Sunday October 22, 2017

Suicide is Preventable: Alarming Effects of Self-harm on Families, Communities, Societies

There are 3.5 male suicides for every female suicide, but three times as many females as males attempt suicide

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Feelings of helplessness, stemming from a variety of social and cultural factors can force an adolescent to indulge in self-harm. Pixabay
  • September 10 is observed as World Suicide Precention Day
  • Every year some 800,000 people die as a result of suicide
  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for 15 to 24-year-olds and 2nd for 24 to 35-year-olds
  • Suicide claims more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined
  • There are 3.5 male suicides for every female suicide, but three times as many females as males attempt suicide

Sept 11, 2016:

Dorothy Paugh was nine when her father took his life. “I count that day as the last day of my childhood. Because from that moment on, I had no sense of security. I had no sense that the world was a safe place,” she said.

Her father was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, a place of repose for presidents and military heroes. Paugh’s father served bravely in World War II. After his death, the White House sent a letter from “a grateful nation” that her mother hung prominently on the wall by the front door. Paugh says her mother wanted her children to remember their father as a war hero, and not to focus how he died. But, they never spoke about his death. Paugh said it was a special type of isolation.

Suicide is committed every year by the poor as well as the rich people.World Health Organization says about 75 percent of suicides happen in low and middle-income countries, where it was the second leading cause of death in 2012, the last year for which the WHO has statistics. In that year, it was the 15th leading cause of death worldwide. Young people between the ages of 15 and 29 are particularly vulnerable.

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There are 3.5 male suicides for every female suicide, but three times as many females as males attempt suicide.

494,169 people visited a hospital for injuries due to self-harm behavior, suggesting that approximately 12 people harm themselves (not necessarily intending to take their lives) for every reported death by suicide.

Suicide is preventable

But medical experts say suicide is preventable, and they try to draw attention to that on World Suicide Prevention Day, which this year is September 10. Most suicidal individuals give warning signs or signals of their intentions. The best way to prevent suicide is to recognize these warning signs and know how to respond if you spot them.

Paul Gionfriddo, president of Mental Health America, compares suicide to the end stage of cancer, a terminal point in mental illness or disease.Gionfriddo said, “Suicide is the ultimate stage four event for a lot of people who have serious mental illnesses, and frankly it’s the ultimate stage four, late-stage event for a lot of people with other kinds of chronic diseases as well, too, who might not have had a mental illness.”

The best way to prevent suicide is through early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of depression and other mental health conditions.

On its web page, the World Health Organization notes that “early identification and treatment of depression and alcohol use disorders are key for the prevention of suicide…as well as follow-up contact with those who have attempted suicide, and psychosocial support in communities.” Experts also say people need to change the notion that those who commit suicide are cowards.Paugh says she thinks her father got overwhelmed. “He was no coward. He fought in World War II.”

Guns and suicide

The WHO urges countries to reduce access to the means of suicide. Statistics show having access to a firearm increases the risk of suicide, and in fact, in the U.S., half of all suicides are committed with a gun. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, said there are ways to change that statistic. “We can make the firearm safer. We can make people safer with their firearms, and then we can make the environment itself safer.”

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Paugh’s son Peter bought a gun, to go target shooting and for protection. Then her life was shaken once more. “I lost my son in 2012,” she said. Peter was 25 years old when he shot himself.

Paugh often carries her favorite picture of her son. “It’s so understated, but he has piercing blue eyes. He’s paying attention. He’s looking at the world with love, I think.” And he has a hint of a smile on his handsome, young face.

One death every 40 seconds

Every year some 800,000 people die as a result of suicide. The World Health Organization says this translates to one death every 40 seconds. Beyond this, suicide impact families, societies, and communities.

Paugh agrees. “The ripple effect is enormous…his brothers, his girlfriend, myself, his father. It’s a shock that takes years to recover…to find footing again.”

The shock of the suicide deaths of her father and her son inspired her to become a suicide prevention advocate. “If we think someone may be troubled, ask them outright if they are having thoughts of suicide. It’s not a comfortable conversation, but it’s a lot more comfortable than a funeral….That’s my hope and my purpose in speaking about suicide. So people know it is preventable.” (VOA)

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Facebook Acquires the Anonymous Teenage Polling App ‘tbh’

An official statement from Facebook said: "tbh and Facebook share a common goal -- of building community and enabling people to share in ways that bring us closer together"

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Facebook brings the developers of 'tbh' app to share and expand a common goal of making stronger communities. Pixabay

San Francisco, October 17, 2017 : Facebook has acquired ‘tbh’, an anonymous polling app for teenagers which has over 5 million downloads and 2.5 million daily active users in the US.

The app lets teenagers anonymously answer kind-hearted, multiple-choice questions about friends, who then receive the poll results as compliments, TechCrunch reported on Tuesday.

“When we set out to build tbh, we wanted to create a community that made us feel happier and more confident about ourselves. We felt that people craved genuine and positive interactions in their online experiences,” ‘tbh’ said in a statement.

“Over the last few weeks, over 5 million people have downloaded tbh and sent over a billion messages. More importantly, we’ve been inspired by the countless stories where tbh helped people recover from depression and form better relationships with friends,” it read.

ALSO READ How Facebook is Helping Its Users Fight Identity Theft

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed but according to TechCrunch, it is likely to be somewhere around less than $100 million and will not require regulatory approval.

“As part of the deal, tbh’s four co-creators — Bier, Erik Hazzard, Kyle Zaragoza and Nicolas Ducdodon — will join Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters while continuing to grow their app,” the report added.

“When we met with Facebook, we realised that we shared many of the same core values about connecting people through positive interactions. Most of all, we were compelled by the ways they could help us realise tbh’s vision and bring it to more people,” ‘tbh’ said.

In a statement to TechCrunch, Facebook said: “tbh and Facebook share a common goal — of building community and enabling people to share in ways that bring us closer together”. (IANS)

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Recognizing Signs of Depression | Lets Talk About It

Depression is more than just ‘low mood'- it is deeper than you think

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Feeling moody or low from time to time is normal, but depression is something entirely different. Pixabay

New Delhi, October 11, 2017 : Being unhappy is not synonymous with depression.

What is Depression?

Depression is a constant state of low mood and an aversion to activity that can alter a person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings and a sense of general well being. People suffering from depression may feel anxious, empty, helpless, worthless, hopeless, guilty, irritable, ashamed or restless – and sometimes all of this at the same time. These can largely be viewed as both outcome and signs of depression.

Feeling moody or low from time to time is normal; these are natural emotions which when experienced in regular intervals are healthy. However, some people experience these feelings deeply. And contrary to popular belief, they may not be able to ‘snap out of it’ for long periods that might last up to weeks, months or even years.  What is further a cause of concern is that sometimes, these behaviors and mood swings are without any apparent reason. While signs of depression may be hard to point, they are not entirely invisible.

Signs of Depression

Depression is more than just ‘low mood’- it is a serious situation that can affect an individual’s physical, mental and emotional health.

But how can we know that an individual may be suffering from depression, are there any warning signs of depression?

Feeling sad is a part of depression, but the illness can present itself in a variety of other ways. If observed closely, one can figure out signs of depression in people.

The following can be broadly understood as signs of depression that can motivate an individual to seek professional help,

1. BODY : You have unexplained pain

According to the Mayo Clinic, unexplained pain, for example, back aches or migraines can be one of the first or only signs of depression. In fact, pain and depression often comprise a complimentary relationship. If your depression is causing you pain, this can influence you to feel additionally depressed which may further the pain. In addition, this ‘unexplained’ pain can give rise to a host of other problems like stress, low confidence, restlessness and you may even face difficulties falling asleep.

2. SLEEP : You sleep excessively – or too little

According to experts and numerous researches published in health-related journals, sleeping for extended hours is interpreted as escapism behavior.

You may wind up in bed and feel like staying there for hours, take naps whenever you can during the day. Depression can force you to feel immobile. Or it can cause you to remain awake till late in the night-tossing and turning and worrying.

Sleeping too much or too less comes with its own set of drawbacks. You may feel worn out and drowsy from a lot of rest which can make you feel even more terrible. Unrest due to long sleep hours will make you likely to sleep more and thereafter face even more trouble falling asleep at night.

3. WEIGHT : Your eating patterns have changed

Depression can alter your life in more ways than one. While some symptoms will be easier to notice, you might not be able to point out others until a while. Depression can influence major parts of your life, like your dietary patterns.

You may encounter a loss of appetite and a diminished enthusiasm for all activities that involve food. It can also have the inverse impact, making you more likely to attempt to mitigate yourself by greedily consuming food. Furthermore, if you suddenly find yourself binge eating or indulging in junk food, you might need to speak with your specialist about depression.

4. COGNITIVE : You may feel confused

If you are experiencing trouble concentrating, or settling on choices on a practically regular routine, it could be a sign of depression. You may experience unfocused thinking, or wavering attention. This can in turn take a toll on your memory and the ability to make sound judgment.

Have you been looking for excuses to delay work? A confused mind may influence you to overlook work deadlines and also motivate you to forego errands. Worst case scenario, it may even lead you to engage in unhealthy and risky behavior.

5. MOOD : You may feel extremely emotional

Although it is a common viewpoint to associate depression with sadness, it can also manifest into a host of other experiences. Depression may make you feel disturbed or angry over things you would have ordinarily ignored. Or you might experience sudden emotional outburst – incessantly crying for no particular reason. You may feel distant and not be able to relate to activities and people who were previously a part of your routine.

If you find yourself indulging in extreme emotional behavior, you might actually be depressed.

– Prepeared by Soha Kala of NewsGram. Twitter : SohaKala

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Is Your Child Not Getting Enough Sleep Due to Early School Hours? He is at risk of Developing Depression and Anxiety, Says New Study

School timings not only affect the sleeping habits but also the daily functioning of the body, which can harm the child's physical and mental health

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Unhealthy sleeping patterns can lead to major health problems like obesity, heart disease and others in adulthood, Wikimedia

New York, October 9, 2017 : Is your child not getting ample sleep due to early school hours? Beware, your kid is more likely to develop depression and anxiety, warns a new study. The study reveals that children, who start schooling before 8:30 a.m., get insufficient sleep or barely meet the minimum amount of sleep, that is 8-10 hours, needed for healthy functioning of the body.

“Even when a student is doing everything else right to get a good night’s sleep, early school start times put more pressure on the sleep process and increase mental health symptoms, while later school start times appear to be a strong protective factor for teenager,” said Jack Peltz, Professor at the University of Rochester in the US.

School timings not only affect the sleeping habits but also the daily functioning of the body. It aggravates major health problems like obesity, heart disease and others in adulthood. The study, published in the journal Sleep Health, suggested that maintaining a consistent bedtime, getting between eight and 10 hours of sleep, limiting caffeine, turning off the television, cell phone and video games before bed may boost sleep quality as well as mental health.

ALSO READ Prolonged Depression Can Change Structure of Your Brain

The researchers used an online tool to collect data from 197 students across the country between the ages of 14 and 17. The results showed that good sleep hygiene was directly associated with lower average daily depressive or anxiety symptoms across all students.

The risk of depression was even lower in the students who started school after 8:30 a.m. in comparison to those who started early. “One possible explanation for the difference may be that earlier starting students have more pressure on them to get high quality sleep,” Peltz stressed. (IANS)