Students are rolling back into town, and many of them will already be stressed out. Some will try suicide; some will succeed.
As the CDC reported this summer, suicide rates are rising.
Can suicide be prevented?
A top researcher asking that question will be in town Thursday. It’s a bit of a hoof and in the middle of the day, but Maria Oquendo. of UPenn will be at McLean Hospital for a talk on on “Suicidal Subtypes: Delineating Phenotypes to Identify Underlying Biosignatures.” Noon, Service Building, Pierce Hall. Details.
Her effort dovetails with that of Matthew Nook of Harvard, who was described in an NYTimes article as “the suicide detective.”
Suicide is a leading cause of death in the US. Suicide rates increased in nearly every state from 1999 through 2016. Mental health conditions are often seen as the cause of suicide, but suicide is rarely caused by any single factor. In fact, many people who die by suicide are not known to have a diagnosed mental health condition at the time of death. Other problems often contribute to suicide, such as those related to relationships, substance use, physical health, and job, money, legal, or housing stress. Making sure government, public health, healthcare, employers, education, the media and community organizations are working together is important for preventing suicide. Public health departments can bring together these partners to focus on comprehensive state and community efforts with the greatest likelihood of preventing suicide.
States and communities can:
- Identify and support people at risk of suicide.
- Teach coping and problem-solving skills to help people manage challenges with their relationships, jobs, health, or other concerns.
- Promote safe and supportive environments. This includes safely storing medications and firearms to reduce access among people at risk.
- Offer activities that bring people together so they feel connected and not alone.
- Connect people at risk to effective and coordinated mental and physical healthcare.
- Expand options for temporary help for those struggling to make ends meet.
- Prevent future risk of suicide among those who have lost a loved one to suicide.