WXXI AM News

Suicide

JAMA; Oren Miron

A study published this week finds suicide rates among teens and young adults are accelerating across the country, and local clinicians say the Rochester area is no exception.

New research shows the number of children and teens visiting emergency rooms for suicidal thoughts and attempts to take their own lives has doubled between 2007 and 2015. Our guests discuss how to identify warning signs and help children who struggle with mental health issues. We also preview this year’s edition of the Reel Mind Film Series.

Our guests:

  • Melanie Funchess, director of community engagement for the Mental Health Association of Rochester
  • Dr. Larry Guttmacher, M.D., clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and co-director of the Reel Mind Film Series
  • Dr. Eric Caine, M.D., former chair and professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Ruth Turner, chief of student support services and social emotional learning for the Rochester City School District
  • Gwennie von Einsiedel, special guest of the Reel Mind Film Series

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

Today, Chacku Mathai is the CEO of the Mental Health Association of Rochester.

But at 15, he wanted to die.

Describing himself as an immigrant kid with dark skin in a largely white neighborhood, he said he felt misunderstood and targeted at school. He attempted suicide by overdosing on alcohol and other drugs.

Many American soldiers who attempt suicide have no prior mental health diagnosis, according to the most recent study to make use of data collected by the U.S. Army and the National Institute of Mental Health.  

The study, published Wednesday in the psychiatry journal of the American Medical Association, looked at anonymized records of more than 9,000 American soldiers who attempted suicide while on active duty. More than a third of them had not been diagnosed with a mental illness.

A simple phone call can reduce suicide risk

Jul 18, 2018
JAMA Psychiatry

The latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show suicide rates continuing to climb nationwide. In New York, the CDC found that the rate has risen almost 30 percent since 1999.

People who have gone to the emergency room once for an attempted suicide are at high risk for attempting it again after their release.

Now, a study has shown a straightforward way of reducing that risk: calling those patients.

The recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain have sparked concern among mental health advocates, who note that celebrity suicides can have a copycat impact on the general population.

Our guests discuss suicide from a range of angles, including the impact of loss on surviving family. In studio:

  • Bill Perun, suicide attempt survivor, past president of NAMI Rochester, vice president of NAMI NYS, member of the NAMI National Peer Council, and certified Peer Specialist for the New York Office of Mental Health
  • Carrie Andrews, survivor of suicide loss
  • Dr. Joe Vasile, M.D., psychiatrist, and president and CEO of the Greater Rochester Independent Practice Association (GRIPA)
  • Megan Clifford, LCSW-R, certified Mental Health First Aid instructor

Suicide rates are rising across the U.S. and they are a leading cause of death in our country according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, what’s important to understand is that suicide can be prevented. At a time when many are still reeling from the recent deaths of designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, we examine what can be done to prevent future risk.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or know someone who is, please call the national suicide prevention hotline. That number is: 1-800-273-8255.

Each year, more than 44,000 people die by suicide, leaving their friends and family looking for answers. Experts say siblings are often overlooked, and are not receiving the mental health support they need. The Sibling Survivors of Suicide Loss group says about 25,000 people each year become sibling survivors of suicide, and can experience thoughts of taking their own lives.

This hour, we discuss the challenges siblings face. In studio:

  • Patrick Scahill, founder and chairman of Superfly Corp. 
  • Adrienne Daniels, manager of bereavement services for Lifetime Care
  • Tim Garbach, Meg's Gift

One of the most talked about new shows is also one of the most controversial. The Netflix series 13 Reasons Why is about a teen suicide. Some critics have praised the show as original and moving. Suicide prevention groups have said it glamorizes teen suicide, and they worry about the effect that could have on viewers. In fact, the Monroe County Office of Mental Health wrote a series of points to respond to the show, and to help guide young viewers.

We discuss it with:

npr.org

ORISKANY (AP) Authorities say correction officers in upstate New York saved an inmate who was trying to hang himself in a county jail.

The Oneida County sheriff's office says the suicide attempt happened at about 11 a.m. Saturday.

Undersheriff Robert Swenszkowski says Officer Daniel Jones saw an inmate trying to hang himself with a bed sheet and called for backup.

Swenszkowski says correction officers removed the sheet and the inmate was transported to a local hospital for evaluation.

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