With the passing Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, suicide prevention is back in the spotlight. For the average person, it can be tough to talk with someone who is having suicidal thoughts, perhaps because we feel like we don’t want to make mistakes. Or it can just be scary to feel our own feelings. Here is a great article about what you can do when someone is severely depressed.
I’m very sad today to read about the passing of Anthony Bourdain, a talented chef (a food artist) who I resonated with because of my own love of art, food, and cooking. More than ever we need to:
- Reduce stigma against mental health issues such as depression.
- Get educated on the warning signs and get involved as soon as you can.
- Increase federal funding for mental health research and intervention.
I’ve added some additional hotlines to my own Suicide Prevention Hotlines page. And I am praying for his family and others who are suffering.
The American Psychology Association has put together a great summary of the current research into gun violence and mental illness, how to predict who will commit acts of gun violence, current ways to prevent gun violence, and suggestions for public policy.
Predicting who will commit gun violence is not an easy task. Currently, it seems that more research must be done and that the task of prediction may need to fall to trained clinicians, teachers, law enforcement and others.
Overall, this paper is packed with information and strategy for moving forward in our society where gun violence (violence that takes place in many forums and contexts) seems to occur with striking regularity.
This is an interesting article that discusses the differences between “love” and “sex” and the different parts of the brain that are involved. One of the big ideas behind this research is that casual sex isn’t so casual. In fact, one third of people who have friends “with benefits” end up falling in love, precisely because of the brain systems with their chemicals and attachment systems that are activated. Love and sex can in many ways appear and perhaps feel the same as an addiction. In fact, the same chemicals and brain systems are at work in both. Interesting stuff!
A new study appears to show that 7 drinks per week, or one drink per day, should be the most a person drinks if they want to live the longest. The old standard used to be 14 drinks per week for men per week and 7 drinks per week for women but the new study changes the understanding of the effects of higher alcohol use on how long people live. More alcohol appears to equal a shorter lifespan.
I thought this was a great article about how to avoid and even grow your muscles by lifting weights and eating protein and other healthy foods. According to the age related muscle loss (Sarcophenia) can be avoided or lessened the older we get. According to this article, muscle loss occurs more rapidly past age 50 and more rapidly through age 70. To counteract this loss, the author recommends workouts, specifically lifting weights that would be difficult to lift more than 10 to 15 times and making sure to rest in between individual sets and workouts to give muscles time to rest and grow. I enjoy working out for the mental health benefits, but this article gives one more reason to get to the gym and exercise–you’ll save or even grow your muscles as you age!
I always respected Billy Graham for his commitment to keep the Gospel and it’s non-partisan message separate from ever-changing politics. As a result of this approach, Billy Graham gained a solid reputation from all sides of the political spectrum, as someone who could be trusted. He gained influence with almost everyone. He met with multiple Presidents, Democrat and Republican, while not polluting Christian Orthodoxy with partisan politics. He is one of only a few people to lie in state in the nation’s capitol. Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son, takes a different approach, embracing politics and politicians, and as a result, doesn’t appear to have the same influence and the credibility with people who embrace different politics. I will miss people like Billy Graham.
Source: Secret Service’s Research & Publications
The Secret Service has a department called the National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) that conducts research into what they call “targeted violence.” Because they’re job is to predict and stop targeted violence against U.S. Presidents, Vice Presidents, Supreme Court Justices, their families, and others they have resources and research to be able to better predict if and when targeted violence will happen. This website lists some of their own research on this subject but also includes research about school shooters and prevention strategies because targeted violence against U.S. Presidents is similar to targeted violence in schools.
Marsha Linehan struggled with her own severe mental illness before she created her now famous Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), which she originally used to treat her own clients who have Borderline Personality Disorder. She went on to teach at the University of Washington, and her therapy has been adapted for use in other settings, including inpatient addiction treatment centers, where clients learn skills to help themselves regulate their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors instead of turning to drugs, alcohol, and other negative coping mechanisms.
Nicholas Cruz had a history of mental illness, racial slurs, and buying guns. He seems to be a young man who struggled with multiple mental health issues including:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
It’s important to write here that having these mental health issues does not make any person a mass shooter; however, in this case, these may have been factors in his decision-making process. I don’t know of any research that tells me exactly what the factors are. The shooter also cut himself and was visited multiple times by the police and local mental health agency Florida Department of Children and Families to assess his well being.
This was a horrible, tragic event that hopefully motives all of us to constructive, positive action. A few ideas include:
- Educate ourselves about mental health issues
- Work to eliminate stigma so that people who suffer with mental health issues seek help earlier
- Fund more research into targeted violence so that law enforcement and mental health providers can make more accurate predictions
- Provide a role for mental health providers to intervene in all states. Some states already mandate that mental health providers warn potential victims.