Perspectives: In These Times When Suicides Are At Record Highs, People Need To Look Out For One Another
Opinion writers weigh in on mental health issues.
The Washington Post:
Suicides Are At An All Time High. We Need Hope More Than Ever.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a report that is the closest thing we have to the quantification of despair. Between 1999 and 2017, suicide rates in the United States rose to their highest level since World War II. The increase can be found among women and men, and in every racial and ethnic group. But the spike among people between the ages of 15 and 34 is particularly disturbing. Hopelessness among the young seems a more direct assault on hope itself. Researchers posit that the opioid epidemic may be partly to blame. Just as a family can be decimated by an overdose, a sense of general despair may take root in communities where overdose deaths are common and visible. (Michael Gerson, 6/20)
How To Help Youth Currently In Suicide Distress
A report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicated a 30 percent increase in suicides in the U.S. between the years 2000 and 2016. While there are rising rates in all age groups, youth, between the ages of 15 and 24, are of particular concern; and the causes are likely complex. Increases in social media use, anxiety, depression, as well as the opioid epidemic are all potential and interweaving contributors. While researchers work to better identify which risk factors are contributing most to the uptick, we need to help the youth currently in suicide distress. Suicide prevention is a national public health priority. (Joan Cook, 6/20)
The Washington Post:
Kids’ Anxiety Can Spike During The Summer. Here’s Why, And What Parents Can Do To Help.
An 8-year-old girl sits on my couch, squeezing a stress ball and staring out the window. She’s feeling anxious. I am a psychotherapist, and I talk her through a deep breathing exercise to help her feel less anxious, but she can’t stop thinking about her worries. She tells me that she has 18 days left of school, and that it’s not nearly enough. With the end of the school year approaching, it’s natural to think that she might be relieved. She made it through another year. (Katie Hurley, 6/20)
Toxic Stress: The Other Health Crisis Politicians Should Be Talking About
At nearly 50,000 deaths each year, the opioid epidemic is shaping up to be the central public health issue of the 2020 presidential election. From President Trump on the right with a declaration of national emergency to Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the left with a 10-year, $100 billion plan to fight addiction, the candidates are racing to outdo each other on one of the few issues that transcends our polarized politics. (Jim Hickman, 6/21)