Jeffrey Lieberman, past-president of the American Psychiatric Association, authored an Op-Ed in last Friday’s New York Times, calling for improved mental health screenings in schools and emergency rooms in the wake of the murder of Virginia journalists Alison Park and Adam Ward. In support of forced treatment mechanisms, Lieberman claims: “Almost every mentally ill perpetrator of mass violence had been symptomatic and untreated for lengthy periods of time before their crime, because they (or their families) did not seek treatment or they refused it.” More →
The Intercept illustrates the growing insecurity of our medical and mental health data in an age of privacy breaches. Individual stories detail instances of electronic therapy notes being shared between all doctors in a practice, employees being fired after mental health information is disclosed through workplace wellness programs, and police data on past suicide attempts being used to prevent Canadian citizens from crossing the US border.
An influential 2007 US National Institute of Mental Health-led study included a statistical manipulation that disguised the fact that youth taking antidepressants were actually over four times as likely to experience suicidal events as those taking placebo, according to a study in the International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine. This new published analysis has appeared several years after the revelations were first publicly discussed. More →
In The New Yorker, Rachel Aviv writes about the physician-assisted euthanizing of Godelieva De Troyer, a Belgian woman who decided to kill herself because she had long suffered in depression. And in Everyday Health, Therese Borchard discusses the article and writes about moments in the past when her depression made her want a physician-assisted suicide. Meanwhile in Canada, a year after the country's Supreme Court struck down a ban on physician-assisted suicide, the government has yet to draft any guidelines for the practice. More →
"A&E staff are often unsympathetic to patients suffering a mental health crisis and judgmental about injuries they have inflicted on themselves," stated The Guardian about a report from the Care Quality Commission. After investigating the country's hospital emergency departments, the Commission found doctors and nurses to be "unhelpful," and lacking in "basic respect" towards people suffering emotional crises. And those professionals with higher levels of mental health training were often rated the worst by patients. More →
Members of The Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective have been engaged in ongoing online discussions about the pathologization of suicidal feelings in contemporary Suicidology. Many of the authors have been asking whether the psychiatric approach is seriously hindering understanding of feelings that were historically more often seen as having "theological, philosophical, legal, and aesthetical" import. More →
The Lancet Psychiatry has an article about London, England's Maytree Suicide Respite Centre, "a charity and sanctuary for people in suicidal crisis." The Centre runs with a few paid staff and nearly a hundred volunteers. More →
Attempts at suicide by youth frighten and estrange parents, caregivers and others, and the resultant deepening mutual misunderstanding and lack of empathy is counter-therapeutic, according to a study in PLoS One. More →
There is a "paucity" of research into why elderly people in nursing homes commit suicide, according to a review of the literature in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. And in the studies that have been done, the roles that nursing home conditions, staff or different psychiatric or psychological interventions may have played are rarely examined. More →
Suicides among US children aged 5-11 remained steady overall between 1993 and 2012, according to a study in JAMA Pediatrics. However, the researchers noted, the suicide rates dropped among white children, and increased significantly among black children. More →
Prominent child psychiatrist Stanley Kutcher recently made headlines in Canada with his study that found two "widely marketed" suicide-prevention strategies apparently don't work. On her blog, Patricia Ivan critically evaluates Kutcher's analytical techniques, and also wonders if the man might have an axe to grind against non-drug psychotherapeutic approaches. Kutcher, she writes, co-authored one of the most infamously corrupt and misleading antidepressant studies of all time. More →
I thought I would make a small contribution to the discussion about how coverage of the recent airline tragedy focuses so much on the supposed ‘mental illness’ of the pilot and not so much on the possible role of antidepressants. Of course we will never know the answer to these questions but it is important, I think, to combat the simplistic nonsense wheeled out after most such tragedies, the nonsense that says the person had an illness that made them do awful things. So, just to confirm what many recipients of antidepressants, clinicians and researchers have been saying for a long time, here are some findings from our recent New Zealand survey of over 1,800 people taking anti-depressants, which we think is the largest survey to date.
With the current focus on the possible contribution of psychoactive drugs to the crash of GermanWings flight A320 on Tuesday, March 24, it is useful to identify potential links between the effect of the antidepressants and the events. In all 47 cases listed on SSRIstories, the pilots were taking antidepressant medications, mostly SSRIs, often in combination with other medications and sometimes with alcohol.
The crash last week of the Germanwings plane has shocked many. In view of the apparent mental health record of the co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, questions have been asked about the screening policies of airlines. The focus has generally been on the conditions pilots may have or the arguments they might be having with partners or other situational factors that might make them unstable. Even when the issue of the medication a pilot may be taking is raised, it is in the context of policies that permit pilots to continue on drugs like antidepressants to ensure any underlying conditions are effectively treated. But fewer treatments in medicine are effective in this sense than people might think and even when effective they come with effects that need to be balanced against the likely effects of the underlying condition.
Facebook partnered with mental health organizations and has made it easier for users to report posts from people who seem to be in psychological distress. Many media are lauding the strategy, but some critics are raising concerns about privacy. More →
A rise in unemployment rates was linked to a rise in suicides in all regions of the world, according to research in The Lancet Psychiatry. The effect was most pronounced in countries that normally had relatively lower unemployment rates. More →
Counselor and artist Sara Nash discusses her own experiences of feeling "overwhelmingly lost, in pain, invisible, and at times, hopeless" -- and asks whether it's truly good that she rarely shares these feelings when she talks to college students about suicidal ideation. More →
A team of researchers working with the US Department of Veterans Affairs found that both insomnia and suicidal ideation were reduced among veterans who participated in up to six sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia. More →
For nearly two decades, Big Pharma commercials have falsely told Americans that mental illness is associated with a chemical brain imbalance, but buried SAMHSA survey results tell us that depression and suicidality are associated with poverty, unemployment, and mass incarceration. And these results also point us to the reality that American society has now become so especially oppressive for young people that an embarrassingly large number of American teenagers and young adults are depressed and suicidal.
The present-day mental health establishment focuses primarily on a ‘biological’ cause for despair and other so-called ‘aberrant’ mental manifestations in the world. But when we look at the news, it’s bursting with sad realities. Animals dying, people starving, rape everywhere. Climate change bringing more disasters, racist mortgage practices. Are we to grow a skin so thick that we don’t cry when we read about a government firing scud missiles on its people? How are we to process mass-murder in an elementary school? What is more aberrant: to be so hardened that we do not cry, or to cry constantly? Might the healthy response to depressing realities to become depressed? How do we create hope when so often our world seems so terrible? How much activism is enough?
People who have taken a psychedelic drug at least once in their lives have significantly less suicidal thinking and are less likely to attempt suicide than the general population, according to a study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. More →
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