Like a lot of people, when I first heard that the pilot who crashed a jet into the Alps last week had a note from a doctor saying he was unfit to fly and that he'd suffered from mental illness, I assumed the system had failed him — and failed the 149 other people aboard that airliner.
Middle-aged white people in the United States are bucking a global trend as they face an escalation in deaths from suicide, overdose and alcohol related deaths, according to a study from Anne Case and Angus Deaton of Princeton University.
“You have to treat the root of the problem, and not just operate on the symptoms,” explained Ebbem, a Norwegian medical student and my seatmate on a recent flight from Oslo to Amsterdam. “When I did my psychiatric rotations in northern Norway, I would ask people ‘How are you today?’ and they would talk for great lengths and detail about everything that was bothering them. It was as if no one had ever asked them ‘How are you today?’ It was clear they had a lot to get off their chest. It helped that I was an outsider who they had never met and had no long-term presence in their community.”
Men in the middle years — that is, men between the ages of 35 to 64 — make up less than a fifth of the U.S. population. They also account for 40 percent of suicides.
As I mentioned in the Suicide Prevention Resource Center’s (SPRC) Spark Talk video, because of the large number of people in this demographic and its high rate of suicide, it will not be possible to reduce the overall number of suicides in the U.S. unless the MIMY suicide rate drops.
This week, I have a personal call to action: Asking your state Representatives to support SHB 1047, the secure drug take-back bill. In order to stay alive, this bill (now in the House Rules Committee) needs to be pulled from Rules and receive a floor vote by 5PM on Wednesday, March 8.
With enough phone calls and emails to legislators, this will happen!
More adolescents than ever are struggling with their mental health. While not a shock, this reality comes with concerns: How do we help adolescents? How do we fix mental health issues? Where do we target adolescents who need the help? The Boston Herald’s Kathleen McKiernan investigates the answers that we as a community so desperately need in Special Report: Schools face surge in suicide attempts.
This morning, I submitted a testimony before the House Health Care and Wellness Committee, which is considering several pieces of legislation related to substance abuse prevention and treatment. My testimony was in support of House Bill 1047, a drug take-back program to protect public health through safe storage and disposal of medications:
It's that time of the year again, where we reflect on the past twelve months and make New Year’s resolutions. In the suicide prevention field, we look towards 2017 while learning from new data, ideas, and tools.
Passing in a landslide, the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R.34) is on its way to President Obama’s desk next Tuesday. Hailed as the most significant piece of mental health legislation in nearly a decade, it is designed to reform and increase funding for research, approval, and delivery of lifesaving cures and treatment.