Suicide is a tragic event with strong emotional repurcussions for its survivors and for families of its victims. More than 36,000 people in the U.S. kill themselves every year, according to a 2010 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although most federally-funded suicide prevention programs focus on helping teenagers, recent years have seen a spike in rates among middle-aged people. Men seem to be especially at risk, and have nearly four times the suicide rate as women. There are also major disparities amongst ethnic and racial groups, with American Indian and Alaskan Natives being the highest risk groups.

Recent Posts on Suicide

Suicide's Undertow

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on April 01, 2015 in Shadow Boxing
Kathryn Craft experienced an intense suicide standoff; she has processed the trauma through a tense and well-paced novel.

How Young Is Too Young?

Do you remember feeling pressure as a child to do better at school, fit in socially, or behave more appropriately? Making the right decision was not always as easy as adults and cheerful children's books sometimes painted it. Luckily, stumbling slow motion through a decade or so of dysfunctional days (aka natural childhood development) was an expected and accepted part...

Loves Lost: One Troubled Pilot Brings Grieving to Many

One wonders how many words were left unspoken by those who boarded the plane? Will those left behind expressed gratitude because their last moments together were a blessing? Or did they part with an unkind word or look that can never be repaired?

Pilot Suicide: A Likely Scenario

By Nassir Ghaemi M.D., M.P.H. on March 31, 2015 in
Suicide is unpredictable. It was depression. The antidepressants caused it. Why all these views are questionable, and why there is a more probable psychiatric scenario to explain the recent German pilot suicide.

5 Signs That Seeking Help May Benefit You

People often get stressed, have problems with others, or have problems coping with life. Yet many don't seek professional help. Here are some ideas about when therapy may benefit you or your family.

Hope Floats

Must death leave us feeling hopelessly mortal?

Mental Health Screening Wouldn't Have Saved Germanwings 9525

By Jean Kim M.D. on March 30, 2015 in Culture Shrink
Screening must balance concerns of rare high-risk cases versus the vast majority of functional people with mental illness trying to overcome stigma and judgment

After the Germanwings Crash, 7 Lessons About Mental Illness

By Carrie Barron M.D. on March 30, 2015 in The Creativity Cure
Not all depressions are alike. Severe depression with psychotic features may elude a clinician as they are well masked or not present at the time of the exam. Symptoms ebb and flow, troubled people can be high functioning and we have much to uncover about the conditions of the Germanwings co-pilot.

The Suicide-Mass Murder Connection: A Growing Epidemic

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on March 30, 2015 in Wicked Deeds
Negative and alienating social forces have made suicide the new murder as frustrated and fearful Americans turn their anger onto themselves and take their own lives in unprecedented numbers. These same social forces also explain the sharp rise in mass public shootings as fatalistic individuals increasingly kill themselves and others in catastrophic acts of violent rage.

A Better Way to Prevent Rampage Killings

By Izzy Kalman on March 30, 2015 in Resilience to Bullying
To protect their children from a student who wrote a violent novel that describes how he kills them, parents at Tidwell Middle School are demonstrating to have him expelled from school. If anything, their demonstrations may be helping to create a monster and putting their children in greater danger. There is a better way to for these parents to demonstrate.

Suicide or Mass Murder? : The Deliberate Downing of Flt 9525

By Stephen A Diamond Ph.D. on March 29, 2015 in Evil Deeds
What motivates suicidal mass killings like the deliberate downing of Germanwings Flt. 9525?

Misdiagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, Part II

A case study illustrating comorbidity and distinctions between bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder and attention deficit disorder.

Higher Rate of Depression in ADHD College Students

College students with ADHD are more likely to experience depression than their non-ADHD peers.

One Pilot’s Suicide Prompts a Call for Common Sense

By Julie K Hersh on March 29, 2015 in Struck By Living
The Germanwings crash causes a new look at regulations for pilots. Do current FAA regulations cause pilots to hide depression and bipolar disease, resulting in more severe illness?

Suicide and the Criminal

In the news as this blog is written is a "mass murder" of 149 passengers and suicide committed by an airplane pilot.

Danger to Self and Others

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on March 28, 2015 in Shadow Boxing
The recent airline disaster involving a co-pilot crashing a plane highlights the need to rethink risk evaluations for suicide.

Understanding Transgender Reality

In February, at the annual International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP) symposium, I was honored to hear Ryan Sallans, an international speaker, transgender man and author of the book Second Son, speak.

Did Copilot Andreas Lubitz Conceal His Illness?

Many patients with severe, melancholic depression dissimulate and pretend that everything is fine so that family and caregivers will not block their suicidal plans. This danger of dissimulation in severe depression is something that psychiatrists have always known about.

Humiliation, Recovery and Monica Lewinsky

By Carrie Barron M.D. on March 27, 2015 in The Creativity Cure
Public shaming, online harassment and cyber-bullying are ubiquitous but they were not always. This blog examines the heart wrenching plight of one woman and how she overcame humiliation to become a tour-de-force and an agent for public good.

Somatic Experiencing

Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a powerful method of overcoming trauma via the mind-body connection, and often without medication. This piece by Saint-Laurent and Bird is a great introduction for those considering the treatment as well as for therapists interested in SE training.

Recovering From Seasonal Shifts in Mood in Bipolar Disorder

By Elizabeth Brondolo Ph.D. on March 26, 2015 in Take Control
For people who have bipolar disorder, seasonal changes in mood can disrupt your health and well being. You can learn to recognize and address these seasonal shifts before they cause harm. We examine the effects of these shifts on motivation, thinking and identity. Early recognition can help you gain better control of bipolar spectrum disorder.

The Germanwings Crash, and How We Can Think About It

As uncomfortable as it is to accept, we now have to deal with the fact that a pilot locked his fellow pilot out of the cockpit and intentionally flew a plane filled with passengers into a mountainside.

Delirious Mania?

On March 9, on a Monday afternoon in DeKalb County, Georgia, Anthony Hill, a black Air Force veteran in postdeployment from Afghanistan, removed all his clothes, slid down from the balcony of his second-floor apartment, and began walking.

Creativity and Mental Illness II: The Scream

In a previous post, I showed Jackson Pollock's creation of abstract expressionism during a healthy period. Here, we see Edvard Munch's use of healthy creative processes to produce the famous lithograph "The Scream." Although both artists suffered from Bipolar Disorders, their creative work and thinking consisted of healthy mental processes.

March Madness

By Jeffrey Lieberman M.D. on March 24, 2015 in Shrink Speak
Students and parents rarely consider that they might need mental health services during college and often urgently. For this reason, they would be well advised to include the quality and availability of mental health services along with traditional considerations as they decide on the college of their choice.

Why AA is Bad Science…and What It Means for Treatment

Why then is AA’s 12-step model the “go to” treatment choice for most Americans? The answer is simple—for most of its history, AA really was the only treatment available for addicts and alcoholics.

Do As I Say: Be Oppositional!

Oppositional behavior by children would seem to run counter to arguments in my previous posts that family members often do what they think their families want them to, even at great personal sacrifice. But oppositionality can be more apparent than real. People often act that way to accomodate what they perceive their parents to want and need from them.

Cops Helping Cops

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on March 22, 2015 in Shadow Boxing
Ten cops contribute stories to an anthology dedicated to fallen officers.

How to Know if Your Teen Is Seriously Suicidal

By Temma Ehrenfeld on March 21, 2015 in Open Gently
Headaches, insomnia, all-over skin sensations, and drinking alcohol are all danger signs.

Cold Hearts or Broken Brains?

I remember the very first feeling I had, was my heart pounding. I mean really pounding. The second feeling I had was that my hands were sweating. And the third feeling was fear, and the kind of reality set in that there was a murderer in front of me.