Research in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry finds, in a study of 18,154 subjects diagnosed with schizophrenia, that “The highest suicide-related mortality was seen among subjects recently diagnosed with schizophrenia. Among all potential baseline risk factors for completed suicide examined, the variables most associated with completed suicide were history of suicide attempts and usage of antidepressant medication.”
The New York Times reports that survivors of suicide attempts, who vastly outnumber the numbers of completed suicides, are beginning to be heard. “We as researchers haven’t yet tapped the potential of working with suicide attempt survivors,” said Matthew K. Nock, a professor of psychology at Harvard. “There’s the potential to learn from them not only more about the experience itself, but about treatments, and where there are gaps in our understanding.” Leah Harris, of the National Empowerment Center, adds in the article, “Even in treatment settings, all the interventions are brought down on you if you even mention it. So you just learn to shut up.” Discuss →
Representative Tim Murphy is a psychologist who proposes unsatisfactory solutions to our most pressing social problems. In a “shockingly regressive” piece of legislation known as the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013” (H.R. 3717), he proposes to expand the highly controversial practice of Involuntary Outpatient Committment (IOC) for persons with serious mental illnesses. But that approach is not the answer, as documented in a fact sheet authored by the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery: Full Article →
As I walked alone up the stairs to the Rayburn House Office Building this morning to attend the hearing of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health on H.R. 3717 – the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act – I thought about how I wasn’t truly alone. In spirit with me were all the people who had experienced scary, coercive, and dehumanizing interventions in the name of help. In spirit with me was every mental health provider who went into the field hoping to really make a difference in their communities, but became cynical and discouraged in the face of so many broken systems and broken spirits. Full Article →
Hello from another fellow Virginian. First, I want to extend my deepest condolences for the horrific tragedy that befell your family last year, and for the loss of your precious son Gus. I think I know, at least in part, how agonizing it is when our loved ones cannot access helpful supports, and how it feels to watch in horror as they spiral downward into darkness and despair. We all agree that our mental health systems are broken. Those of us who have been down the hellish road of struggling with our mental health and have found recovery have developed a new vision that will take us forwards, not backwards. Please give us the opportunity to share that new vision with you. Full Article →
What do you do when the media reports stories of children who have killed themselves on SSRIs? Position the stories of these children, not the drugs they were taking, as a suicide risk. Issue dire threats of copycat suicide, publish studies of suicide contagion and warn the families of these children and the media that more children will die if mouthy parents are allowed to speak and upstart journalists are allowed to report. And then position psychiatrists as the only people who can talk about suicide without producing an epidemic of self inflicted deaths. Full Article →
The first time I tried to kill myself, I was 14. I won’t go into the indignity of being involuntarily locked up, time after time, until I satisfactorily convinced the staff that I wouldn’t harm myself or attempt suicide again. (I was lying.) The system taught me to lie, to hide my suicidal feelings in order to escape yet another round of dehumanizing lock-ups and “treatments.” Full Article →
Researchers from the U.K. and Canada identified early life risk factors from a 1958 birth cohort that predicted suicide up to 50 years later. The strongest factors for suicide were birth order (later-born children more at risk), young maternal age, emotional adversities (such as parental death, neglect, domestic tension, institutional care, and parental divorce/separation and bullying. The strongest link was for persons with three or more adversities.
In a few days, I will turn 65. Aside from asking myself, “Where did the time go?” I am reminded that my becoming a senior citizen is a part of a greater phenomenon–the aging of the baby boomer generation. While much attention has been focused on the rise of dementia and Alzheimer’s that will accompany the graying of America, there exists another equally significant hazard of growing old in our culture – the increasing number of older Americans who are attempting suicide – and succeeding. Given that I have battled depression my entire life, this trend takes on personal significance for me. Full Article →
Avatar of equipoise Tim Gunn, reflecting on his two and a half years in a psychiatric hospital, offers some life advice to Terry Gross on Fresh Air; “I have respect for myself, I have respect for you, I’m taking the world seriously, and let’s navigate the world with some style.” Gunn remembers his time in the hospital, and in particular on psychiatrist’s persistence, with gratitude.
In 2009, my friend Leonie’s 22-year-old son Shane killed himself and another young man after taking Citalopram for 17 days. Eighteen days after Shane’s death, Psychiatrist Dr Michael Corry publicly stated his view that he could not have done what he did had he not been on Citalopram. Initially Leonie admits to thinking he was mad. How could medicine prescribed by a doctor have anything to do with what had happened to her son? Full Article →
The body of 78 year-old Bob Farthing, who had been missing since Wednesday, was found in the back seat of his car Friday evening. ”He would never, ever have disappeared, he would have never taken off and left my mother like this,” Farthing’s daughter had said during the search. “He is struggling with the withdrawal from the drug Paxil.”
This has got to stop. Around the world a million people die from suicide each year and the response internationally is to pour more funding and channel more people into psychiatric services. Three large studies have now found that the more we spend on mental health services the higher our suicide rates. In addition, a recent study has completely discredited claims that 90% of those who die from suicide are mentally ill at the time of their death. We need to use this evidence to stop the expansion of psychiatry as a suicide prevention measure. Full Article →
The Danish Agency for Patients’ Rights is holding a psychiatrist responsible for a patient’s suicide, which came 11 days after an 8-minute consultation that resulted in a prescription for antidepressants. Denmark will also restrict prescriptions of antidepressants for 18- to 24-year-olds. Peter Gøtzsche, commenting on the case in a Danish newspaper today, wrote “It is true that depression increases the risk of suicide, but antidepressants increase it even more.”
Researchers from Vanderbilt University and the University of Alabama found, in a retrospective study of increased suicidal behavior among 36,842 children who were new users of antidepressant medication, that suicidality did not differ between the various antidepressants studied. They did find, however, that users of multiple antidepressants had a concomitantly increased risk of attempting suicide.
I received the following question from a reader regarding the controversial CAFÉ – Comparisons of Atypicals in First Episode of Psychosis – study. (This was the study in which Dan Markingson committed suicide.) “It appears that there was no head-to-head with a control group taking a placebo pill. Nor was there a control group featuring ‘old’ types of ‘antipsychotic’. If that was the case then it is very poor study . . . what on earth can you hope to show from the data?” I started to write a response, but the subject is complex, and my response became the following article. Full Article →
Responding to a letter signed by 175 scholars asking for an inquiry into the death of Dan Markingson at the University of Minnesota, the Faculty Senate voted to investigate clinical research at the university. But the university president says the Markingson case will not be part of the investigation. What is he trying to hide? Full Article →
Telling people emphatically how much I am suffering at times, asking for reassurance that my dear ones love and care about me and sense my purpose, may make me unpopular with some who pride themselves on being “more together,” yet it also fosters the intimacy, closeness and trust I feel with so many. And because of it, I don’t need to ask myself if anyone will care if I die. I can experience that reassurance while I’m alive, if I have the humility to ask for it, and keep asking until my soul is met with other souls who genuinely care. That experience humbles me greatly and somehow makes all of my brokenness feel like love and open heartedness. Full Article →
For a scathing, 11-minute overview of the death of Dan Markingson at the University of Minnesota, and new allegations of coercion into psychiatric clinical trials, you can’t do much better than this excellent investigative report by Jeff Baillon. Full Article →
It’s pretty clear that after a suicidal experience, each of us comes to terms with it in our own way. It helps to know what protections we have while working things out – and what more might be needed. Lawyer Susan Stefan is writing a book about laws and policies related to people who’ve been suicidal, and she’s looking for your stories. Full Article →
Countries with more psychiatrists and mental health beds have higher suicide rates, according to a study in the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry. Researchers from Denmark and India drew data from the World Health Organization, the United Nations Statistics Division and the CIA World Fact Book to compare suicide rates in 191 countries. The authors write that “although these associations should be interpreted with caution, as the issues are complex, we suggest that population-based public health strategies may have greater impact on national suicide rates than curative mental health services for individuals.”
Being the parent of a dead child is hard. Being the parent of a child who died from suicide may be even harder. I love my son and am proud of him and work to make sure that his having lived makes the world a better place. Full Article →
At a time when psychiatrists are considering whether suicidal behavior constitutes a disorder rather than a symptom, there is strong evidence that physicians have far higher rates of suicide than the general population, with psychiatrists found to be at the highest risk of suicide. In light of this information, you may be asking yourself, as I am, whether it would be wise to conduct a brief mental state examination of any physician we consult (particularly any psychiatrist) as a way of ensuring our physical and emotional safety? To this end I have prepared a quick diagnostic test that you may carry in your pocket or purse for easy administration next time you are visiting a health professional. Full Article →
Sera Davidow, MIA Blogger and Director of The Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community (RLC), discusses her lived experience within the psychiatric system. Sera entered the system as a teenager and cites ‘non-compliance’ as a part of what saved her from a very different path through life – one that would not have included freedom from psychiatric labels and medications. Sera is now a mother, advocate, activist and filmmaker, and an active part of Hearing Voices USA and Occupy the Judge Rotenberg Center, amongst a variety of other projects. This is latest in a series of testimonials featured on MadInAmerica.com produced by the “Open Paradigm Project” (more…)