Real Suicide Prevention

June 26, 2018The Topic: Real Suicide PreventionThe News Story: Are Suicides Really Preventable?The New Research: Preventing Suicide—Family Connections as Safety Net The News Story: Are Suicides Really Preventable? In the wake of the suicides of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade in the past few weeks, multiple media outlets have focused on the tragedy of suicide in the U.S. and what might be done to alleviate such suffering. The answer, according to the Chicago Tribune? “Predicting if someone will attempt to take his or her own life is only slightly better than chance and has not significantly improved during the last five decades.” That is, it is almost impossible to predict whether someone will attempt suicide—oft-cited characteristics such as depression or mental illness are not really that good as indicators, experts say. The elusiveness of determining if someone is likely to attempt suicide makes prevention difficult, although there are some promising research trends. But something this story only touches on bears further examination. Nadine Kaslow, professor at Emory University School of Medicine, tells the Tribune, “We do know that strong social support protects people from attempting suicide or dying by suicide.” And other new research indicates that such “strong social support”—particularly the family—actually goes a long way to protecting whole neighborhoods of people. (Source: Gracie Bonds Staples, “Are Suicides Really Preventable? The Statistics Aren’t Encouraging,” Chicago Tribune, June 20, 2018) The New Research: Preventing Suicide—Family Connections as Safety Net With suicide rates in the United States surging to their highest level in decades, public-health officials are looking with a keen sense of urgency for strategies to prevent such deaths. Unfortunately, in a nation where low marriage and fertility rates and high divorce rates are leaving unprecedented numbers of people without t
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