Link Between Screen Time & Suicide

Link Between Screen Time & Suicide

It’s no secret that screen time is increasing exponentially in teenagers, and that it contributes to several mental health issues. New research suggests that screen time should be considered a modern-day risk factor for depression and suicide.

Studying the rise in mental health problems among teens since 2010 that coincides with an increase in ownership of cell phones – by 2015, 92 percent of teens and young adults had a cell phone, along with CDC statistics that show that suicide rate increased 31 percent among teenagers from 2010 to 2015 – Twenge and Joiner found “a concerning relationship between excessive screen time and risk for death by suicide, depression, suicidal ideation and suicidal attempts” (Joiner & Twenge, 2017).

Explains Joiner, “All of those mental health issues are very serious. I think it’s something parents should ponder” (Joiner, 2017).

Specifically, Joiner and Twenge discovered 48 percent of teenagers who spent five or more hours per day on electronic devices reported a suicide-related behavior. That compared to 28 percent of adolescents who spent less than an hour using electronic devices.

Twenge concludes that the results clearly showed that teens who spent more time on the devices were more likely to be unhappy. Those who focused more on non-screen activities like sports and exercise, talking to friends face to face, doing homework and going to church were more likely to be happy.

Joiner and Twenge emphasized their research does not prove that screen time causes depressive symptoms or suicide-related behaviors, but the findings do show a link.

The takeaway, however, is that screen time is just one of the many factors that may contribute to suicide – and one that healthcare professionals should be aware of. By being aware of the many factors that contribute to depression and suicide, as well as the evidence-based strategies that can prevent it, clinicians can better help to reduce the risk factors and promote resilience among our youngsters.

Related Online Continuing Education (CE) Courses:

Suicide PreventionSuicide Prevention: Evidence-Based Strategies is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that reviews evidence-based research and offers strategies for screening, assessment, treatment, and prevention of suicide in both adolescents and adults. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. In 2015, 44,193 people killed themselves. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes, “Suicide is a serious but preventable public health problem that can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities.” People who attempt suicide but do not die face potentially serious injury or disability, depending on the method used in the attempt. Depression and other mental health issues follow the suicide attempt. Family, friends, and coworkers are negatively affected by suicide. Shock, anger, guilt, and depression arise in the wake of this violent event. Even the community as a whole is affected by the loss of a productive member of society, lost wages not spent at local businesses, and medical costs. The CDC estimates that suicides result in over 44 billion dollars in work loss and medical costs. Prevention is key: reducing risk factors and promoting resilience. This course will provide a review of evidence-based studies so that healthcare professionals are informed on this complex subject. Information from the suicide prevention technical package from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be provided. Included also are strategies for screening and assessment, prevention considerations, methods of treatment, and resources for choosing evidence-based suicide prevention programs. Course #30-97 | 2017 | 60 pages | 20 posttest questions

Effects of Digital Media on Children’s Development and LearningEffects of Digital Media on Children’s Development and Learning is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that reviews the research on media use and offers guidance for educators and parents to regulate their children’s use of digital devices. Today’s world is filled with smartphones used by people ignoring their surroundings and even texting while driving, which is criminally dangerous. Are there other dangers that may not be as apparent? Media technology (e.g., smart phones, tablets, or laptop computers) have changed the world. Babies and children are affected and research reveals that 46% of children under age one, and up to 59% of eight-year-old children are exposed to cell phones. In England, nearly 80% of senior primary-school staff reportedly are worried about poor social skills or speech problems of children entering school, which they attribute to the use of media devices. Media technology affects family life, children’s readiness for entering school or preschool, and classroom learning. Recent research delineates a developmental progression of understanding information on devices for children between ages 2- 5 years. Younger children may believe false information if it is on a computer. This research is important for understanding technology uses in education. There are also known health risks and possible adverse effects to social-emotional development. Statistics describing the increase of media technology and developing trends in media use are presented along with guidelines and position statements developed to protect children from risks and adverse effects. Course #30-96 | 2017 | 50 pages | 20 posttest questions 

Finding Happiness: Positive Interventions in TherapyFinding Happiness: Positive Interventions in Therapy is a 4-hour online continuing education (CE) course that explores the concept of happiness, from common myths to the overriding factors that directly increase our feelings of contentment. We will start with a discussion on why you, the clinician, need to know about happiness and how this information can help in your work with clients. We will then uncover mistakes we make when trying to attain happiness and look carefully at the actions we take and the beliefs that do not just obfuscate our happiness efforts, but often leave us less happy. Next, we will explore the ways in which our mindset influences our feelings of happiness and the many ways we can fundamentally change our levels of well-being, not just immediately, but for many years to come. The final section of this course contains exercises you can use with clients to cultivate and sustain a lifelong habit of happiness. Course #40-45 | 2018 | 57 pages | 25 posttest questions

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Online courses provide instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more. Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. We are approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Target Audience: PsychologistsCounselorsSocial WorkersMarriage & Family Therapist (MFTs)Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)Occupational Therapists (OTs)Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs)School Psychologists, and Teachers

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Pennsylvania Psychologists Renewal Info

Online Continuing Education (CE) @pdresources.org

Pennsylvania psychologists can save 20% on CE for their upcoming license renewal deadline of November 30, 2017. Up to 15 of the 30 required hours per biennium are allowed from APA-sponsored online CE courses.

CE Required: 30 hours every 2 years
Online CE Allowed: 15 hours (home study)
License Expiration: 11/30, odd years
National Accreditation Accepted: APA
Notes: 3 hours in ethics required each renewal

Pennsylvania psychologists can earn up to 15 hours required for renewal through online courses offered by Professional Development Resources, and save 20% on courses. Click here to view APA-approved online CE courses.

PA Psychologists Save 20% on CE

Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Professional Development Resources maintains responsibility for all programs and content. Over 100 courses are available!

Suicide Prevention Continuing Education (CE): On July 8, 2016, the governor of Pennsylvania signed into law the Matt Adler Suicide Prevention Continuing Education Act. This legislation requires that licensed psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, and professional counselors seeking to have their licenses renewed complete at least one hour of continuing education in the assessment, treatment, and management of suicide risk. To fulfill the growing requirement for suicide prevention training, Professional Development Resources created a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that reviews evidence-based research and offers strategies for screening, assessment, treatment, and prevention of suicide in both adolescents and adults:

Suicide PreventionSuicide Prevention: Evidence-Based Strategies is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that reviews evidence-based research and offers strategies for screening, assessment, treatment, and prevention of suicide in both adolescents and adults. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. In 2015, 44,193 people killed themselves. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes, “Suicide is a serious but preventable public health problem that can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities.” People who attempt suicide but do not die face potentially serious injury or disability, depending on the method used in the attempt. Depression and other mental health issues follow the suicide attempt. Family, friends, and coworkers are negatively affected by suicide. Shock, anger, guilt, and depression arise in the wake of this violent event. Even the community as a whole is affected by the loss of a productive member of society, lost wages not spent at local businesses, and medical costs. The CDC estimates that suicides result in over 44 billion dollars in work loss and medical costs. Prevention is key: reducing risk factors and promoting resilience. This course will provide a review of evidence-based studies so that healthcare professionals are informed on this complex subject. Information from the suicide prevention technical package from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be provided. Included also are strategies for screening and assessment, prevention considerations, methods of treatment, and resources for choosing evidence-based suicide prevention programs. Course #30-97 | 2017 | 60 pages | 20 posttest questions

Online CE Courses for Psychologists:

E-Therapy: Ethics & Best Practices is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that examines the advantages, risks, technical issues, legalities and ethics of providing therapy online. E-therapy can be used to address age-old problems, such as how to reach out to those who might not otherwise avail themselves of psychotherapy services even though they are in acute need. At the same time, it is clear that many providers have embraced the new technologies without a firm grasp on the new and serious vulnerabilities that are introduced when their patients’ personal health information goes online. Included in this course are sections on video therapy, email, text messaging, smart phone use, social media, cloud storage, Skype, and other telecommunications services. This course is focused upon the ethical principles that are called into play with the use of e-therapy. Among them the most obvious concern is for privacy and confidentiality. Yet these are not the only ethical principles that will be challenged by the increasing use of e-therapy. The others include interjurisdictional issues (crossing state lines), informed consent, competence and scope of practice, boundaries and multiple relationships, and record keeping. In addition to outlining potential ethical problems and HIPAA challenges, this course includes recommended resources and sets of specific guidelines and best practices that have been established and published by various professional organizations. Course #30-87 | 2016 | 52 pages | 20 posttest questions

Effects of Digital Media on Children’s Development and Learning is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that reviews the research on media use and offers guidance for educators and parents to regulate their children’s use of digital devices. Today’s world is filled with smartphones used by people ignoring their surroundings and even texting while driving, which is criminally dangerous. Are there other dangers that may not be as apparent? Media technology (e.g., smart phones, tablets, or laptop computers) have changed the world. Babies and children are affected and research reveals that 46% of children under age one, and up to 59% of eight-year-old children are exposed to cell phones. In England, nearly 80% of senior primary-school staff reportedly are worried about poor social skills or speech problems of children entering school, which they attribute to the use of media devices. Media technology affects family life, children’s readiness for entering school or preschool, and classroom learning. Recent research delineates a developmental progression of understanding information on devices for children between ages 2- 5 years. Younger children may believe false information if it is on a computer. This research is important for understanding technology uses in education. There are also known health risks and possible adverse effects to social-emotional development. Statistics describing the increase of media technology and developing trends in media use are presented along with guidelines and position statements developed to protect children from risks and adverse effects. Course #30-96 | 2017 | 50 pages | 20 posttest questions

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that reviews the diagnosis, assessment and treatment strategies for OCD. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by intrusive, unwanted, and anxiety-provoking thoughts, images, impulses and rituals that are performed to alleviate the accompanying distress. Because OCD is a heterogeneous disorder with several subtypes, assessing, diagnosing, and treating it can be challenging. Further, the presentation of varying symptoms may be considered to be OC Related Disorders. Being able to make differential diagnoses and treatment recommendations are essential in clinical work with the many patients that present with the spectrum of OC problems. Specific behavioral strategies have been developed and validated in the literature that target the various manifestations of OCD and related disorders. The first part of the course offers information on the neurobiology, diagnosis and assessment tools, including the various subtypes, and highlights important topics to be taken into consideration during the process. Emotional and cognitive factors are outlined that seem to play important roles in the diagnosis and the course of episodes. The next section is dedicated to describing the clinical factors of and differential aspects of the OC Related Disorders and their prevalence. A case study follows that outlines the precipitating events, assessment, and behavioral treatment of a college student who is struggling to maintain and overcome her OCD. The final section describes effective treatment and coping strategies and augmentations that help to maintain treatment gains. Course #30-95 | 2017 | 60 pages | 20 posttest questions

Over 100 Courses Available! Click here to learn more.

 

Suicide Prevention Continuing Education (CE)

Suicide Prevention Online CE Available @pdresources.org

Suicide PreventionMore and more states are beginning to mandate that mental health professionals complete required training (continuing education) in suicide prevention.

One such state is Pennsylvania. On July 8, 2016, the governor of Pennsylvania signed into law the Matt Adler Suicide Prevention Continuing Education Act. This legislation requires that licensed psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, and professional counselors seeking to have their licenses renewed complete at least one hour of continuing education in the assessment, treatment, and management of suicide risk.

Another state now requiring continuing education (CE) in suicide prevention is Kentucky. Effective January 1, 2015, all Kentucky-licensed social workers, marriage and family therapists, professional counselors, pastoral counselors, alcohol and drug abuse counselors, psychologists and occupational therapists are required to complete 6 hours of suicide prevention training every six years.

To fulfill the growing requirement for suicide prevention training, Professional Development Resources created a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that reviews evidence-based research and offers strategies for screening, assessment, treatment, and prevention of suicide in both adolescents and adults:

Suicide Prevention: Evidence-Based StrategiesSuicide Prevention: Evidence-Based Strategies is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that reviews evidence-based research and offers strategies for screening, assessment, treatment, and prevention of suicide in both adolescents and adults. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. In 2015, 44,193 people killed themselves. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes, “Suicide is a serious but preventable public health problem that can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities.” People who attempt suicide but do not die face potentially serious injury or disability, depending on the method used in the attempt. Depression and other mental health issues follow the suicide attempt. Family, friends, and coworkers are negatively affected by suicide. Shock, anger, guilt, and depression arise in the wake of this violent event. Even the community as a whole is affected by the loss of a productive member of society, lost wages not spent at local businesses, and medical costs. The CDC estimates that suicides result in over 44 billion dollars in work loss and medical costs. Prevention is key: reducing risk factors and promoting resilience. This course will provide a review of evidence-based studies so that healthcare professionals are informed on this complex subject. Information from the suicide prevention technical package from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be provided. Included also are strategies for screening and assessment, prevention considerations, methods of treatment, and resources for choosing evidence-based suicide prevention programs. Course #30-97 | 2017 | 60 pages | 20 posttest questions

This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. After enrolling, click on My Account and scroll down to My Active Courses. From here you’ll see links to download/print the course materials and take the CE test (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document). Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion.

Click here to learn more.

Professional Development Resources is approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).

Suicide Prevention – New Online CE Course

New Online CE Course @pdresources.org

Suicide Prevention: Evidence-Based StrategiesSuicide Prevention: Evidence-Based Strategies is a new 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that reviews evidence-based research and offers strategies for screening, assessment, treatment, and prevention of suicide in both adolescents and adults.

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. In 2015, 44,193 people killed themselves. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes, “Suicide is a serious but preventable public health problem that can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities.” People who attempt suicide but do not die face potentially serious injury or disability, depending on the method used in the attempt. Depression and other mental health issues follow the suicide attempt.

Family, friends, and coworkers are negatively affected by suicide. Shock, anger, guilt, and depression arise in the wake of this violent event. Even the community as a whole is affected by the loss of a productive member of society, lost wages not spent at local businesses, and medical costs. The CDC estimates that suicides result in over 44 billion dollars in work loss and medical costs.

Prevention is key: reducing risk factors and promoting resilience. This course will provide a review of evidence-based studies on this complex subject for psychologists, marriage & family therapists, professional counselors, and social workers. Information from the suicide prevention technical package from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be provided. Included also are strategies for screening and assessment, prevention considerations, methods of treatment, and resources for choosing evidence-based suicide prevention programs. 30-97 | 2017 | 60 pages | 20 posttest questions

Click here to learn more
– 
This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. After enrolling, click on My Account and scroll down to My Active Courses. From here you’ll see links to download/print the course materials and take the CE test (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document). Successful completion of the online CE test (80% required to pass, 3 chances to take) and course evaluation are required to earn a certificate of completion. Click here to learn more.
– 
Professional Development Resources is approved to sponsor continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); and the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678).
 – 

 

What You Can Do to Support World Suicide Prevention Day

From the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP)

Become a Facebook Fan of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) www.facebook.com/IASPinfo

World Suicide Prevention DayWORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY 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 emphasizing 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, September 10th.
  • Learning about connectedness, mental health and suicide prevention from materials found in IASP’s Web resource directory http://goo.gl/0ovDtp
  • Using the WSPD Press Preparation Package that offers media guides in the planning of an event or activity.
  • Downloading the World Suicide Prevention Day Toolkit that contains links to World Suicide Prevention Day resources and related Web pages http://goo.gl/TEvYHD
  • Holding conferences, open days, educational seminars or public lectures and panels
  • Writing articles for national, regional and community newspapers, blogs and magazines
  • Holding press conferences
  • Placing information on your website and using the IASP World Suicide Prevention Day Web banner, promoting suicide prevention in one’s native tongue. http://goo.gl/rOijcr
  • 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
  • Joining us on the official World Suicide Prevention Day Facebook Event Page http://goo.gl/b2Z0rt
  • Supporting suicide prevention 365 days a year by becoming a Facebook Fan of the IASP http://goo.gl/S7zalS
  • Following the IASP on Twitter (www.twitter.com/IASPinfo), tweeting #WSPD or #suicide or #suicideprevention
  • Creating a video about suicide prevention
  • Lighting a candle, near a window at 8 PM in support of: World Suicide Prevention Day, suicide prevention and awareness, survivors of suicide and for the memory of loved lost ones. Find “Light a Candle Near a Window at 8 PM” postcards in various languages at: http://goo.gl/9Ic1en
  • Participating in the World Suicide Prevention Day – Cycle Around the Globe ttp://goo.gl/csdyvG

 

Source: http://www.iasp.info/wspd/

Suicide Prevention Day Resources

The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are co-sponsoring World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th. The theme of this 11th anniversary event is “Stigma: A Major Barrier for Suicide Prevention.”

World Suicide Prevention DayAccording to the WHO and the latest Burden of Disease Estimation, suicide is a major public health problem in high-income countries and is an emerging problem in low- and middle-income countries. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the world, especially among young people. Nearly one million people worldwide die by suicide each year. This corresponds to one death by suicide every 40 seconds. The number of lives lost each year through suicide exceeds the number of deaths due to homicide and war combined. These staggering figures do not include nonfatal suicide attempts which occur much more frequently than deaths by suicide.

A large proportion of people who die by suicide suffer from mental illness. Recent estimates suggest that the disease burden caused by mental illnesses will account for 25% of the total disease burden in the world in the next two decades, making it the most important category of ill-health (more important than cancer or heart diseases). Yet a significant number of those with mental illnesses who die by suicide do not contact health or social services near the time of their death. In many instances there are insufficient services available to assist those in need at times of crisis.

This lack of access to appropriate care is one of the many factors that magnify the stigma associated with mental illness and with suicidal ideation and behaviour. This type of stigma, which is deeply rooted in most societies, can arise for different reasons. One of the causes of stigma is a simple lack of knowledge – that is, ignorance. This type of stigma can be directly addressed by providing a range of community-based educational programs that are targeted to specific subgroups within the society (that is, by age, educational level, religious affiliation, and so forth). The goal of such programs is to increase public awareness of the characteristics and treatment of people with mental illnesses and/or suicidal behaviour, and of the available treatment resources to help individuals with these problems.

But knowledge is not enough to combat stigma. Negative attitudes about individuals with mental illnesses and/or suicidal ideation or impulses – prejudice – is common in many communities. These negative attitudes often do not change with education about mental illnesses and suicidal behaviour. Indeed, many health professionals who feel uncomfortable dealing with persons struggling with mental illnesses or suicidal ideation often hold negative, prejudicial attitudes about such patients. This can result in a failure to provide optimal care and support for persons in crisis. Changing such prejudicial attitudes requires a long-term effort to change the underlying cultural values of the community and a parallel effort to alter the treatment norms of health care professionals.

Stigma is also the underlying motive for discrimination – inappropriate or unlawful restrictions on the freedoms of individuals with mental illnesses or suicidal behaviour. Such restrictions can occur at a personal, community or institutional level. One extreme example is the criminalization of suicidal behaviour, which still occurs in many countries. Discrimination can prevent or discourage people affected by mental illnesses and/or suicidal ideation or behaviour from seeking professional help or from returning to their normal social roles after receiving treatment for an episode of illness or crisis. Clearly, criminalization of suicidal behaviour can be a powerful deterrent on the care-seeking of individuals in crisis who desperately need to be able to access care and support, without being judged or penalized.

At a government or administrative level, stigma can have an impact on resource allocation. In both high-income and low- and middle-income countries stigmatized conditions such as mental illnesses and suicidal behaviour receive a much smaller proportion of health and welfare budgets than is appropriate, given their huge impact on the overall health of the community. Furthermore, fund-raising efforts to support public health initiatives in this area often fall flat because of lack of interest among communities, governments, and international funding agencies; that is, because of stigma.

Attempts to fight stigma, by undertaking massive public education programs, have been of limited effectiveness in reducing the stigma associated with mental illness and suicide. New, innovative methods that are more target-group specific or that creatively use the emerging social media need to be developed and tested. Despite the difficulty and complexity of fighting stigma, persons, organizations and governments committed to the dual goals of improving the quality of life of individuals suffering from mental illnesses and suicidal ideation and of reducing the huge burden of suicide on families and communities don’t have an option. Unless stigma is confronted and challenged, it will continue to be a major barrier to the treatment of mental illnesses and to the prevention of suicide.

World Suicide Prevention Day provides a special opportunity to refocus our collective energies on addressing this fundamental problem. Changing cultural attitudes about mental illness and suicidal behaviour requires a scientific awareness of the many forces that influence community norms and the concerted effort of a wide range of community stakeholders over a prolonged period of time. World Suicide Prevention Day is an ideal time to inspire people to work towards the goal of developing creative new methods for eradicating stigma. Comprehensive local or national plans for the prevention of suicide will not reach their full potential until the problem of stigma is effectively addressed.

On this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day, IASP is hosting its first core activity, which will be to undertake a collective Cycle Around the World, with the aim to globally raise awareness of suicide and its prevention, and to reduce the stigma associated with it. Further details of this activity will be published on the IASP website on a regular basis over the coming months.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO SUPPORT WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY

Become a Facebook Fan of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) www.facebook.com/IASPinfo

WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY 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 emphasizing 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.

Source: http://www.iasp.info/wspd/index.php

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Suicide Prevention and Research

NIMH researcher Dr. Jane Pearson talks about warning signs as well as progress in suicide prevention.

NIMH researcher Dr. Jane Pearson talks about warning signs as well as progress in suicide prevention.

Click to watch video

Transcript

Dr. Jane Pearson: Suicide is a major public health problem in this country. And like other external causes of death — accidents, homicides — suicides are also considered external causes of death. And because of that, we think we have opportunities to prevent it.

Announcer: Dr. Jane Pearson is a leader of the suicide prevention research team at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda. The tragedy of suicide touches large numbers of American families every year. But people across the globe now benefit from advances in suicide prevention research and guidelines that emerged from national and global strategies formed a decade ago. An example of specific action steps that have been developed can be found in medical emergency rooms.

Dr. Jane Pearson: We can do better for people who actually come to the emergency department saying they’re suicidal. We felt like we could find better ways of helping those people how to better screen, access them, treat them. I think some other areas we’ve made significant progress is in understanding what treatments seem to work at least for people who have attempted suicide. We’ve got some interventions, some psycho-social counseling for psychotherapy that look particularly effective. And a number of these use cognitive behavioral approaches that directly address people’s thinking about suicide. It’s really important in suicide prevention that we think of continuity of care when people’s care changes as they leave the hospital going back into the community. We know that’s a very high risk time. So we need to think about what would provide more continuous care — more support for both the individual and maybe their family members to help them stay well and to start getting the treatment that they need.

Announcer: An alliance of people and organizations, including researchers at NIMH, has uncovered critical pieces of information that include those individuals who may be at higher risk for suicide. Included are people with known mental disorders such as schizophrenia or bipolar. People with alcohol or drug problems may have higher risks along with those who suffer from chronic illness. A family history of suicide could serve as a warning as well as people who have been physically abused or neglected….

Dr. Jane Pearson: The highest risk groups are people — are older men, white men in particular who are 85 and older who have a rate of suicide that’s four times the national average. American Indian and Alaskan native males also have very high risks.

Announcer: There are many things we as individuals can do to look for warning signs but perhaps the best advice for loved ones and friends — don’t dismiss or minimize threats of suicide.

Dr. Jane Pearson: If somebody’s talking about suicide you really should take it seriously. There may be parents or even providers who say — oh, somebody just wants to get some attention. Well, they probably need to get some attention for a reason. It’s worth following through. It might be that we don’t know for sure if somebody really intends to or not. And the individual might not be certain either, but we certainly want to give them some help.

Announcer: Dr. Pearson’s work and wide-ranging NIMH-funded research have helped shed new light on suicide treatment and prevention.

Dr. Jane Pearson: We’re trying to pull together what we can learn from surveillance data to find the highest risk groups and really get them the interventions they need. And there are people across NIMH helping with this, across federal agencies. And I think there’s a lot of momentum, and I think we’ve got some good reason to hope that we can actually change these numbers.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/media/video/suicide-prevention-and-research.shtml

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