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Why do so many American men die by suicide?Big Think
July 7, 2022
In 2019 in the US, males accounted for 80% of suicides and 60% of males who died by suicide had no known mental health issues according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and UCLA study. Study co-author and professor of social welfare at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, Mark Kaplan, says, “What’s striking about our study is the conspicuous absence of standard psychiatric markers of suicidality among a large number of males of all ages who die by suicide.” This is contrary to a commonly cited statistic “that greater than 90% of people who die by suicide had a diagnosable mental health condition,” note Kaplan and colleagues. One reason men have higher suicide rates despite their fewer mental health diagnoses is that they are more impulsive and emotionally reactive than women. This article suggests “greater investment and focus on mental health… is needed, as well as reducing firearm access, advocating responsible alcohol use, lowering poverty, and teaching males healthy coping methods to deal with acutely stressful situations might save a lot more lives.”

Many Black children are dying by suicide, doctors say: Understanding the why — and how to helpABC News
July 6, 2022
In the most recent (2019) Youth Risk Behaviour Survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide among Black young people ages 14 to 18 increased along with severity of attempts. The report found that over the previous 10 years, Black youth were among the populations with the highest reported attempts – 11.8%, while Hispanic youth accounted for 8.9% and white youth, 7.9%.  “A lot of people are just now learning that the unfortunate reality for a lot of Black youth is that they are dying,” said Dr. Christine Crawford, associate medical director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). “And a lot of that has to do with the fact that mental health conditions are often underdiagnosed or are not adequately treated for the conditions that they have… We need to acknowledge the fact that racism does lead to some of this and contributes to some of the bias. But that’s a hard thing to talk about — a hard thing for people to accept. But once people acknowledge the fact that it has an impact on what it is we’re seeing in mental health with children, especially Black children, that’s the only way that we’re able to strive for change.” Quintin Lamarr, 26, is an advocate for mental health and volunteer with the NAMI. He experienced suicidal thoughts and spent time in hospital for a mental health crisis. As a gay Black teen, he experienced bullying and racism. Lamarr says, “It turns out sometimes all you need is just the outlet to let off steam or to just open up, or to just be honest or be candid or vent… And that’s all it was for me, to be honest. It was just so much just pent up, so much going on, so much that I never really truly dealt with. I never knew how to deal with grief.”

Experts hope LGBTQ youth will call 988 — a new suicide lifeline numberWashington Post
July 6, 2022
In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 3-digit number, 988, is set to launch on July 16. This launch is part of the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, which also mandates a strategy for providing specialized services for LGBTQ youth who are four times more likely to think about suicide. John Palmieri, acting director of the 988 says that the Lifeline has been “massively underfunded and under-resourced” since its inception in 2005 and “there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done.” This includes allocating $7.5 million in funds to LGBTQ organizations to provide specialized services to youth who call the Lifeline. “I do think this is something that they need to resolve quickly, because they are going to get phone calls from LGBTQ young people,” said Jessica Fish, an assistant professor of family science at the University of Maryland, adding that, due to the anti-LGBTQ legislation being passed and the pandemic’s effects on mental health, the Lifeline needs “to be prepared to funnel those folks to providers on the phone who can navigate that in a way that is sensitive, knowledgeable, empathetic and aware of the unique experiences of LGBTQ youth in particular.”

My brother was my hero. I try to remember that even after his suicideCBC
July 4, 2022
This first-person perspective is written by Patrick de Belen, a storyteller who lost brother Jordan, 26, to suicide. In this article, de Belen describes his grief journey, “I spent the past year angry and desperate to find a way to prevent my brother’s final day from being more significant than the thousands of days before,” and remembering his brother’s life and mental health struggles, “He was funny and disarming. His hugs made me feel vulnerable and safe all at once. He was also a master of hiding his struggles, and I was one of the few people he let in. Our family immigrated from the Philippines and lived in poverty in Canada. But Jordan’s journey was particularly challenging. He had bipolar disorder, and struggled to keep jobs and relationships.” de Belen also shares how he’s coped with his grief, “I’ve written multiple poems, songs and journal entries about Jordan and released an EP of poetry dedicated to him. I am a volunteer at Bereaved Families of Ontario, and we are making a documentary involving his family and friends. My hope is that even if it helps one other person, it will be worth it.”

Roe v. Wade: The Mental and Physical Health Effects of Anti-Abortion LawsHealthline
June 29, 2022
The US Supreme Court struck down the Roe v. Wade hearing on June 24, meaning that states can restrict abortion access. Research shows that being denied abortion is associated with negative psychological outcomes. Some of these outcomes were explained by Lori Lawrenz, a licensed psychologist at the Hawaii Center for Sexual and Relationship Health, and may include: “increased anxiety, lower self-esteem, depression, anger and rage, panic attacks, paranoia, PTSD, guilt, shame, stigmatized grief” and more.

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