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Feb-2022

 "SHARING and HEALING"
February 2022
 
A NEWSLETTER FOR
SURVIVORS OF SUICIDE LOSS
Written & Edited by Linda & Al Vigil
 
  
IN THIS ISSUE
      Pg  1  : Grieving Notes by Al V.
                                       Pg  2  : After a Suicide Attempt - Risk of Another Try
                                             Pg  4  : Youth Suicide Attempts Soar During Pandeminc
       Pg  4  : 11 Facts About Bullying 
                       Pg  5  : Suicide Surge During Covid Crisis
Pg  9  : When This Is Over
Pg  9  : Suicide Contagion
                               Pg 12 : Survivors of Suicide Loss New Mexico 
 
 
Grieving Notes
By Al Vigil
 
Every day we read the numbers... “Covid-19 Cases...new cases, hospitalizations, deaths, etc. ...”  and what frightening numbers they have become to our daily lives —now into this third year of a global pandemic.  We have adjusted our lives with isolation and space in order to be Covid safe. The phone calls from people at suicide risk have un-undated Suicide Crisis Centers. This virus has also taken a toll on our children. Suicide attempts among children have soared during this pandemic. 
 
Suicide isn’t always a movement toward death as it is a movement away from unbearble, unendnding pain.   Which makes suicide ...many times, a preventable death. A timely touch, the kind word, a trusting look, a smile, the warmth of another, may be the catalyst that makes an ‘at-risk’ choose life.
 
We have written, spoken, and shared with others about the numbers regarding suicide for 35 years. We have shared about suicide high rates, the ages, the sexual orientations, the causes, the means, and ever the religions beliefs. We have cried with other suicide survivors over its complicated grief ...the guilt, the blame, the bargains missed, the angers, and the forever loss,  -of a loved one.
 
- In Sharing and Healing
 
 
      “Letters from Mia”  - A Video !   
It’s dialogue and it’s presentation come from the personal, hand-written journal, that our Mia wrote during the four months before her suicide.  We offer the video in the hope that Mia’s words will help you to Choose Life.   We know that many counselors and clinicians have used the video as a teaching and discussion guide —to help those dealing with their own suicide risk.
 
As of Feb. 1st, 2022, the “ Mia - “  video has been seen 5,100 times.
Collin Leslie, it’s director and producer, has named it  “Letters From Mia.”    
It can be seen on the Vimeo Web-Site.  Copy and add the code below to your browser to view. 
 
https://vimeo.com/227815365?utm_source=email&utm_medium=vimeo-
cliptranscode-201504&utm_campaign=28749
 
 
 
After a Suicide Attempt, the Risk of Another Try
                     By Jane E. Brody
 
My family is no stranger to suicide and suicide attempts, and we are not alone. To recount just two instances:
 
A 20-year-old nephew, after receiving a very caring letter from his sister-in-law explaining why she could not be his lover, went to his room, shot himself in the head and died.
 
A beloved uncle, who had been plagued for years by bouts of severe depression that alternated with mild mania, was seen at a major hospital psychiatric clinic on a Friday and told to come back on Monday. Instead, he took every pill in the house and lay down on a rock jetty in the ocean waiting to die. Luckily, he was found alive by the police, and after hospitalization, a proper diagnosis and treatment for bipolar disorder, he lived into his 80s.
 
Suicide surpasses homicide in this country. Every 13 minutes someone in the United States dies by his own hand, making suicide the nation’s 10th leading cause of death over all (42,773 deaths in 2015), but second among those aged 15 to 34. Among children aged 10 to 14, the suicide rate has caught up to the death rate from traffic accidents.
 
Many times that number – more than a million adults and 8 percent of high school students — attempt suicide each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet a woeful minority receive the kind of treatment and attention needed to keep them from repeating a suicide attempt.
 
A common yet highly inaccurate belief is that people who survive a suicide attempt are unlikely to try again. In fact, just the opposite is true. Within the first three months to a year following a suicide attempt, people are at highest risk of a second attempt — and this time perhaps succeeding.
 
A recent analysis of studies that examined successful suicides among those who made prior attempts found that one person in 25 had a fatal repeat attempt within five years.
 
Now a new study reveals just how lethal suicide attempts, as a risk factor for completed suicide, are. The study, led by Dr. J. Michael Bostwick, a psychiatrist at the Mayo Clinic, tracked all first suicide attempts in one county in Minnesota that occurred between January 1986 and December 2007 and recorded all the deaths by suicide for up to 25 years thereafter. Eighty-one of the 1,490 people who attempted suicide, or 5.4 percent, died by suicide, 48 of them in their first attempt. The findings were reported in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
 
When all who succeeded in killing themselves were counted, including those who died in their first attempt, the fatality rate among suicide attempters was nearly 59 percent higher than had been previously reported.
 
“No one had included people who died on their first recorded attempt, so it’s not in the medical literature,” Dr. Bostwick explained in an interview. “That almost two-thirds end up at the medical coroner after a first attempt is astounding. We need to rethink how we look at the data and the phenomenon of suicide. We need to know more and do more for those who will complete suicide before they get to us for any kind of help.”
 
The study also showed that the odds of successfully committing suicide are 140 times greater when a gun is used than for any other method. Dr. Bostwick said that most suicide attempts are “impulsive acts, and it’s critical to prevent access to tools that make impulsive attempts more deadly.
 
“Suicide attempters often have second thoughts, but when a method like a gun works so effectively, there’s no opportunity to reconsider,” he said.
 
 an accompanying editorial entitled “You seldom get a second chance with a gunshot,” Dr. Merete Nordentoft, a mental health specialist in Copenhagen, and her co-authors wrote that “a suicidal act is the result of a temporary state of the mind.” Given “the high lethality of guns,” they urged that availability should be restricted through such measures as “legal restrictions regarding permission to purchase firearms, waiting periods, safe storage, background checks and registration guidelines.” Such measures have been linked to decreased rates of firearm suicides.
 
“Most people who attempt suicide change their mind,” they wrote, adding that “most often, firearms do not allow for a change of mind or medical attention to arrive in time. It is, thus, alarming that 21,175 (51 percent) persons who died by suicide in the U.S. in 2013 used firearms.”
 
 
 
In the Minnesota study, men were more than five times as likely to die by suicide as women; they were also more likely to use a gun. However, women who used guns were as likely to die as a result as were the men.
 
Equally if not more important to preventing successful suicide is paying attention to premonitory signs of suicidal intent and taking appropriate action to diffuse it. People who are depressed, who abuse substances like alcohol or illegal drugs or are having serious relationship difficulties should be considered high risk, Dr. Bostwick said.
 
In urging practicing physicians to pay more attention to the mental health of their patients, Dr. Catherine Goertemiller Carrigan and Denis J. Lynch wrote in the Primary Care Companion Journal of Clinical Psychiatry that “over 90 percent of persons who commit suicide have diagnosable psychiatric illness at the time of death.”
 
Psychiatrists, too, need to pay more attention to physical ills, they wrote. “Up to 50 percent of patients with psychiatric complaints have been found to harbor unrecognized medical illnesses that may have contributed to their mental deterioration,” yet fewer than one in five psychiatrists routinely perform physical examinations.
 
But more often than not, family members and friends are in the best position to spot a potential suicide and take steps to head it off. In addition to depression and substance abuse, signs include making statements (verbal or written) of being better off dead; withdrawing from family and friends; feeling helpless, hopeless, enraged, trapped, excessively guilty or ashamed; losing interest in most activities; acting impulsively or recklessly; and giving away prized possessions.
 
Most important is to take the person or your suspicions seriously and get immediate professional help even if the person resists. Unless you are a mental health professional, don’t assume you can talk the person out of suicidal intent.
 
For those who attempt suicide, the chances of a subsequent suicidal death are greatly reduced if one or more follow-up appointments are scheduled, and even further reduced if the person keeps the appointments, Dr. Bostwick said.
 
 
 
Youth Suicide Attempts Soared During Pandemic
                           U.S. NEWS  June 2021, By David K. Li
 
Youth suicide attempts soared during pandemic, CDC report says. Researchers, though, cautioned against drawing direct lines between the spike and conditions brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
 
Emergency room visits for adolescent suicide attempts soared this past summer and winter, especially among girls, perhaps in connection to America's struggle with Covid-19, new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data revealed Friday.
 
There was a 22.3 percent spike in ER trips for potential suicides by children aged 12 to 17 in summer 2020 compared to 2019, according to findings published in the CDC's "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report."   That trend seemed to continue into this recently completed academic year as visits were up by 39.1 percent this winter, compared to the previous winter, the report said.
 
The data was particularly alarming among among girls aged 12 to 17. Between Feb. 21 and March 20 this year, emergency department visits for potential suicide attempts were up 50.6 percent compared to the same period in 2019, data showed.  And they visited emergency rooms for suspected suicide attempts 26.2 percent more often between July 26 and Aug. 22 than they did during the same time in 2019, the CDC researchers said. The CDC analysis was drawn from data collected by the National Syndromic Surveillance Program.
 
 "Young persons might represent a group at high risk because they might have been particularly affected by mitigation measures, such as physical distancing (including a lack of connectedness to schools, teachers, and peers); barriers to mental health treatment; increases in substance use; and anxiety about family health and economic problems, which are all risk factors for suicide," according to the report.
 
 Researchers, though, cautioned against drawing direct lines between these spikes and conditions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, which disrupted nearly every aspect of U.S. life starting in the middle of last March.  A heightened appreciation about mental health in 2020 might have prompted parents to get their children mental health treatment, they said.
 
"Conversely, by spending more time at home together with young persons, adults might have become more aware of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and thus been more likely to take their children to the ED," added report. 
 
 
         
   11 FACTS ABOUT BULLYING
 
The  DoSomething.org , a global movement of millions of young people is making positive change, online and off.  The 11 facts listed here are usually described as the reasons offered regarding bullying.
 
[1]   About 37% of young people between the ages of 12 and 17 have been bullied online. 30% have had it happen more than once.
 
[2]   95% of teens in the U.S. are online, and the vast majority have access to the internet on their mobile device, making it the most common medium for cyber bullying.
 
[3]   23% of students reported that they’ve said or done something mean or cruel to another person online.  27% reported that they’ve experienced the same from someone else.
 
[4]    Girls are more likely than boys to be both victims and perpetrators of cyber bullying. 15% of teen girls have been the target of at least four different kinds of abusive online behaviors, compared with 6% of boys.
 
[5]   About half of LGBTQ+ students experience online harassment —a rate higher than average.
 
[6]    Instagram is the social media site where most young people report experiencing cyberbullying, with 42% of those surveyed experiencing harassment on that platform.
 
[7]   Young people who experience cyberbullying are at a greater risk than those who don’t —for both self-harm and suicidal behaviors.
 
[8]     83% of young people believe social media companies should be doing more to tackle cyberbullying on their platforms.
 
[9]     60% of young people have witnessed online bullying. Most do not intervene.
 
[10]   Only 1 in 10 teen victims will inform a parent or trusted adult of their abuse.
 
[11]   4 out of 5 students say they would be more likely to intervene in instances of cyberbullying if they could do it anonymously.
 

 
 
Suicide Surge During Covid Crisis
                    New York Times   By Anemona Hartocollis   Dec. 22, 2021   
 
This article addresses mental health issues on college campuses, including suicide. If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.
 
The mood was already strained at West Virginia University as students hunkered down for finals in December. Then an employee found an anonymous letter in a men’s bathroom, embellished with illustrations
 
 
Still reeling from a very public suicide of a 20-year-old business major in April, the university administration reacted swiftly. Officials posted a warning, highlighted in canary yellow, on the university’s website, pleading with the letter’s author to seek help, and asking students to be alert to their surroundings.
 
“While we do not know your personal circumstances, we do know this is a very stressful time of year,” the university wrote, adding, “You are not alone.”
 
As Monday came and went without incident, students and university officials expressed relief, but worried that the note was just one indicator of the fragile mental health of many students during the turmoil of the coronavirus pandemic. and poetry, that threatened suicide in or around the student union at noon on Monday, Dec. 6.
 
Still reeling from a very public suicide of a 20-year-old business major in April, the university administration reacted swiftly. Officials posted a warning, highlighted in canary yellow, on the university’s website, pleading with the letter’s author to seek help, and asking students to be alert to their surroundings.
 
“While we do not know your personal circumstances, we do know this is a very stressful time of year,” the university wrote, adding, “You are not alone.”
 
As Monday came and went without incident, students and university officials expressed relief, but worried that the note was just one indicator of the fragile mental health of many students during the turmoil of the coronavirus pandemic.
 
Other colleges, including Bowie State, Cornell, Princeton and Towson, moved exams online and urged students to go home for winter break as soon as possible.
 
As cases surge, a big question is what campus life will look like in January. Will classes be remote? Will students be able to gather? Will there even be campus life?
 
Loneliness or isolation, along with loss of motivation or focus, are among the top concerns of college students who have sought counseling during the pandemic, according to national data collected by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State.
 
Some administrators worry that there is a conflict between protecting students’ physical health and their mental health. “Restricting the ability to interact, there’s a price to pay for all that,” said Eli Capilouto, president of the University of Kentucky. “Somebody said if we’re not careful, we’re going to trade one epidemic for another, and in many ways I think we are.”
 
To many students, the latest virus surge feels like a giant step back to the netherworld, where college just was not college.
 
“It’s just ‘Waaaaaah!’ That’s how I would describe it,” said Ally Montgomery, a freshman majoring in comedy arts at DePaul University.
 
When she heard that the first two weeks of winter classes would be online, she felt a sense of panic. She had missed all the rituals of senior year in high school — a real prom, college tours, graduation. She even missed the beginning of college last fall, because she tested positive for Covid.
 
Over the past decade, the rate of depression, anxiety and serious thoughts of suicide has doubled among college students, according to Daniel Eisenberg, a professor at U.C.L.A. and a principal investigator of the Healthy Minds Study, an annual survey of thousands of students across the country.
 
And the pandemic has only intensified those trends. Students reported lower levels of psychological well-being during the pandemic than before, according to a survey by the Healthy Minds Network and the American College Health Association. On the plus side, they reported higher levels of resiliency.
 
“The water level seems like it has only crept up a little bit during the pandemic, but underneath the surface some people have been enormously harmed,” Dr. Eisenberg said.
 
The academic atmosphere is tense. At the height of the pandemic, professors were more lenient, grading pass/fail and extending deadlines. In the most recent semester, students say, they have gone back to the stricter attitudes of the past, not recognizing that some mercy may still be needed.
 
“You can just look around you and tell people need a rest,” said Flora Durgerian, a senior at Claremont McKenna. “I’m overwhelmed,” she added.
 
Many parents and college administrators have been troubled by an outbreak of suicides. Among them: three, all first-year students, since November 2020 from Dartmouth; two, and possibly more, since July from Worcester Polytechnic Institute; two in September from St. Louis University; three in September and October from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and deaths from Yale and Princeton.
 
It is unclear whether the number of suicides is going up.
 
But Colleen Wamback, a spokeswoman for Worcester Polytechnic, said the toll there had been “unprecedented.” The school had two suicides from 2006 to June 2021, she said. In the past six months, there have been four deaths, two of them confirmed suicides and two others still under investigation.
 
There have been at least two suicides connected with West Virginia University since the pandemic began. Eric Domanico, a freshman on full scholarship there, died of suicide in July 2020, soon after students were sent home in the first wave of the pandemic.
 
Eric was already emotionally fragile, his father, Frank Domanico, said. Remote learning was a “disaster” and he missed his friends at school.
 
“My son died of loneliness,” Mr. Domanico said. “He didn’t have his friends, he didn’t have his support group.” Given a choice, he said, “I would rather die of a microbe than of loneliness.”
 
In a poignant forecast of the perils of isolation, The Yale Daily News interviewed Rachael Shaw-Rosenbaum, a first-year student from Anchorage, in the fall of 2020 as she moved into her dormitory room alone — because of Covid restrictions — and went into pre-emptive quarantine. She was not afraid of Covid, Ms. Shaw-Rosenbaum told the paper in a Zoom interview; she was afraid for her mental health.
 
Bergen Community College, in suburban New Jersey, lost a student to suicide this semester, and demand for therapy has “exploded,” said Jennifer Migliorino-Reyes, the dean for student support. Her students often are balancing work, children and school — and can be under enormous financial pressure. “Definitely threats of suicide, anxiety attacks, not knowing how to socialize,” she said. “I’m not going to lie: It’s been exhausting.”
 
Cassie Guinto, a second-year student there, offered tutoring services this semester to first-year students. But she noticed that many students who sought academic help did not need it.
 
“They needed to talk,” she said. They had been shut inside in their last year of high school. And they told her, “I have no clue how college works.”
 
University of Kentucky officials said they were especially worried about first-year students, who seemed to have a harder time adjusting than earlier generations.
 
“This generation has had this long adolescence, and they hadn’t separated” from their families, said Kirsten Turner, the university’s vice president for student success.
 
Princeton, where a student died by suicide while studying remotely last spring, has seen a 15 percent increase in demand for services, a record.
 
“More students were reporting various cases of homesickness, where they really felt kind of lost about not having their parents around,” said Calvin R. Chin, the school’s director of counseling and psychological services.
 
There is no doubt that missing a large chunk of college has changed the social dynamic on campus, as if students were all Rip Van Winkles, returning from a long slumber.
 
Josh Nagra went home to lockdown as a freshman at Claremont McKenna College and returned to the California campus this fall as a junior. In that time, he found, everyone had changed, and he could no longer rely on the same friends.
 
“People came back to college thinking that they had all of these friend groups,” he said, adding, “but you’re now much different people and fully two years older.”
 
There was a loss of connection, he said.
 
Students are asking for help. More than 9,000 people signed a petition asking for more mental health services at Saint Louis University. The student government at West Virginia University is asking for state aid. The Domanico family has started a foundation in Eric’s memory. “A year from now we’re going to find out we have a lot more kids with these issues, and we’re not going to know what to do,” Mr. Domanico said.
 
At Yale, alumni, family and friends of Rachael Shaw-Rosenbaum founded Elis for Rachael, trying to influence the university’s mental health policies. The pandemic pushed her over the edge, her mother, Pamela Shaw, said in a phone call from Anchorage. She had tried to convince her daughter to take a gap year until the pandemic receded. “This is not what college is like,” she told her.
 
But Rachael, she said, could not see that “this is just a blip in time.”
 
 

 
"When This Is Over” -  Pandemic of 2020-2022   
                                                By Laura Kelly Fanucci
 
When this is over,
May we never again take for granted
A handshake with a stranger
Full shelves at the store
 
The school rush each morning       
Coffee with a friend
The stadium roaring
Each deep breath
 
A boring Tuesday
Life itself
 
When this ends, may we find that we have become
more like the people we wanted to be,
And may we stay that way —better
for each other because of the worst.
 
 

 
 
                       “SUICIDE CONTAGION”
 
What does "suicide contagion" mean, and what can be done to prevent it?
Suicide contagion is the exposure to suicide or suicidal behaviors within one's family, one's peer group, or through media reports of suicide and can result in an increase in suicide and suicidal behaviors. Direct and indirect exposure to suicidal behavior has been shown to precede an increase in suicidal behavior in persons at risk for suicide, especially in adolescents and young adults.
 
The risk for suicide contagion as a result of media reporting can be minimized by factual and concise media reports of suicide. Reports of suicide should not be repetitive, as prolonged exposure can increase the likelihood of suicide contagion. Suicide is the result of many complex factors; therefore media coverage should not report oversimplified explanations such as recent negative life events or acute stressors. Reports should not divulge detailed descriptions of the method used to avoid possible duplication. Reports should not glorify the victim and should not imply that suicide was effective in achieving a personal goal such as gaining media attention. In addition, information such as hotlines or emergency contacts should be provided for those at risk for suicide.
 
Following exposure to suicide or suicidal behaviors within one's family or peer group, suicide risk can be minimized by having family members, friends, peers, and colleagues of the victim evaluated by a mental health professional. Persons deemed at risk for suicide should then be referred for additional mental health services.
 
What is Suicide?
Suicide is when people harm themselves with the goal of ending their life,  and they die as a result.
Suicide attempt is when people harm themselves with the goal of ending 
their life, but they do not die.
Avoid terms such as “committing suicide,” “successful suicide,” or “failed suicide” 
when referring to suicide and suicide attempts, as these terms often carry negative meanings.
 
Warning Signs
Warning signs that someone may be at immediate risk for attempting suicide include:
Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves
Talking about feeling empty or hopeless or having no reason to live
Talking about feeling trapped or feeling that there are no solutions
Feeling unbearable emotional or physical pain
Talking about being a burden to others
Withdrawing from family and friends
Giving away important possessions
Saying goodbye to friends and family
Putting affairs in order, such as making a will
Taking great risks that could lead to death, such as driving extremely fast
Talking or thinking about death often
 
Other serious warning signs that someone may be at risk for attempting suicide include:
Extreme mood swings, sudden change from very sad to very calm or happy
Making a plan or looking for ways to kill themselves, searching for lethal methods online, stockpiling pills, or buying a gun
Talking about feeling great guilt or shame
Using alcohol or drugs more often
Acting anxious or agitated
Changing eating or sleeping habits
Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
 
It is important to note that suicide is not a normal response to stress. Suicidal thoughts or actions are a sign of extreme distress and should not be ignored. If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible, particularly if the behavior is new or has increased recently.
 
Five Steps you can take to #BeThe1 To help someone in emotional pain:
     ASK: “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” It’s not an easy question, but studies show that asking at-risk individuals if they are suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts.
    KEEP THEM SAFE: Reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal items or places is an important part of suicide prevention. While this is not always easy, asking if the at-risk person has a plan and removing or disabling the lethal means.
     BE THERE: Listen carefully and learn what the individual is thinking and feeling. Research  suggests acknowledging and talking about suicide may reduce rather than increase suicidal thoughts.
     HELP THEM CONNECT: Save the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s (1-800-273-TALK (8255)) and the Crisis Text Line’s number (741741) in your phone, so it’s there when you need it. You can also help make a connection with a trusted individual like a family member, friend, spiritual advisor, or mental health professional.
      STAY CONNECTED: Staying in touch after a crisis or after being discharged from care can make a difference. Studies have shown the number of suicide deaths goes down when someone follows up with the at-risk person.
 
Stressful life events (such as the loss of a loved one, legal troubles, or financial difficulties) and interpersonal stressors (such as shame, harassment, bullying, discrimination, or relationship troubles) may contribute to suicide risk, especially when they occur along with suicide risk factors.
 
Suicide is preventable and everyone has a role to play to save lives and create healthy and strong individuals, families, and communities. 
 
Family and friends are often the first to recognize the warning signs of suicide, and they can take the first step toward helping a loved one find mental health treatment.
                                  


 
  
"SURVIVORS OF SUICIDE LOSS - NM"
Two (2) Meetings each Month at:
 Shepherd of the Valley Presbyterian Church
1801 Montano Rd NW, Albuquerque
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1st & 3rd Monday of Every Month
More information at : 505-400-9942
 
 
 
Open  “SHARING AND HEALING NEWSLETTER”  on line : 
 
www.sharingnhealing.org

 

 
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