Impact News

Responding to Violence, Suicide, Psychosis and Trauma

Edge of Darkness & The Razor’s Edge

8th October 2016. Nottingham Counsellor’s Group are staging this unique “fringe theatre” style training workshop next Saturday and still have a few places available. This workshop is almost exclusively available to closed “in-house” groups which means that it is virtually impossible for individual participants to attend. This is the only opportunity this year so act fast! If you are interested e-mail nottingham.counsellors@gmail.com to book your place.

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Suicide Rates Rise in UK

According to the Office of National Statistics the suicide rate for men aged 45-59 in the UK is now the highest since 1986. Against a trend over the past two decades that has seen suicide rates gradually falling, suicide rates are now rising again for both men and women wih highest suicide rates being among men aged 30-44. According to stephen Platt at Edinburgh University disadvantages midlle aged men face a perfect storm of “unemployment, deprivation, social isolation, changing definitions of what it is to be a man, alcohol misuse, labour market and demographic changes that have had a dramatic effect on their work, relationships and very identity.” Next month the government will award research contracts worth £1.5m to develop new initiatives as part of a “refreshed” suicide prevention strategy.

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New Government Strategy for Suicide Prevention in England

Norman Lamb, Minister of State, Department of Health has announced a new strategy for reducing suicides in England today. To access the full document go to

http://www.dh.gov.uk/health/files/2012/09/Preventing-Suicide-in-England-A-cross-government-outcomes-strategy-to-save-lives.pdf

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Rising unemployment will lead to a rise in suicide rates

Rising unemployment will lead to a rise in suicide rates across Europe unless preventative action is taken, a study says

The stress triggered by job losses could see suicides rise across Europe if governments fail to take preventative action, a new study claims.

Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London and the University of Oxford examined economic downturns over the past 30 years and concluded that when unemployment rose by 3%, there was a corresponding increase of 4.5% in the number of suicides among people under 65.

In the study published today in medical journal the Lancet, the authors conclude that people who lose their jobs during a recession are at greater risk of suicide – and that for the least well-educated, the risks are even higher.

However, governments can help by providing social security safety nets, and programmes to help people cope with redundancy and get back to work.

Researcher David Stuckler said that while the study found differences between how countries classified and measured suicide, it was possible to look at how governments could reduce the likelihood of suicide during an economic crisis.

“Governments might be able to protect their populations specifically by budgeting for measures that keep people employed. This is a complex issue but we can see what has happened and hopefully use this to work out what to do about it.”

Joe Ferns, deputy director of the Samaritans, welcomed the report. “People who are unemployed are two to three times more likely to die by suicide than people who have jobs, because unemployment can lead to anxiety, depression, lowered self-esteem and feelings of hopelessness – all of which increase the likelihood that someone will think that life is not worth living,” he said.

Dr David Gunnell, a professor of epidemiology at the university of Bristol, cautioned against over-simplifying the link with unemployment. “Suicides are the tip of a much larger iceberg of emotional distress caused by job loss and economic hardship. It is important to appreciate that the causes of suicide are complex and most people who lose their jobs do not end their lives.”

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Reducing Suicidal Behaviors Among Adolescents

ScienceDaily (Mar. 15, 2009) — Adolescent girls who view themselves as too fat may display more suicidal behaviors than those who are actually overweight, according to a study by Inas Rashad, an assistant professor of economics at Georgia State University.

Although studies have shown a link between obesity, depressive disorders and suicidal behaviors, Rashad and Dhaval Dave of Bentley University, analyze these indicators in conjunction with an individual’s perception of their weight. The study, which was accepted for publication in February, will be published in Social Science and Medicine.

“Both obesity and suicide have been highlighted by the Surgeon General as areas of focus for adolescents and areas of great concern,” Rashad said. “We find that the role perception has independently of actual overweight status is an important one, which has implications in terms of any solutions to the obesity epidemic that are put forth.”

The researchers utilized data from 1999 to 2007 from the Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance System, which indicated that 17 percent of high school students have seriously considered committing suicide. The data were used to not only investigate whether overweight status or perception are causal factors affecting suicidal thoughts and attempts among high school students, but also to estimate the potential economic costs.

“If being overweight not only imposes the usual health care and labor market costs, but also increases the risk of suicide, we need to take these costs into account when offering solutions,” Rashad said.

The study revealed that body dissatisfaction had a strong impact on all suicidal behaviors for girls and was generally insignificant for males. For instance, any perception of being overweight by girls raised the probability of suicidal thoughts by 5.6 percent, the probability of a suicide attempts by 3.2 percent, and the probability of an injury causing suicide attempts by 0.6 percent. The researchers also state that the risk of suicide by adolescent females could potentially add about $280 to $350 million to the costs of adolescent obesity, which includes the direct cost of illnesses and associated health care and indirect costs such as productivity losses, reduced income and premature mortality.

Rashad hopes more research will be done on the topic, but she recommends efforts aimed at preventing youth suicides focus on educating youths and fostering healthy attitudes with regard to weight.

“The prevalence of body dissatisfaction, among special populations of youths such as non-black girls, is significantly higher than the general youth population, even when the underlying weight is in a healthy range,” Rashad said. “Interventions that identify and assist these youths and educate them regarding a healthy body image will succeed in lowering suicide attempts.”
Adapted from materials provided by Georgia State University, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

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Preventing Suicide In Low- To Middle- income Countries

ScienceDaily (Sep. 23, 2008) — An international study of almost 2,000 people in Brazil, India, Sri Lanka, Iran and China has shown that a low cost strategy to keep in contact with people who have previously attempted suicide, can reduce the risk of subsequent suicides.

Given that suicide is among the top three causes of deaths in 15 to 34-year-olds, the strategy has the potential to help reduce the economic and societal loss of young people in their most productive years of life.

The study, co-authored by the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention director Professor Diego De Leo, said subsequent suicide deaths reduced from 2.2 per cent in people treated with usual care to 0.2 per cent in the people given extra contact.

The intervention included a one-hour information session about suicidal behaviours, risk factors, constructive coping strategies and referral options.

It also included nine follow-up phone calls or visits by a health professional for 18 months following the patient’s discharge from an emergency department.

“Many suicidal patients lack good communication and relationships within their family and with other people,” the researchers said.

The intervention not only helped increased the suicide attempters’ feelings of connectedness but also increased their skills in solving crises which may otherwise lead to suicidal behaviour.

“Also, systematic follow-up contacts gave the patient a feeling of being seen and heard by someone,” they said.

The study, published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization (WHO), said one of the advantages of the intervention was that it required minimal training or extra resources and was therefore suitable for implementation in low and middle-income countries.

The WHO estimates that about 85 per cent of suicides occur in low and middle-income countries. In 2002, some 877,000 deaths were attributed to suicide.


Adapted from materials provided by Griffith University, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

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