Study Shows Many Teens at Risk for Suicidal Behavior Despite Mental Health Help | PBS NewsHour | Jan. 9, 2013 | PBS

This study is getting a lot of press in the US (even Fox News picked it up). This link is to a PBS interview with two “experts” who mostly give political non-answers while seemingly scratching their bewildered heads.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/health/jan-june13/suicide_01-09.html

The study repeats old news on the high rates of suicidal thinking among young people. What’s new is that many young people are attempting suicide even though they are receiving treatment – i.e. treatment does not appear to be working very well – which seems to bewilder the experts. Especially the rather large number of young people who became suicidal AFTER commencing treatment.

Apparently the study did not look at the different kinds of treatment people may be receiving – i.e. some may work better/worse than others, but we don’t know which.

It’s also worth looking at the online comments that follow the transcript. As usual, I was aching to hear from someone with first-hand experience, and eventually there’s a couple among the comments, which was so refreshing.

Introducing ‘activism’

I think the academic sections of the website are pretty self-explanatory. But I feel that my use of the term ‘activism’ for my other activities requires some introduction/explanation. So copied here is the ‘About Activism‘ page …

About Activism

Widespread fears of an apocalyptic future elicit equally dangerous responses: nihilistic thoughts and decadent lifestyles that accelerate environmental destruction, or fundamentalist intolerance that exacerbates social-political conflict. The only safe approach to suspicions of the apocalypse is adaptation through activism. (Richard Eckersley*)

In his article (which I urge you to read – find link below) Eckersley talks of the “hope and creative energy of activism” in contrast to the “decadence and degeneracy of nihilism” and the “dogma and rigidity of fundamentalism”.

This notion of activism is the best word I have for what I’ve been doing since (and indeed during) my PhD work. My PhD was primarily motivated by wanting to bring spirituality into the discourse around suicide and suicide prevention. OK, this was always going to be tough within academia, though we sort of got there on the end. But I was not prepared for the brick wall of dogma and prejudice that I found in contemporary Suicidology, and also in the field of mental health more generally, and then, even more widely, in the campaign for the rights of all people with disabilities.

Continue reading