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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