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Social media’s effects on teen mental health comes into focusAxios
January 11, 2023
Social media continues to be recognized for its link to poor mental health in children. In October 2022, a British authority found that Instagram contributed to the suicide of Molly Russell, 14, after she viewed self-harm content on Instagram. The coroner in the case made recommendations to Meta (who owns Facebook and Instagram) and Pinterest (who was also involved in the case) to prevent further deaths, including setting up different platforms for young people and for adults. Social media can harm the mental health of children in many ways, including: promoting social comparison, taking time away to prevent in-person social connection and proper sleep patterns, and, through the use of algorithms, being exposed to unhealthy content.

YouTuber Lia Marie Johnson Opens Up About Past Suicide Attempt, Drug-Induced Psychosis and AbuseE! News
January 11, 2023
**Content warning: Intimate partner violence** YouTuber Lia Marie Johnson, 26, is opening up about her struggles with substance use, mental illness, and suicidal behaviours. “When I was 17 I moved to Los Angeles alone to pursue my career,” she said in the Jan. 4 clip. “I worked hard and focused on my passions, but I was living in a whole other world when the sun went down. I was drinking, using drugs, and partying almost every night. My lifestyle became more dangerous as the years passed.” She shares her experience of drug-induced psychosis, and how, after losing a person in her social circle to suicide, she decided to begin her path to recovery. “Losing him was one of the hardest realities I’ve ever had to face,” said Johnson. “…the one thing that saved me was love. Real love. That’s why I’m here. Because love is so powerful. Love is the reason I’m alive.”

Why did teenage suicides decline during America’s first covid-19 lockdowns?The Economist
January 10, 2023
**Method warning, Content warning – Use of the word ‘commit’** (Paywall) New research from the US has found that suicide rates fell substantially during school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, and then increased to 12-18% above pre-pandemic levels after schools opened up again. Authors suggest that suicides may have been delayed, not averted. Lack of exposure to in-person bullying is suggested as one reason suicide rates fell during school closures.

Cries for help pour into 988 mental health, suicide lineAP News
January 10, 2023
The 988 helpline, accessible in the United States, has registered over 150,000 more calls, texts, and chat messages during November 2022 compared to what was received by the old national lifeline, a 10-digit number, in November 2021. “The call volume is, in some instances, well beyond what we anticipated,” said Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Department of Health and Human Services. “It does let us know that people are struggling, people are having a hard time. Where I feel heartened is that people are getting connected to services and supports, as opposed to struggling on their own.” The importance of providing culturally appropriate services is also highlighted in this article.

Troops Who Hide Thoughts of Suicide More Apt to Store Their Firearms Unsafely, Study Finds –
January 10, 2023
A small study of American active-duty National Guard members has found that those who sought help for their thoughts of suicide were more likely to report storing their firearms safely, whereas those who didn’t seek help or talk about their thoughts were less likely to use safe storage. Using safe storage includes using a trigger lock, cable device, safe or case. Study lead author Michael Anestis said,  “We have to move beyond only trying to prevent suicide once we know somebody is at risk. You don’t buy a fire extinguisher when your house is on fire, you buy it ahead of time.”

What is driving the high suicide rate among farmers?Wisconsin State Farmer
January 9, 2023
In the US, farmers are twice as likely as those in other occupations to die by suicide. They face unique stressors, such as unpredictable commodity prices, high input costs, and reliance on weather. Migrant workers experience different stressors, such as the process of immigration and uncertainty around status, working in a different culture and in a different language, as well as being faced with discrimination. Rural areas don’t often have the same access to mental health services as urban areas do, and seeking help is often stigmatized in rural and agricultural communities. “In terms of barriers, we talk about the four A’s which are accessibility, availability (we see that as a huge barrier), affordability and acceptability or stigmatization,” says Josie Rudolphi, University of Illinois.

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