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Common Screening Tool May Help Identify Patients at Risk of Suicide


While there is no screening tool proven to identify people at risk of suicide, a new study examining medical records of more than 84,000 patients who completed the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) at every depression-care visit over several years suggests that the commonly used depression-assessment instrument may be a useful screening tool for detecting suicide risk.

Read the full article at Psychiatric News


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8 Fallacies About Suicide

To mark Suicide Prevention Week, support groups and non-profit organizations from all over 
the world are educating the public about the realities of suicide, while reaching out to help people
 struggling with mental health conditions such as clinical depression and bipolar disorder.

To educate and enlighten my fellow Filipinos, I’d like to present to you the 8 biggest fallacies about 
suicide. May this stop the stigma and allow us to help a loved one who may be suffering in silence 
with the highly misunderstood disease called depression.

FALLACY: People who talk about suicide are just weak, dramatic and KSP (kulang sa pansin).
REALITY: Suicide can strike any gender, race, age, financial status, and type of personality. Even the most intelligent, spiritual, and strong-willed people can get suicidal. “Instead of ostracizing them, what they actually need is compassion and empathy,” said psychiatrist Dr. Rene Samaniego of Makati Medical Center. “They are in pain and often times reach out for help because they do not know what to do and have lost hope,” explained Kevin Caruso, founder of, which promotes suicide prevention, awareness, and support. “Always take talk about suicide seriously. Always.”

FALLACY: You shouldn’t talk about suicide with anyone, especially the suicidal ones, because it could give them the idea.
REALITY: “It is important to talk about suicide with people who are suicidal because you will learn more about their mindset and intentions, and allow them to diffuse some of the tension that is causing their suicidal feelings,” said Caruso.



Back Home: Nearly 1 in every 5 suicides is a veteran

Posted on 

Veterans are killing themselves at more than double the rate of the civilian population with about 49,000 taking their own lives between 2005 and 2011, according to data collected over eight months by News21.
Mary Anne Burke holds her son's dog tag after completing a 16-mile walk throughout downtown Washington, D.C. Burke's son, Raymond Matthew Burke, died by suicide in 2001 while he was on leave from his naval station. Mary Ann Burke and her husband, Raymond Burke, have participated in every Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk and plan to complete two more walks next year.  (Chase Cook/News21)Records from 48 states show the annual suicide rate among veterans is about 30 for every 100,000 of the population, compared to a civilian rate of about 14 per 100,000. The suicide rate among veterans increased an average 2.6 percent a year from 2005 to 2011, or more than double that of the 1.1 percent civilian rate, according to News21’s analysis of states’ mortality data.
Nearly one in every five suicides nationally is a veteran — 18 to 20 percent annually — compared with Census data that shows veterans make up about 10 percent of the U.S. adult population.

Mary Anne Burke holds her son’s dog tag after completing a 16-mile walk throughout downtown Washington, D.C. Burke’s son, Raymond Matthew Burke, died by suicide in 2001 while he was on leave from his naval station. Mary Ann Burke and her husband, Raymond Burke, have participated in every Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk and plan to complete two more walks next year. (Chase Cook/News21)
“Anytime a veteran who fought our enemies abroad or helped defend America from within our borders dies by their own hand, it’s completely unacceptable,” Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs, told an American Legion conference in Washington earlier this year. The suicide rate has remained consistently high, he said, adding that more work was needed to address gaps in veterans’ mental health care.

Read the full article at American Homecomings 



Blood Test May Predict Risk of Suicide

By Joseph Brownstein  |   August 20, 2013 12:32pm

A depressed-looking man sits with his hands on his head.

It can be difficult to tell when a person is contemplating suicide -- people may be reluctant to speak about it. But now, researchers say they may have a new tool that reveals suicidal thoughts with a blood test.

The researchers found the levels of certain molecules in the blood differed when people with bipolar disorder were having suicidal thoughts, and they were able to confirm their findings in the bodies of men who had recently committed suicide.

"We found some blood biomarkers, some changes in molecules in the blood, that are associated with having a high suicidal risk, and then we validated those changes in blood from suicide completers," said Dr. Alexander Niculescu III, an associate professor of psychiatry and medical neuroscience at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Read more at Live Science 



Study downplaying military suicide-PTSD link questioned

DOD study blames depression, alcohol for service suicides, but retired general says it failed to connect the dots

Military PTSD

Former U.S. Army Sergeant Kristofer Goldsmith talks about his experience in Iraq, which lead to his attempted suicide, during testimony before Congress in Washington, 2008.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
The steady annual increase in the number of military suicides following the U.S.-led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan is often assumed to be caused by the trauma of combat. 
But a Department of Defense study published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded, from a study of 83 cases, that the leading causes of suicide among service members between 2001 and 2007 were mental-health problems and alcohol abuse – tracking with trends in the wider civilian population, where suicide rates also rose sharply between 1999 and 2010.
Still, a top former general and advocate for veteran support is wary of downplaying the link between combat trauma and suicide.
Military suicides have continued to escalate each year since the period covered by the research published last week, prompting the Pentagon last year to describe the problem as an “epidemic." The Department of Veterans Affairs reported in February that 22 veterans commit suicide every day, compared with 18 per day in 2007. And last year, more active duty soldiers took their own lives than were killed in combat, according to the Associated Press.
Read the full article at ALJAZEERA America 



'Too trapped in war to be at peace'

By Steve Vogel

The Washington Post

Published: August 24, 2013

After veteran Daniel Somers’s suicide, his family has a new mission: Improve VA services

Shortly before his death on June 10, Army veteran Daniel Somers wrote a note for his family, asking his wife, Angel, to share it as she saw fit.
“I am left with basically nothing,” he typed on his laptop at their Phoenix townhouse. “Too trapped in a war to be at peace, too damaged to be at war.”
His service in Iraq, including multiple combat missions as a turret gunner, left him with severe post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. But the government, he wrote, had “turned around and abandoned me.”
Somers felt frustrated in his efforts to get mental health and medical care from the Department of Veterans Affairs. An antiquated scheduling system at the Phoenix medical center left him waiting, often in vain, for a postcard with the date of his next mental health appointment.
Read the full article at Stars And Stripes 



Suicide survivors need help too


We often call people who have lived through extreme experiences “survivors.” We bandy around the word with a promiscuous generosity, applying it not just to those who’ve endured deadly diseases and harrowing accidents and military combat and vicious crimes — we apply it liberally to those who’ve made it through potentially unsettling diagnoses and Catholic school. But there’s a class of individuals who’ve been in that dangerous place between life and death who don’t get a lot of celebratory annual dinners or 5K fun runs, who don’t have rubber bracelets or ribbons proclaiming their tenacity. Instead, they’re too often shrouded in shame and silence. They’re suicide attempt survivors.

Every 60 seconds, someone in this country tries to end his or her life. It’s estimated that 19 out of 20 people who attempt suicide fail – but they are far likelier to succeed when they try again. That population of people who’ve tried to kill themselves is a unique and disparate one. Some of its members are only still here reluctantly, biding their time until the next opportunity. Others have moved on and put their past attempts behind them. But few of them are granted the supportive openness that survivors of other life-changing events receive.
It’s ironic that people who successfully commit suicide are often romanticized as tragic heroes or the stars of poorly thought out fashion spreads, while those who survive attempts frequently wind up bullied — or conspicuously ignored. To have a history of being suicidal – and the addiction/depression/bipolar disorder/post traumatic stress that may have accompanied it – is still seen as shameful or, perhaps even worse, as no big deal. Note, for example, how Paris Jackson’s own family dismissed her recent hospitalization as “an overreaction” and said that she just needs “to learn there are certain guidelines when you grow up.” But here’s the thing — if you ever think it’s even remotely acceptable to give an individual crap for trying to end his or her life, just remember, that how Joseph Stalin rolled. 
Two years ago, JD Schramm gave a TED talk on the need for “breaking the silence” for suicide attempt survivors. In it, he talks about how there are “Very few resources available to someone who has attempted to end their life,” and notes, “Because of our taboos we’re not sure what to say … and that furthers that isolation.” His talk has been viewed nearly half a million times.

Read more at Salon



ADHD reaches beyond childhood

Leslie Wade
March 4, 2013
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is often considered something children outgrow. But researchers say the disorder can carry over into adulthood.
A new study published in this week's Pediatrics journal finds that about a third of those diagnosed as children continue to have ADHD as adults, and more than half of those adults have another psychiatric disorder as well.
Suicide rates were nearly five times higher in adults who had childhood ADHD compared to those who did not, according to the study. Researchers aren't exactly sure why; they speculate that problems associated with childhood ADHD, such as lower academic achievement and social isolation, make people more prone to life issues as adults.

The study looked at roughly 230 people born between 1976 and 1982 who were diagnosed with ADHD as children. The group was followed until they were about 30 years old.
Researchers think the higher rates of suicide and psychiatric illness in those with childhood ADHD are tied to depression and impulsive behavior.
Living with ADHD can be challenging. The disorder often makes it more difficult for school children to pay attention in class. They may be more fidgety, hyperactive, and often act before they think things through, experts say. Their grades can suffer, and they tend to have trouble getting along with their peers.
As they grow up, people with ADHD are may be underemployed and are more inclined to have problems and accidents on the job, says Dr. Russell Barkley, clinical professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.