primary care visits. Conversations about suicide took place in less than 2 percent of all visits.

Resource Note: The Suicide Prevention Toolkit for Rural Primary Care contains information and tools to integrate suicide prevention practices in primary care settings. The toolkit was developed by SPRC in collaboration with the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education and can be found on the SPRC website at http://www.sprc.org/pctoolkit/index.asp
Link to Abstract]]>
San Francisco Suicide Prevention tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-9168579650937502087 2014-10-04T18:43:02.764-07:00 0
San Francisco Suicide Prevention http://www.blogger.com/profile/11080481867805176850 <![CDATA[Adolescents With Suicidal Ideation: Health Care Use and Functioning]]> http://www.sfsuicide.org/?guid=0d284d76f485e57eeb57607ef03195cf 2011-09-23T23:43:53Z 2011-09-23T23:43:00Z
FRIDAY, Sept. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Although the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that suicide is the third leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 24 years, a new study shows few suicidal teens are getting the mental health treatment they need.
The researchers found only 13 percent of teenagers with suicidal thoughts visited a mental health professional through their health care network, and only 16 percent received treatment during the year, even though they were eligible for mental health visits without a referral and with relatively low co-payments.
Even when researchers combined various types of mental health services, such as antidepressants and care received outside their health network, only 26 percent of teens contemplating suicide received help in the previous year.
"Teen suicide is a very real issue today in the United States. Until now, we've known very little about how much or how little suicidal teens use health care services. We found it particularly striking to observe such low rates of health care service use among most teens in our study," the study's lead author, Carolyn A. McCarty, of Seattle Children's Research Institute and research associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, said in a Seattle Children's Hospital news release.
In the study, researchers analyzed the use of health care services among 198 teens ranging in age from 13 to 18 years. Half of the teenagers had had suicidal thoughts; the other half did not.
Although identifying teens with suicidal thoughts is critical, the researchers revealed mental health services were underused among all of the teens studied. Although 86 percent of the teens with suicidal thoughts had seen a health care provider, only 13 percent had seen a mental health specialist. Moreover, just 7 percent received antidepressants, the study found.
Meanwhile, only 10 percent of those without suicidal thoughts had received any mental health visits within the Group Health Cooperative system in the prior year.
Although the myth that suicidal thoughts are a normal part of growing up still persists, the findings suggest suicidal tendencies are often accompanied by trouble in school or with relationships, making mental health care even more important.
"We know that asking teens about [suicidal thoughts] does not worsen their problems," said McCarty. "It's absolutely crucial for a teen who is having thoughts of self-harm or significant depression to be able to tell a helpful, trustworthy adult."
The researchers added that primary care physicians should be screening teenagers for depression and suicidal thoughts. "Effective screening tools are available, as are effective treatments for depression," McCarty noted.
The study was published in the September issue of Academic Pediatrics.
More information
The American Academy of Child &amp; Adolescent Psychiatry provides more information on teen suicide.
Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/brain-and-behavior/articles/2011/09/16/few-suicidal-teens-get-the-help-they-need

http://www.academicpedsjnl.net/article/S1876-2859(11)00018-0/abstract]]>

FRIDAY, Sept. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Although the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that suicide is the third leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 24 years, a new study shows few suicidal teens are getting the mental health treatment they need.
The researchers found only 13 percent of teenagers with suicidal thoughts visited a mental health professional through their health care network, and only 16 percent received treatment during the year, even though they were eligible for mental health visits without a referral and with relatively low co-payments.
Even when researchers combined various types of mental health services, such as antidepressants and care received outside their health network, only 26 percent of teens contemplating suicide received help in the previous year.
"Teen suicide is a very real issue today in the United States. Until now, we've known very little about how much or how little suicidal teens use health care services. We found it particularly striking to observe such low rates of health care service use among most teens in our study," the study's lead author, Carolyn A. McCarty, of Seattle Children's Research Institute and research associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, said in a Seattle Children's Hospital news release.
In the study, researchers analyzed the use of health care services among 198 teens ranging in age from 13 to 18 years. Half of the teenagers had had suicidal thoughts; the other half did not.
Although identifying teens with suicidal thoughts is critical, the researchers revealed mental health services were underused among all of the teens studied. Although 86 percent of the teens with suicidal thoughts had seen a health care provider, only 13 percent had seen a mental health specialist. Moreover, just 7 percent received antidepressants, the study found.
Meanwhile, only 10 percent of those without suicidal thoughts had received any mental health visits within the Group Health Cooperative system in the prior year.
Although the myth that suicidal thoughts are a normal part of growing up still persists, the findings suggest suicidal tendencies are often accompanied by trouble in school or with relationships, making mental health care even more important.
"We know that asking teens about [suicidal thoughts] does not worsen their problems," said McCarty. "It's absolutely crucial for a teen who is having thoughts of self-harm or significant depression to be able to tell a helpful, trustworthy adult."
The researchers added that primary care physicians should be screening teenagers for depression and suicidal thoughts. "Effective screening tools are available, as are effective treatments for depression," McCarty noted.
The study was published in the September issue of Academic Pediatrics.
More information
The American Academy of Child &amp; Adolescent Psychiatry provides more information on teen suicide.
Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/brain-and-behavior/articles/2011/09/16/few-suicidal-teens-get-the-help-they-need

http://www.academicpedsjnl.net/article/S1876-2859(11)00018-0/abstract]]>
San Francisco Suicide Prevention tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-9168579650937502087 2014-10-04T18:43:02.764-07:00 0
San Francisco Suicide Prevention http://www.blogger.com/profile/11080481867805176850 <![CDATA[Access to Firearms and Suicide Plans]]> http://www.sfsuicide.org/?guid=19c78041f9b4a3b73235ed34797d0513 2011-09-21T01:41:12Z 2011-09-21T01:41:00Z Betz, M., Barber, C., & Miller, M. Suicidal behavior and firearm access: Results from the Second Injury Control and Risk Survey. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 41(4), 384-391.

A research team using data from the Second Injury Control and Risk Survey concluded that people living in homes in which firearms are present are seven times more likely to have a suicide plan involving firearms than people reporting suicide plans living in homes in which firearms are not present. In an article summarizing the results of their research, team members reported that “we found that – among those with a suicidal plan – those without a firearm in the home were significantly more likely to have a plan to overdose on medication, while those with a firearm were significantly more likely to have a plan to use a firearm.” The authors suggested that their finding reinforces “the importance of reducing a suicidal person’s access to firearms” as well as counseling family members about this issue, since suicide attempts involving firearms are far more likely to be lethal than attempts using other methods, including drug overdoses.

The study also revealed that people living in homes in which firearms are present are no more likely to experience suicidal ideation, plans, or attempts than others. Of those people who had made a suicide plan in the past 12 months, 31 percent reported a plan involving a drug overdose; 13 percent reported a plan involving a firearm; and 12 percent reported a plan involving jumping from a height. Seven percent of the respondents reported suicidal thoughts in the past year. Of those reporting suicidal thoughts, 21 percent also reported having a suicide plan. The Second Injury Control and Risk Survey is a nationally representative telephone survey conducted in 2001-2003.

Link to Abstract]]>
Betz, M., Barber, C., & Miller, M. Suicidal behavior and firearm access: Results from the Second Injury Control and Risk Survey. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 41(4), 384-391.

A research team using data from the Second Injury Control and Risk Survey concluded that people living in homes in which firearms are present are seven times more likely to have a suicide plan involving firearms than people reporting suicide plans living in homes in which firearms are not present. In an article summarizing the results of their research, team members reported that “we found that – among those with a suicidal plan – those without a firearm in the home were significantly more likely to have a plan to overdose on medication, while those with a firearm were significantly more likely to have a plan to use a firearm.” The authors suggested that their finding reinforces “the importance of reducing a suicidal person’s access to firearms” as well as counseling family members about this issue, since suicide attempts involving firearms are far more likely to be lethal than attempts using other methods, including drug overdoses.

The study also revealed that people living in homes in which firearms are present are no more likely to experience suicidal ideation, plans, or attempts than others. Of those people who had made a suicide plan in the past 12 months, 31 percent reported a plan involving a drug overdose; 13 percent reported a plan involving a firearm; and 12 percent reported a plan involving jumping from a height. Seven percent of the respondents reported suicidal thoughts in the past year. Of those reporting suicidal thoughts, 21 percent also reported having a suicide plan. The Second Injury Control and Risk Survey is a nationally representative telephone survey conducted in 2001-2003.

Link to Abstract]]>
San Francisco Suicide Prevention tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-9168579650937502087 2014-10-04T18:43:02.764-07:00 0
San Francisco Suicide Prevention http://www.blogger.com/profile/11080481867805176850 <![CDATA[WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY 2011]]> http://www.sfsuicide.org/?guid=ee1400f71e28d18546d702b314d966ad 2011-09-09T01:22:47Z 2011-09-09T01:22:00Z World Suicide Prevention Day is held on September 10th each year. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness around the globe that suicide can be prevented. Disseminating information, improving education and training, and decreasing stigmatization are important tasks in such an endeavour. The theme in 2011 is "Preventing Suicide in Multicultural Societies".
The themes of the last two years of the World Suicide Prevention Day have focussed on suicide prevention in different cultures across the world. This year's theme aims at raising awareness of the fact that all countries in the world are multicultural. Many countries harbour different minority groups, in the form of various indigenous and/or immigrant groups, refugees and/or asylum seekers. Some countries comprise many different ethnic groups due to artificial borders having been drawn by former colonial powers. This means that in all countries there are a variety of ethnic and religious groups living in the same society.
Multicultural societies require cultural sensitivity in all suicide prevention efforts. However, a common mistake is to treat culture as something objective that explains differences. When we find differences between cultural groups in a society, e.g. suicide rates and risk factors, we tend to explain these in terms of cultural differences. This can, however, conceal the real reasons for differences that may or may not have something to do with culture at all. Examples of other factors that may be important are unemployment, poverty, oppression, marginalisation, stigmatisation, or racism. Moreover, culture is not a static or measurable variable; rather culture describes the dynamics evolving in an interaction between individuals and their surroundings. So, at the same time as we need to be culturally sensitive and aware of potential cultural differences, we must not let "culture" overshadow other important factors that might be at play. Neither must we overlook similarities in our vigilance to find differences.
The WHO estimates that about one million people around the world die by suicide every year. However, many countries still lack reliable suicide statistics, and even countries with reliable statistics may lack knowledge about the magnitude of the problem in (some of) their minority populations. This knowledge might also be challenging to acquire due to stigma having a larger impact in various minority groups compared to the majority. Nevertheless, such information is needed. Some studies have shown that suicide rates among immigrants are more similar to the suicide rates of those in their original country compared to the new country in which they have settled. Other studies, however, show that this varies across country and subgroup. Therefore, we need to be careful about drawing universal conclusions.
Risk factors for suicide vary across cultural groups. Knowledge about common risk factors in a society often stems from research in majority populations. However, in a multicultural context we need to be aware that some risk factors may play different roles in the suicidal process as well as in suicide prevention for some minority groups compared to the majority population. For instance, risk factors for elderly men in the majority population may have little relevance for young immigrant girls. In addition, other factors that might have a different impact on minorities compared to the majority population are attitudes towards suicidal behaviour and suicidal people (e.g. taboo, stigma), religion and spirituality, and family dynamics (gender roles and responsibilities).
Studies have shown that stereotyping might be common in the health and social care system in dealing with minority groups. Therefore, we need to be careful to distinguish between how the rules and traditions of a cultural group define how members of that group may or should behave and how individuals from a cultural group actually do behave. We must not let stereotypes rule what we perceive or do. Some of the previous research reporting average values for immigrant groups or comparing heterogeneous groups of immigrants with the majority population in the country may contribute to such stereotyping in suicide prevention. However, it gives little meaning to compare the relatively homogeneous majority population in a small country such as, for instance, Norway, with Asian immigrants to this country since the latter group can comprise people from a vast number of very different countries, cultures and religions, as Asia stretches out from the Middle East to Siberia. In the health and social care system the individual must not be met as a representative of a cultural group, but be allowed to be themselves with their own beliefs, attitudes, understandings, thoughts, and knowledge.
Gender issues and racism in therapeutic settings are important to be aware of in multicultural societies. Use of interpreters in the health and social care system also requires special attention when a sensitive issue such as suicide is on the agenda. Often, minority populations in a community are small and interpreters are recruited from the same social circle as the client. If suicidality is particularly taboo or stigmatised in the minority group, it may be necessary to check the interpreters' attitudes towards suicidal behaviour and suicidal people because these might affect both what is being said by the client as well as what is translated and how by the interpreter.
National suicide prevention strategies have now been implemented in several countries, but not all of them reflect the fact that the country is comprised of various minority groups. The strategy/program is often aimed at the majority population and a specific cultural perspective or focus is missing. Strategies therefore may need revision with this in mind and countries still not having initiated suicide prevention efforts should integrate a cultural perspective from the start.
Even though suicide is a complex and multifactorial phenomenon with cultural differences, there are still some suicide prevention efforts that might have "universal" effect.
  • Experiences of connectedness are important in the mental health and wellbeing of all people. Thus, communities that are well integrated and cohesive may be suicide preventive.
  • Educating professionals of health and social services as well as communities in general about how to identify people at risk for suicide, encouraging those who need it to seek help, and providing them with needed and adequate help can reduce rates of suicide. These efforts require both cultural sensitivity and cultural competence.
  • Methods of suicide vary across cultural contexts, but restricting access to whatever means are commonly employed has been found to be effective in reducing the number of suicides (e.g. safe storage of firearms, pesticides and medicines; restricting access to bridges and high rise buildings commonly used as jumping sites).
  • Educating the media on how to report on suicide responsibly, and
  • Providing adequate support for people who are bereaved by suicide.
Suicide prevention in multicultural societies needs to be targeted as a multidisciplinary effort. Effective suicide prevention involves a multifaceted and intersectoral approach to address the multiple pathways to suicidal behaviour in a socio-cultural context. People who can contribute to suicide prevention include, for instance, health and social care professionals, researchers, teachers, police, journalists, religious leaders, cultural leaders, politicians and community leaders, volunteers, and relatives and friends affected by suicidal behaviour. People also tend to open up to bartenders, hairdressers, and taxi drivers, among others. In short, suicide prevention is everybody's business, and thus everyone can contribute.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO SUPPORT WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY
WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY, September 10th, is an opportunity for all sectors of the community - the public, charitable organizations, communities, researchers, clinicians, practitioners, politicians and policy makers, volunteers, those bereaved by suicide, other interested groups and individuals - to join with the International Association for Suicide Prevention and the WHO to focus public attention on the unacceptable burden and costs of suicidal behaviours with diverse activities to promote understanding about suicide and highlight effective prevention activities.
Those activities may call attention to the global burden of suicidal behaviour, and discuss local, regional and national strategies for suicide prevention, highlighting cultural initiatives and emphasising how specific prevention initiatives are shaped to address local cultural conditions. Initiatives which actively educate and involve people are likely to be most effective in helping people learn new information about suicide and suicide prevention. Examples of activities which can support World Suicide Prevention Day include:
  • Launching new initiatives, policies and strategies on World Suicide Prevention Day
  • Holding conferences, open days, educational seminars or public lectures and panels
  • Writing articles for national, regional and community newspapers and magazines
  • Holding press conferences
  • Placing information on your website and using the IASP World Suicide Prevention Day banner, promoting suicide prevention in one's native tongue (www.iasp.info/wspd/2011_wspd_banner.php)
  • Securing interviews and speaking spots on radio and television
  • Organizing memorial services, events, candlelight ceremonies or walks to remember those who have died by suicide
  • Asking national politicians with responsibility for health, public health, mental health or suicide prevention to make relevant announcements, release policies or make supportive statements or press releases on WSPD
  • Holding depression awareness events in public places and offering screening for depression
  • Organizing cultural or spiritual events, fairs or exhibitions
  • Organizing walks to political or public places to highlight suicide prevention
  • Holding book launches, or launches for new booklets, guides or pamphlets
  • Distributing leaflets, posters and other written information
  • Organizing concerts, BBQs, breakfasts, luncheons, contests, fairs in public places
  • Writing editorials for scientific, medical, education, nursing, law and other relevant journals
  • Disseminating research findings
  • Producing press releases for new research papers
  • Holding training courses in suicide and depression awareness
  • Becoming a Facebook Fan of the IASP (www.facebook.com/IASPinfo)
  • Following the IASP on Twitter (www.twitter.com/IASPinfo), tweeting #WSPD or #suicide or #suicideprevention
  • Creating a video about suicide prevention (/www.youtube.com/IASPinfo)
  • Lighting a candle, near a window, at 8 PM in support of: World Suicide Prevention Day, suicide prevention awareness, survivors of suicide and for the memory of loved lost ones.
Light a candle on World Suicide Prevention Day - September 10th - at 8PM
http://www.iasp.info/wspd/index.php

]]>
San Francisco Suicide Prevention tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-9168579650937502087 2014-10-04T18:43:02.764-07:00 0
San Francisco Suicide Prevention http://www.blogger.com/profile/11080481867805176850 <![CDATA[Obama to send condolences for combat-zone suicides]]> http://www.sfsuicide.org/?guid=b27cea79bca161673cdb4b2d58f5ea6f 2011-08-06T01:04:53Z 2011-08-06T01:04:00Z
President Obama, saying men and women in the military who kill themselves in combat zones "didn't die because they were weak," reversed a long-standing policy Wednesday and said he would now send condolence letters to their families.
Obama acted after a yearlong campaign by veterans groups and politicians including Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., to recognize the toll that the stress of war takes on those who fight.
In doing so, the president repealed a policy born of religious and societal condemnation against suicide - particularly in the military, where strength is revered and weakness is seen as endangering one's fellow warriors.
"This issue is emotional, painful and complicated, but these Americans served our nation bravely," Obama said in a statement announcing his change. "They didn't die because they were weak. And the fact that they didn't get the help they needed must change."
The number of suicides among people serving in the armed forces has jumped more than 25 percent since 2005, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The military averages one suicide every 36 hours, and last year alone 454 service members killed themselves in combat zones.
The 150,000 soldiers, sailors, Air Force personnel and Marines stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq are particularly vulnerable considering the high rate of redeployments and financial and family troubles associated with long periods spent away from home, counselors say.
Obama's decision "will honor the sacrifice of our nation's servicemen and -women and their families and do a great deal to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health treatment that prevents so many from seeking the care they need," Boxer said.
Kim Ruocco, whose husband hanged himself in California six years ago between deployments with the Marines, praised the move - but said it needs to go further.
"This policy change is very important for families of those who took their lives, because it sends a message that they mattered," said Ruocco, 48. "But we want the president to send letters to everyone who died in service of their country, because there are so many who didn't die in combat zones.
"Condolence letters let the families know that the country respects their sacrifice and sympathizes with their loss," Ruocco said. "That's all we're asking for."
Obama's change does not affect the government's policy of withholding condolence letters in the cases of those who kill themselves or die in accidents away from combat zones, or who die after they leave the service. The veterans department estimates 5,000 veterans annually commit suicide.
The VA in San Francisco has boosted its mental health staff by a third in the past two years as part of an effort to "amp up our suicide prevention efforts," said Judi Cheary, local spokeswoman for the department.
Ruocco's husband, 40-year-old Marine Maj. John Ruocco, was in the Corps for 15 years and had just come back from duty in Iraq when he killed himself in a hotel in Carlsbad (San Diego County). He flew 75 missions in Iraq, piloting AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters and earning an Air Medal, but after coming home and getting ready at California's Camp Pendleton to go back, he was stricken with post-traumatic-stress-induced depression.
"We talked a lot about getting help, and the last time we talked he said he would," Ruocco said. "But he thought he was letting everyone down, displaying weakness."
Today, Ruocco lives in Massachusetts and is director of suicide outreach for the national Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors for military families. Her program has 2,000 members, 151 in California.
She gave a presentation on military suicides in San Francisco last year, and since then, "the need has only gotten bigger," she said.
"There is not a single state in the country that doesn't have people affected by suicide in the military," Ruocco said. "The more we talk about it, the more we can prevent it."
E-mail Kevin Fagan at kfagan@sfchronicle.com.
This article appeared on page A - 8 of the San Francisco Chronicle


Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/07/06/MNE01K7B0I.DTL#ixzz1UCrLxyF4
]]>
San Francisco Suicide Prevention tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-9168579650937502087 2014-10-04T18:43:02.764-07:00 0