Dark Side of ‘Chat Rooms’ for Troubled Teens: Talk of Self-Harm

(HealthDay News) — While social media can help vulnerable teenagers seeking support, Internet use can do more harm than good for young people at risk of self-harm or suicide, a new study suggests.

Researchers from Oxford University in England found conflicting evidence on whether online activity poses a positive or negative influence for vulnerable teens, but observed a strong link between the use of Internet forums or "chat rooms" and an increased risk of suicide.

via Dark Side of 'Chat Rooms' for Troubled Teens: Talk of Self-Harm.

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Suicidal Thoughts More Common in Kids With Autism: Study

HealthDay News — Children with autism may have a higher-than-average risk of contemplating or attempting suicide, a new study suggests.Researchers found that mothers of children with autism were much more likely than other moms to say their child had talked about or attempted suicide: 14 percent did, versus 0.5 percent of mothers whose kids didnt have the disorder.The behavior was more common in older kids aged 10 and up and those whose mothers thought they were depressed, as well as kids whose moms said they were teased.An autism expert not involved in the research, however, said the study had limitations, and that the findings "should be interpreted cautiously."

via Suicidal Thoughts More Common in Kids With Autism: Study.

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Treated Teens Still Likely to Try Suicide

Though most suicidal teens have received some form of mental health treatment, many of them still plan or attempt to kill themselves, researchers found.

More than 12% of teens experience suicidal ideation and 80% of those have received some form of treatment, but around 4% of teens have made a plan to kill themselves and 4% have attempted to commit suicide, according to Matthew Nock, PhD, of Harvard University, and colleagues. In most cases (>55%), treatment starts prior to onset of suicidal behaviors but fails to prevent these behaviors from occurring, they noted.

via Treated Teens Still Likely to Try Suicide.

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Activist Aaron Swartz’s suicide sparks talk about depression

The suicide last week of Aaron Swartz, a prominent Internet developer and activist, is sparking a discussion in Startupland about an issue that’s rarely publicized: the prevalence of depression in the tech community.

Swartz struggled for years with the mental health disorder, and wrote about it occasionally in his blog. “I feel ashamed to have an illness,” he wrote in a 2007 post. “It sounds absurd, but there still is an enormous stigma around being sick.”

Silicon Valley doesn’t generally nurture the sick. Especially for entrepreneurs and those helping to build their startups, the tech industry is a high-risk, high-reward environment, with 20-hour days and millions of dollars at stake.

Ben Huh, CEO of the Cheezburger Web humor empire, wrote publicly about his struggles after his first startup failed.

“I was thoroughly broke, depressed, and feeling the burden of losing hundreds of thousands of dollars of other people’s money,” he wrote in his blog. “I spent a week in my room with the lights off and cut off from the world, thinking of the best way to exit this failure. Death was a good option — and it got better by the day.”

via Activist Aaron Swartz’s suicide sparks talk about depression – Jan. 14, 2013.

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Many U.S. Teens at Risk for Suicide Despite Treatment: Study

(HealthDay News) — A new study casts doubt on the value of current professional treatments for teens who struggle with mental disorders and thoughts of suicide.

Harvard researchers report that they found that about 1 in every 8 U.S. teens (12.1 percent) thought about suicide, and nearly 1 in every 20 (4 percent) either made plans to kill themselves or actually attempted suicide.

Most of these teens (80 percent) were being treated for various mental health issues. Yet, 55 percent didn’t start their suicidal behavior until after treatment began, and their treatment did not stem the suicidal behavior, the researchers found.

via Many U.S. Teens at Risk for Suicide Despite Treatment: Study.

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Eat, Prey, and Love: Junior Seau And Another Wake Up Call For Parents Of Child Players – Forbes

We have a culture that breeds love for football. By the time a child with extraordinary talent reaches puberty, that talent is likely to be revealed, exulted, and exploited. Most parents would welcome the adulation, free college education, and instant millionaire status as a windfall for child and parents alike. Or so it seems. What parent would turn down the chance to say, “My son played 20 years in the NFL, made the Pro Bowl 12 times tied with Ray Lewis for the most in NFL history for a linebacker, made millions yet also gave back significantly to the community? That was the Junior Seau – until his apparent suicide.

via Eat, Prey, and Love: Junior Seau And Another Wake Up Call For Parents Of Child Players – Forbes.

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Many Military Vets in College Plagued By Thoughts of Suicide

(HealthDay News) — American military veterans attending college are far more likely to entertain thoughts of suicide than fellow students who have never been in the military, a new national survey indicates.

Data from the poll paints a grave picture of these students’ mental health: Nearly half of all vets currently in higher education say they have considered suicide at some point in their lives, while one in five say they have actually made plans to go through with it.

Such figures far exceed estimates of suicidal tendencies among college students who have never been in the military, the research team noted.

via Many Military Vets in College Plagued By Thoughts of Suicide.

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Rise in Drug-Related Suicide Attempts by Young Men Alarms Experts

HealthDay News — U.S. emergency department visits for drug-related suicide attempts by young adult males rose 55 percent between 2005 and 2009, a government report says.”The misuse of prescription drugs is clearly helping to fuel the problem,” said Pamela S. Hyde, head of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration SAMHSA, which published the report.In 2009, men aged 21 to 34 made more than 29,000 emergency room visits for medication-related suicide attempts compared to just over 19,000 visits in 2005, SAMHSA noted. Drug-related suicide attempts by males of all ages accounted for almost 78,000 emergency department visits nationwide in 2009.”While we have learned much about how to prevent suicide, it continues to be a leading cause of death among people who abuse alcohol and drugs,” Hyde said in an agency news release.

via Rise in Drug-Related Suicide Attempts by Young Men Alarms Experts.

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Chemical Suicide: Austin Mueller’s Story – ABC News

Austin Mueller would have turned 20 on June 15, but on that day, his grieving mother likely will relive the horrors of May 5, 2010, when her son brought a lifelong struggle with depression to a quiet coda by committing chemical suicide in a college parking lot.

Although he tried to hide his intentions from those closest to him, information left behind on a laptop revealed that Austin, a talented artist and astrophysics student in his second year at Southwestern Illinois College, had been planning his final exit for more than a year. Several Internet sites told him just what to do.

Ever meticulous, Austin left carefully worded signs on his car warning “Do not Open Vehicle. Danger. One Breath Can Render You Unconscious,” his mother, Joyce Coulter of Wildwood, Mo., said. He even included his name, address, phone number and who should get his Teddy bears.

via Chemical Suicide: Austin Mueller’s Story – ABC News.

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Lives Cut Short by Depression – NYTimes.com

There is something about a first friend that is irreplaceable. No matter how disparately your lives travel, the first friend you ever had occupies a special place in your heart. I was lucky that Michael was considerate enough to be born four months before me, waiting next door, ready to join me in elaborate childhood games of hide-and-seek, multilevel couch forts and family camping trips in the Catskills.

Michael was quirky and inquisitive, equally adept at dismantling the innards of a telephone, figuring out how to sing “Hey Jude” backward, and testing the physics of fire escape ladders. We both became vegetarians at sleep-away camp — I because I thought it was cool, Michael because he literally couldn’t hurt a fly, protesting the flypaper strips that dangled from the ceilings and carrying spiders out of the cabin to set them free in a thicket of blackberry bushes.

When Michael killed himself during his sophomore year of college, it was a horrible shock. I’d known he’d been depressed, but we’d lost touch, so I hadn’t known the extent of it. But it was the fact the he’d shot himself in the face, in his childhood bedroom, while his parents and brother were watching TV downstairs that caused the most intense pain. How could someone who defended flies against the barbarity of flypaper find in himself the capacity for such violence?

via Lives Cut Short by Depression – NYTimes.com.

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