Influential panel raises doubts on youth suicide screeningAP News
April 12, 2022
The US Preventative Services Task Force posted draft guidance last week suggesting that there’s not enough evidence to recommend regularly screening young people for suicidality if they do not show obvious signs. Many agree that more research is needed but there’s also no evidence that asking kids if they’ve ever attempted or considered suicide causes harm. “In the meantime, what are you going to do with this mental health crisis? You cannot turn a blind eye,” said psychologist Lisa Horowitz of the National Institute of Mental Health. “This report may actually set the field (of suicide prevention) back,” said Dr. Christine Moutier of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Why American Teens Are So SadThe Atlantic
April 11, 2022
From 2009 to 2021 there was an 18% increase in high school students in the US who said they felt “persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness,” with 44% reporting these feelings in 2021, the highest level of sadness among teens ever recorded. This article explores some of the reasons why this might be the case, including that social media use has increased while teens are spending less time with their peers in person. Teens are also more exposed to stressful world news now than ever before. Lisa Damour, a clinical psychologist says, “In the last decade teenagers have become increasingly stressed by concerns about gun violence, climate change, and the political environment. Increased stress among young people is linked to increasing levels of sadness. Girls, more than boys, are socialized to internalize distress, meaning that they tend to collapse in on themselves by becoming depressed or anxious.” The increasing availability of opioids could be playing a role – one study found that a sixth of the increase in teen suicides was associated with a parental opioid addiction.

Suicide prevention module superior to usual care for adults with substance use disorderHealio
April 11, 2022
**Content warning – graphic image** A new study has found that treatments specifically targeting suicide prevention among those who use substances are more effective than those traditionally used treatment methods that do not address suicidality. Study author Richard K. Ries, MD and colleagues wrote, “…the risk of suicide is 10-fold higher for individuals with alcohol use disorder, 14-fold higher for individuals injecting drugs and 17-fold higher for individuals who use multiple different drugs… As substance-related suicide and overdose numbers increase and overlap, prevention interventions are needed in substance use disorder treatment settings with high acceptability and feasibility…”

‘Normal teenage moodiness’ or suicide warning sign? Idaho parents share son’s story Idaho Education News
April 11, 2022
Nick Garvin, 14, died by suicide lat November. His parents are now speaking up about his death and encouraging other parents to be aware of an change in behaviour that could indicate their child is struggling. Garvin’s mother, Roberta Garvin, said, “It’s not limited to the moody, dark kid in the back of the class. I don’t think there’s any real, stereotypical kid…. He did have… dark moments that we thought were much more under control.” Garvin’s parents also share how difficult it was to get him to open up. Teresa Abbott of Idaho’s Suicide Prevention Program says, “There is a perception that we shouldn’t talk about (suicidality) and make things worse, and that’s actually the opposite of what national research indicates. It really is. Suicide is preventable, and the most important thing a parent can do is talk to their kids and ask; it’s OK to ask that direct question.”

School of Black Utah student who died by suicide allowed bullying ‘on any ground’ to go unchecked, report finds CNN
April 10, 2022
Isabella Tichenor, 10, died by suicide in November 2021. Tichenor’s mother says she was bullied at her school in Utah for being Black and being autistic. A new investigative report commissioned by the school district has found that the school failed to protect Tichenor – the staff showed knowledge that she was being bullied and according to the report, the school environment allowed bullying to “go underreported, uninvestigated, and unaddressed.” In a statement the school said, “We are taking it seriously. We vow to continue our ongoing and extensive efforts to foster a welcoming environment for all students in the Davis School District.”

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