Research from the University of Washington Medical School suggests how to improve treatments for college students struggling with non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI). Treatments which develop people’s practical skill in managing emotions may be more effective than the current therapies that increase people’s confidence in their ability to cope with events.
The study involved 187 students with a history of self-injury. The students provided information about their experiences with NSSI, including the age at which they first self-injured and the reasons behind their self-injury.
Continue reading “Study Summary | To protect students who self-injure, focus on helping them manage emotions” →
(This is the third post in this series; my first post discusses the most popular current theory of suicide as well as some statistics on it, while my second post talks about what suicide prevention means in practice.)
In the previous posts about World Suicide Prevention Day, I looked at what research currently says about suicide, and at what ways organisations and societies try to prevent suicide. In this post, I’m going to look more closely at what these methods assume about suicide prevention, and if those assumptions make sense.
Assumption 1) There is a good reason to exclude workplaces and jobs from this conversation.
When first searching generally online, links to suicide “post-vention” appear more readily than for prevention. However, there are some useful resources online, mostly created by Australian mental health organisations.
Continue reading “World Suicide Prevention Day | What assumptions do suicide prevention initiatives make?” →
(This is the second post in this series; my first post discusses the most popular current theory of suicide as well as some statistics on it, and my third post discusses some assumptions made by suicide prevention initiatives)
In the lead-up to WSPD 2019, I’ve seen many videos aimed at individuals who currently feel suicidal, encouraging them not to act on that feeling. But that can’t be the full story for such a large goal as preventing suicide. So, my question for today is; what does “suicide prevention” actually mean? What areas does it cover, and how does it work?
According to Wikipedia, suicide prevention is “the collective efforts of citizen organisations, health professionals and related professionals to reduce the incidence of suicide”. This is centred on direct intervention, and accompanied by four supporting parts: treating depression, improving people’s coping strategies, reducing risk factors for suicide, and giving people hope.
Continue reading “World Suicide Prevention Day | What is meant by Suicide Prevention?” →
(This is the first post in this series; my second post talks about what suicide prevention means in practice. My third post discusses some assumptions made by suicide prevention initiatives)
September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day, a day of awareness held by the International Association of Suicide Prevention (IASP) alongside the World Federation for Mental Health and the World Health Organisation.
After reading about the day and the organisations involved, I was curious about how suicide is understood from a research perspective, and what explanations or theories about suicide are used to talk about suicide prevention. This post covers a widely-used theoretical approach – the Interpersonal-Psychological theory of suicide. The interpersonal-psychological theory (IPT for short) was first created by Joiner (2005), and is the theory used to guide the IASP.
Continue reading “World Suicide Prevention Day | How is suicide currently understood?” →
Theresa May’s mental health reform speech on Monday was the first time I’ve heard her say more than a soundbite, and also the first time I’ve heard her talk about anything other than Brexit, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
At the opening of her speech, I wanted to support her. I wanted to believe she would say something genuinely meaningful and compassionate. I also hoped (perhaps naively) that she would make reference to the effect of austerity upon mental health. May is in a good place to acknowledge the negative impact of previous political choices, after all. While she is maintaining many of those choices, she didn’t instigate them. She has mostly inherited the bad decisions made by others, most obviously David Cameron, becoming essentially the country’s largest-scale supply teacher.
Initially, her opening discussion of the overt and covert injustices present today were impactful, leaving her actual reform strategies as arguably the weakest element of her speech. Similarly, while her view on reducing stigma (below) says all the “right” things, it does so without providing anything tangible or practical, or any awareness of where the Government themselves have been guilty of removing that attention and treatment.
Continue reading “Theresa May’s Reform Plan” →
If you have a smartphone, then right now you could be taking part in the world’s largest mental health study. Sounds interesting? Then head over to http://howistheworldfeeling.spurprojects.org/ to join in.
If you need a bit more convincing, then read on.
The survey is called How Is The World Feeling?, and it’s aiming to get a snapshot of how everyday people around the world are feeling during this week (October 10th- October 16th). The target is to have 7 million people taking part, and 70 million emotions logged.
Continue reading “How Is The World Feeling?” →
Everyone has a level of physical health which changes over time and as a result of circumstances.
A minority of people are at their peak of physical health, the healthiest they could possibly be.The majority of people are generally healthy: they don’t have to worry about their physical health as everything is working well enough to live their life.
Minor physical health issues such as colds or aches and pains, are common. They temporarily make life doable but more difficult. People with longer-term minor issues learn to adapt and accommodate around what is tougher for them- perhaps they can usually function at 95% of the generally healthy level .
Major physical health issues can make normal life very difficult, requiring someone to change how they live for a bit and often need a recovery time/ gradual return afterwards.
Then a small percentage of people have chronic, severe physical health issues that mean they either cannot function in a typical life at all, or they need to adapt almost everything about their life to live and function.
So, why did I just write that? Everything I’ve just said is common sense, and it doesn’t need saying.
But try it again, swapping physical for mental…
Continue reading “Mental Health, Common Sense, and the Unknown” →
In 1994, Dr Phillip Long founded www.mentalhealth.com aiming to create a cross-cultural encyclopaedia of mental health conditions. The site is looking a little archaic now, using older DSM categories not commonly used now, and containing diagnostic ideas that didn’t really catch on, such as analysing all mental health symptoms through Greek personality dimensions.
While the site may not be entirely relevant these days, it’s a fascinating and detailed read. Moreover, it’s attached forum has been consistently running since 2005. In internet terms, this is an incredibly long time. Imagining friendships possibly extending for 10 years, its easy to see the best part of forums; their ability to connect people with others across time and space, providing friendships built on common experience and support.
Continue reading “Mental Health Online: Forums” →
Of all the major social networks, Tumblr is the one I wanted to write about the most, because its a dramatic difference from the stoicism of Twitter and the envy-inducing highlight reel of Facebook. Just like most of its users, its young, bold, and easily misunderstood.
For the uninitiated, Tumblr is a microblogging site with a very “anything goes” attitude towards content: drawings, videos, music, gifs, longform text, links and pretty much anything else you can think of are all found there. Its major feature is reblogging, which is reposting someone else’s content onto your own feed and adding commentary, opinions, or a visual response- a cross between a Twitter retweet and a standard blog’s comment chain. Content is organised and collected using hashtags, which are essential for posts being discovered and read.
Part of Tumblr’s appeal is how it conveys the impression of a private, almost clandestine association. (In reality, there are over 100 million tumblr users, and it got bought by Yahoo! for over a billion dollars). Unlike most social networks, pseudonymity can prevail; a user can change their name as often as they want and hide all personal information, while the lacking search function works solely on tagged words, effectively making untagged content invisible except for to followers. Because of this, Tumblr can seem far more private than other social networks. Many posts are made seemingly without considering a potential audience- often off-the-cuff, reactionary, self-depreciatingly, or holding nothing back about mental health difficulties.
Continue reading “Mental Health Online: Tumblr” →
Compared to Facebook, I didn’t think of Twitter as a useful place for discussing mental health issues. This was partly due to the 140 character limit; I couldn’t see the use of tweets for in-depth discussion compared to something like a blog post or video.
However, when I looked through my twitter feed more closely, there was a lot of talk about mental health. Most of the people talking were advocates; either they wanted to start conversations, to support mental health organisations, or start their own campaigns. And most of these advocates were survivors, using their experiences with mental health to show others why researching mental health matters.
Twitter doesn’t have the same kind of scare-headline news stories as Facebook, and there isn’t any research saying it affects people negatively. However, there is some research on responses to individual hashtags. Shepherd et al studied the #DearMentalHealthProfessionals thread, a conversation set up by Amanda O’Connell in August 2013, and found there were four main types of discussion:
Continue reading “Mental Health Online: Twitter” →