Saturday January 18, 2020
Home Lead Story Suicides Can ...

Suicides Can Be Prevented, Says Expert Through Government Policies

Each year, some 800,000 people worldwide die as a result of suicide

0
//
Suicide, Life expectancy
Dorothy Paugh, a suicide prevention advocate, lost her father and her son to suicide. VOA

More people are committing suicide than ever before, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports, but suicide isn’t uniquely an American issue. The World Health Organization estimates that every 40 seconds, someone in the world ends his or her life.

Experts say the key to preventing suicide is to get help early and to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide.

Dorothy Paugh was 9 years old when her father took his life.

“I count that day as the last day of my childhood,” she said, “because from that moment on, I had no sense of security.”

Paugh’s father is buried at Arlington Cemetery, a place reserved for war heroes.

“It’s important to me that people not label those who die by suicide as cowards,” she said, “because my father was brave. He fought in World War II and … I think he just got overwhelmed.”

Nearly 50 years later, Dorothy Paugh’s life was shaken again by yet another suicide.

“I lost my son in 2012,” she said.

Hopeless
Hopeless, Pixabay

“This is my favorite picture of Peter because he has a hint of a smile. It’s so understated, but he has piercing blue eyes. He’s paying attention. He’s looking at the world with love, I think.”

Each year, some 800,000 people worldwide die as a result of suicide — and that number does not include the countless others who attempt it. The World Health Organization says this translates to one self-inflicted death every 40 seconds. But the impact on families, societies and communities is far greater.

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

Yet, experts say suicide can be prevented if governments create policies to prevent alcohol and drug abuse, make guns safer, reduce the stigma of suicide, and provide support for those suffering from depression and diseases that cause depression.

Paul Gionfrieddo, who heads Mental Health America, became an advocate for early treatment when his son developed a mental illness.

“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,” Gionfrieddo said.

Because of her experience, Paugh became an advocate for suicide prevention.

“If we think someone may be troubled, ask them outright if they are having thoughts of suicide,” Paugh said. “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.”

Hanging rope
Hanging rope, Pixabay

Also read:Red meat pork improve fertility

Mental health experts say mental health screening would help people get into treatment before their depression becomes severe. Other recommendations include reducing the social stigma associated with mental illness and making treatment more widely available. (VOA)

Next Story

This New Device Helps in Capturing and Identifying Virus

New device to capture and identify viruses developed

0
Virus device
Researchers have developed a fast and inexpensive handheld device that can capture virus. (Representational Image). Pixabay

Researchers have developed a device to quickly capture and identify various strains of virus.

“We have developed a fast and inexpensive handheld device that can capture viruses based on size,” said study researcher Mauricio Terrones from Penn State University.

“Our device uses arrays of nanotubes engineered to be comparable in size to a wide range of viruses. We then use Raman spectroscopy to identify the viruses based on their individual vibration,” Terrones added.

This device, called a VIRRION, has a wide range of possible uses. For farmers, for example, early detection of a virus in the field can save an entire crop. Early detection of a virus in livestock can save a herd from illness. Humans also will benefit by the detection of viruses in minutes rather than in days with current methods.

According to the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, because of its size and low cost, such a device would be useful in every doctor’s office as well as in remote locations when disease outbreaks occur.

virus device
The device uses arrays of nanotubes engineered to be comparable in size to a wide range of viruses. (Representational Image). Pixabay

Currently, virologists estimate that 1.67 million unknown viruses are in animals, a number of which can be transmitted to humans. Known viruses, such as H5N1, Zika and Ebola have caused widespread illness and death.

The World Health Organisation states that early detection can halt virus spread by enabling rapid deployment of countermeasures. “Most current techniques require large and expensive pieces of equipment,” Terrones said.

“The VIRRION is a few centimeters across. We add gold nanoparticles to enhance the Raman signal so that we are able to detect the virus molecule in very low concentrations. We then use machine learning techniques to create a library of virus types,” Terrones added.

According to the researchers, the VIRRION enables the rapid enrichment of virus particles from any type of sample — environmental or clinical — which jump-starts viral characterisation. This has applications in virus emergence, virus discovery and in diagnosis.

“We synthesized a gradient of aligned carbon nanotube forest arrays to capture different viruses according to their size and detect them in-situ using Raman spectroscopy,” said study lead author Ying-Ting Yeh.

Also Read- Know the Difference between Parkinson’s Disease and Bipolar Disorder

“We designed and assembled a portable platform that enriches virus particles from several milliliters of clinical samples in a couple of minutes,” Ting Yeh added.

“We hope to use this device for the capture and sequencing of single virions, giving us a much better handle on the evolution of the virus in real time,” said Elodie Ghedin from New York University. (IANS)