Posts Tagged ‘suicide’

Suicide Research: Let’s Fund The Agenda To Reduce Suicide

What can suicide research tell us? Ultimately, we want research to tell us how to reduce suicide and suicide attempts. A lot of approaches exist for preventing suicide—some we’ve tried and some are just proposals or ideas. But which ones work best? Better guardrails on bridges? Better training for emergency room personnel? What other places in the healthcare system are the best intervention sites? What about the purported wonder drug ketamine, which still carries a lot of question marks? There actually exists a strategic plan for answering these and other questions. A national strategy and a research agenda The U.S. Surgeon General and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (a public-private organization) developed a National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, including goals and objectives that dictate actions. The first national strategy document was created in 2001 and the second (most recent) one came out in 2012. One of the goals of […]

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Can we prevent suicide?

It’s fair to say that in the U.S., our attempts to prevent suicide thus far have failed—the rate of deaths by suicide has been constant for decades. In 2013, over 41,000 people died by suicide in the U.S. For Americans, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death (homicide is 16th). It is the second leading cause of death for 15 – 24 year olds in the U.S. and the third leading cause of death in that age group worldwide. September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Are we learning anything that could help us prevent suicide?   So what is research telling us? Research has given us a pretty good picture of risk factors for suicide, and not much more at this point. We still know very little about why people attempt suicide under conditions where others do not. Nor do we have a very good sense of which interventions work […]

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Depression Breakthrough? The Many Faces of “Special K”

Recently, a 45-year-old anesthetic drug has been getting attention as a remarkably effective antidepressant. Ketamine is used for anesthesia in children as well as adults and animals, and sometimes for relief of chronic pain. It’s considered very safe. But it’s also known as Special K among people who use it as a hallucinogenic club drug. What makes ketamine special in mental illness is that it is the first truly new potential drug treatment in more than 50 years. Exploratory studies going back 13 years have suggested that ketamine has some unique effects in people with depression, both unipolar major depressive disorder and bipolar depression. So, what’s the big deal? First, ketamine acts fast. Unlike most current antidepressants on the market, which can take 6-8 weeks to work, ketamine shows antidepressant effects within 24 hours, sometimes in just a couple of hours. Second, ketamine works in people with treatment-resistant depression. A […]

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