Facebook Provides Service to Help Prevent Suicides

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline collaborate with Facebook to help those in crisis: SAMHSA News Release
Facebook is announcing a new service that harnesses the power of social networking and crisis support to help prevent suicides across the nation and Canada. The new service enables Facebook users to report a suicidal comment they see posted by a friend to Facebook using either the Report Suicidal Content link or the report links found throughout the site. The person who posted the suicidal comment will then immediately receive an e-mail from Facebook encouraging them to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or to click on a link to begin a confidential chat session with a crisis worker.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ is a toll-free suicide prevention hotline network comprised of 152 local crisis centers. The Lifeline is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and administered by Link2Health Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Mental Health Association of New York City (MHA-NYC). The Lifeline provides free and confidential crisis counseling to anyone in need 24/7 and has answered over 3 million calls since its launch in 2005.

“We’re proud to expand our partnership with Lifeline, and to provide those in crisis with even more options to seek help,” said Facebook’s Chief Security Officer, Joe Sullivan. “The Lifeline’s commitment to suicide prevention has enabled people on Facebook to get fast, meaningful help when they need it most, and we look forward to continuing our work with them to help save lives.”

“Facebook and the Lifeline are to be commended for addressing one of this nation’s most tragic public health problems,” said Surgeon General, Regina M. Benjamin, MD, MBA, who serves with Sullivan on the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. “Nearly 100 Americans die by suicide every day – 36,035 lives every year. For every person who is murdered, two die by suicide. These deaths are even more tragic because they are preventable. We have effective treatments to help suicidal individuals regain hope and a desire to live and we know how powerful personal connections and support can be. Therefore we as a nation must do everything we can to reach out to those at risk and provide them the help and hope needed to survive and return to productive lives with their family, friends, and communities.”

Crisis center workers from two centers in the Lifeline network, the Boys Town National Hotline and Goodwill of the Finger Lakes’ 2-1-1/LIFE LINE, will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to Facebook users opting to use the chat. The Lifeline currently responds to dozens of people each day who have expressed suicidal thoughts on Facebook.

“We have been partnering with Facebook since 2006 to assist at-risk users and are thrilled to launch this new service,” said John Draper, Ph.D., the Lifeline’s project director and MHA-NYC’ Vice President of Behavioral Health Technology. “Although the Lifeline on average handles 70,000 calls per month, we have heard from our Facebook fans and others that there are many people in crisis who don’t feel comfortable picking up the phone. This new service provides a way for them to get the help they need in the way they want it.”

For more information on this topic please visit the SAMHSA Blog at http://blog.samhsa.gov/2011/12/13/facebook-provides-first-of-a-kind-service-to-help-prevent-suicides.

# # #

About the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention 
The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance) is the public-private partnership advancing the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. The Action Alliance envisions a nation free from the tragic experience of suicide. The Action Alliance was launched by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates on September 10, 2010, with input and support of many public and private sector stakeholders. For more information, see 
http://www.actionallianceforsuicideprevention.org .



50 Years of Data Confirms Benefit of Antipsychotics

While the names and types of antipsychotics have changed in the past 50 years, there appears to be a constant: they help.

Examining old and new varieties of antipsychotic drugs, a meta-analysis of studies conducted around the world showed that the risk of relapse for individuals living with schizophrenia taking antipsychotic drugs decreased. Relapse, the worsening of symptoms after a period of improvement, is a common occurrence in individuals with schizophrenia.

After one year, relapse rates were 64 percent for people not taking medication, while they were 27 percent for those who did take medication for at least one year. However, the researchers noted that the effectiveness of medication seemed to wane over time.

Data also revealed that those taking antipsychotics were 16 percent less likely to be readmitted for hospitalization. Five studies indicated that individuals taking medication may behave less aggressively and three studies posited that they have a better quality of life than those who are not taking drugs.

By Brendan McLean, NAMI Communications Coordinator


May 21-28 is Schizophrenia Awareness Week


SARDAA joins the nation in recognition of May as Mental Health Month.


SARDAA bracelet

May 21-28 is Schizophrenia Awareness Week raising awareness that treatment and help are available.   May 24th is the day recognizing the liberation of the severely mentally ill from their iron shackles by Dr. Philippe Pinel and Baptiste Pussin, France 1783 and Dr. Vincenzo Chiarugi in Italy. Dr. Pinel also discontinued bleeding, purging, and blistering in favor of a therapy that involved close contact with and careful observation of patients closely aligned with modern psychotherapy.

About 44 million Americans experience some type of mental disorder each year, according to the U.S. Surgeon General. One out of one hundred Americans suffers with schizophrenia and more than two out of one hundred are challenged with severe bipolar disorder. Each year, SARDAA, mental health advocacy groups, religious organizations, schools, and civic organizations challenge Americans to consider their views toward mental illnesses, and respect those who live with these medical disorders. The driving message is that recovery is real for people with mental illnesses, and that we as a community must work together to eliminate the stigma and discrimination too often associated with these disorders.


Thank you for your continued interest and support. With your donation of $6.00 or more proudly wear the “Shattering Stigma – Realizing Recovery” bracelet and spread the word. Donate now.


The Murder of Kelly Thomas


A task force created in the wake of the death of Kelly Thomas, a schizophrenic homeless man who had a violent confrontation with six Fullerton police officers, is preparing to present a set of recommendations to the Fullerton City Council.

The Fullerton Task Force on Homelessness and Mental Health Services, whose members include religious leaders, advocates, and Kelly Thomas’ father, was created in September, two months after the incident that led to Thomas’ death. Two officers have been criminally charged in the case.

The group is recommending that the city work with the county to create a regional year-round homeless shelter and a permanent supportive housing development for the mentally ill; request a clinician from the county’s behavioral health services department to work with the Fullerton Police Department on outreach to the mentally ill homeless; and ask the county to implement Laura’s Law, which would create court-ordered outpatient treatment for the severely mentally ill.

by Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times



Gluten Sensitivity in Mothers Linked to Schizophrenia Risk in Children

Children born to mothers who have a gluten sensitivity may be at greater risk for developing certain psychiatric disorders later in life, according to scientists at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore.

The findings add to the growing body of evidence that several adult disorders may take root before and shortly after birth.

“Lifestyle and genes are not the only factors that shape disease risk, and factors and exposures before, during and after birth can help pre-program much of our adult health,” said investigator Robert Yolken, M.D., a neuro-virologist at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

“Our study is an illustrative example suggesting that a dietary sensitivity before birth could be a catalyst in the development of schizophrenia or a similar condition 25 years later.”

By TRACI PEDERSEN Associate News Editor


Four Steps to Rewire Your Brain With Your Mind and Conscious Action

True, the mystery and complexity of the mind and brain may remain an ever present reality. Thanks in large part to advanced methods of studying the brain, however, recent findings in neuroscience have come a long way to unravel numerous puzzles.

Safe to say, many operations of the brain and body are governed by scientific laws as real as the Law of Gravity. Unquestionably, there is less mystery.

One of the laws discovered by recent findings is the ability of the brain to restructure and heal itselfthroughout life. This discovery alone tossed out centuries of scientific creeds, which previously held that we cannot do much about the damage caused by trauma and certain set patterns such as those labeled mental or behavioral “disorders.”

Known as neuroplasticity, findings show you have an innate ability to restructure the gray matter of your brain, literally speaking, with your mind and conscious action. When you change what you think, say or do in response to an event or situation, you change inner emotional states. As emotions are molecules that transmit the “what” to fire and wire” messages, whenever your felt experience of an event changes, accordingly, this physically restructures the gray matter of your brain.

More and more, psychological treatment is less guesswork and mystery, and more application of proven science.

Even deeply entrenched behavior problems, such as addictions, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have been shown to respond to treatment that follows proven methods of rewiring the brain by altering current thought-response patterns. It makes sense. Most emotional issues have to do with rigid patterns of thinking associated with the body’s fear response.

By ATHENA STAIK, PH.D., published by PsychCentral


Airline Crew Member Mental Health in Spotlight After Captain’s Breakdown

Two recent incidents in which airline crew members behaved alarmingly and had to be restrained by passengers have raised questions about when and how aviation workers are screened for mental health problems.

On Tuesday, JetBlue captain Clayton Osbon, 49, was locked out of the cockpit by his co-pilot after he began acting erratically on Flight 191 from New York to Las Vegas. The captain, since charged with interfering with a flight crew and now getting medical care, was upset when he couldn’t get back into the cockpit and began yelling about an unspecified threat linked to Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Osbon “became increasingly agitated,” and several passengers grabbed the pilot, “tackled him to the ground” and sat on him, passenger Tony Antolino told TODAY’s Ann Curry.

It is not yet clear if anxiety or mental health issues led to Osbon’s behavior. JetBlue said in a blog post that it will not share further details about the captain’s “private life.”

Osbon’s last medical exam was four months ago, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told msnbc.com. “He has a clean record, no incidents or accidents and the FAA has not taken any type of enforcement action against him,” the agency said in a statement.

JetBlue CEO Dave Barger called the pilot, who was suspended on Wednesday, a “consummate professional.”

by Rebecca Ruiz at MSNBC.com


A Fog of Drugs and War: Psychiatric Drugs on the Battlefield

SEATTLE _ U.S. Air Force pilot Patrick Burke’s day started in the cockpit of a B-1 bomber near the Persian Gulf and proceeded across nine time zones as he ferried the aircraft home to South Dakota.

Every four hours during the 19-hour flight, Burke swallowed a tablet of Dexedrine, the prescribed amphetamine known as “go pills.” After landing, he went out for dinner and drinks with a fellow crewman. They were driving back to Ellsworth Air Force Base when Burke began striking his friend in the head.

“Jack Bauer told me this was going to happen , you guys are trying to kidnap me!” he yelled, as if he were a character in the TV show “24.”

When the woman giving them a lift pulled the car over, Burke leaped on her and wrestled her to the ground. “Me and my platoon are looking for terrorists,” he told her before grabbing her keys, driving away and crashing into a guardrail.

Burke was charged with auto theft, drunken driving and two counts of assault. But in October, a court-martial judge found the young lieutenant not guilty “by reason of lack of mental responsibility” the almost unprecedented equivalent, at least in modern-day military courts, of an insanity acquittal.

by Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times


VA Testing Whether Transcendental Meditation Can Help Treat PTSD

Seeking new ways to treat post-traumatic stress, the Department of Veterans Affairs is studying the use of transcendental meditation to help returning veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Veterans Affairs’ $5.9 billion system for mental-health care is under sharp criticism, particularly after the release of an inspector general’s report last month that found that the department has greatly overstated how quickly it treats veterans seeking mental-health care.

VA has a “huge investment” in mental-health care but is seeking alternatives to conventional psychiatric treatment, said W. Scott Gould, deputy secretary of veterans affairs.

“The reality is, not all individuals we see are treatable by the techniques we use,” Gould said at a summit Thursday in Washington on the use of TM to treat post-traumatic stress suffered by veterans and active-duty service members.

by Steve Vogel, Washington Post


Fewer Suicides After Antidepressive Treatment for Schizophrenia

Antidepressive drugs reduce the mortality rate of schizophrenic patients, while treatment with benzodiazepines greatly increases it, especially as regards suicide. Giving several antipsychotics simultaneously, however, seems to have no effect at all. This according to a new study examining different drug combinations administered to patients with schizophrenia.

Karolinska Institutet Study Published by ScienceDaily