September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

More than 90 percent of people who have died by suicide were living with one or more mental illnesses. While making up less than 1 percent of the population, military veterans represent over 20 percent of suicides each year. The hard reality is that our nation faces a suicide crisis. During Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, NAMI will continue our efforts to provide education, resources and support to individuals and families in need.

One conversation can change a lifetime

Maintaining strong connections among family, friends and in your community is one of the best ways to prevent suicide. Supporting NAMI through a donation today enables you to extend your circle of support and become part of a national movement to end the stigma of mental illness and remove barriers to treatment. One person making a difference can change a life. When we all work together we can change a nation.

Each of us is in a unique position to recognize someone at risk for suicide and to take action to get them the help they need. Recognize some of the common warning signs:

  •  Depression, feelings of hopelessness, or suicidal thoughts
  • Impulsiveness, extreme anxiety, agitation, irritability, or risky behavior
  • Withdrawal from others; giving away treasured belongings
  • Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Abuse of alcohol, drugs, or other substances

Remember, if you are concerned about a co-worker, friend, or a family member, and you think they may be considering suicide, you can ACT to prevent suicide.

 A – Ask the question – “Are you thinking of killing yourself?”

C – Care for your co-worker – Listen with compassion and voice your concern.

T – Take action – Seek professional help.

If you, or someone you know, are thinking about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK. This number can be dialed toll-free from anywhere in the United States 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Antidepressants May Help Avert Depression in Head and Neck Cancer Patients

Antidepressant use appears to prevent depression in patients with head and neck cancer, a large double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial has found. The study was headed by William Lydiatt, M.D., of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Nebraska. The results appear in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

“This study is important in many ways,” Michelle Riba, M.D., a former APA president, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan, and a psycho-oncologist, told Psychiatric News. “It looked at a population of patients—those with head and neck cancer—in whom depression is a very prominent and serious condition. It studied a way to help patients in a preventive paradigm, using [the SSRI antidepressant] escitalopram. Furthermore, even though the  study wasn’t designed to study quality of life, patients in the escitalopram arm had an overall improved quality of life during the study and three months consecutively after the cessation of drug therapy.”

More information about how psychiatrists can help cancer patients can be found inPsychiatric News. Information about the mental health challenges that cancer patients and survivors face is presented in the new American Psychiatric Publishing book, Psycho-Oncology.

From: Psychiatric News Alert (Image: Tyler Olson/Shutterstock.com) 

A Conversation with Mariel Hemingway

Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 7 p.m., at the Arclight Theater in Los Angeles. Sponsored by Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission

Mariel Hemingway will be sharing clips from her documentary, Running from Crazy, shown at the Sundance Film Festival this year.

Mariel Hemingway, Oscar-nominated actress, best-selling author, and mental-health advocate with a family legacy of seven suicides, including her famous grandfather, Ernest Hemingway, will talk about the history of mental illness in her family and will be joined by mental health experts in the community to continue the discussion.

NAMI Communications Coordinator Brendan McLean interviewed Mariel about the film and her experience with mental illness:

“Running From Crazy was a powerful journey for me. I wanted to share my story as a way for others to realize no matter what and where you come from everyone has a story and some relationship to mental instability. I am a Hemingway and have struggled with depression and craziness in my family but I believe that we all share similar stories. I want others to feel supported and the stigma of mental illness to be obliterated. The more we have a dialogue about this issue the better for everyone. Also the positive take away is my belief, based on my experience, that our lifestyle informs our mental wellness is a strong message.”

See the full interview at the NAMI National Site.

A Conversation with Mariel Hemingway begins at 7 p.m. at the Arclight Theater on May 15. For more information about the event and for reservations to attend, go to Free Your Minds Projects. See also the very fine review of Running from Crazy at The Telegraph.