suicide prevention

A new study suggests that raising the minimum wage might lower the suicide rate — especially when unemployment is high — and that doing so might have saved tens of thousands of people from dying by suicide in the last quarter century.

Associated Press

After Richard Branson announced his Virgin Group would partner with Brightline, Florida’s new higher-speed passenger rail service, a train whisked the British billionaire, VIPs and journalists from Miami to West Palm Beach in just over an hour and then back, with no problems.

That was likely a great relief to railroad staff who have dealt with a higher than average number of deaths involving the sleek, neon-yellow trains, which travel at speeds of up to 79 mph (127 kph) through some of Florida’s most densely populated cities.

therapy dogs
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

Thursday is World Mental Health Day. It's recognized by the World Health Organization as a day to talk about mental health awareness, education, and to push for an end to the stigma that can sometimes surround asking for help. 

Brightline train stations have joined in on the advocacy - bringing in therapy dogs to spend time with commuters for a couple of days this week.

Katherine Streeter for NPR

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in any given month about 4,000 Americans will commit suicide. Young people are particularly vulnerable. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 10-34.

Peter Nunn is 32 and he's happy. He lives just outside Atlanta with his husband Monte, his dog Amelie, and their cat Hollow.

The dining room is decorated with a photo gallery wall of family — his husband dancing with his mother at their wedding and pictures of the couple. But it took a long time and work to get to a place where Nunn said he accepted and loved himself.

As a gay man, Nunn said, his father tried to change him.

Mental health has been a frequent topic at the Capitol following more tragic news from Parkland. Two students who survived last year's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre took their own lives last month. 

The Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald bureau reports that while the Legislature allocated $69 million for student mental health after the tragedy, almost none of it went to suicide prevention. But some lawmakers have begun to study prevention programs.

Rep. Ray Rodrigues (R-Estero) chairs the House Health and Human Services Committee. He's troubled by a recent report of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. In mid-February as his panel heard a presentation on suicide, he pointed to data showing Americans' life expectancy had dropped for the third year in a row.

Fresh waves of grief have hit the communities of Parkland, Fla., and Newtown, Conn., after recent news of more deaths.

On Monday, the father of a girl who was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting died by apparent suicide, and last week, two students who survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting took their own lives.

Eagles' Haven
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

The Eagles' Haven Wellness Center is just over a mile away from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Coral Springs. The center was scheduled to open at the end of April but decided to start offering services this week after two survivors of last year's shooting died by apparent suicide. 

Since then, more than 100 people have come through the center's doors, seeking connection to therapies or just a place to have a cup of coffee and talk to someone.

Al Diaz / Miami Herald

When lawmakers gave more than $69 million in mental health to school districts after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, many cast the funding as a way to help prevent future mass shootings and identify troubled students who needed help.

But there was little discussion while crafting the bill — and no mention in the final 105 pages of legislation — that specifically directed schools to consider suicide prevention efforts, the most pressing mental health challenge facing a generation and the second leading cause of death for young people under 35.

tawatchai / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mental health providers in South Florida are stressing the need for more trauma awareness and suicide prevention resources following the apparent suicide deaths of two young survivors of last year's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Updated at 4:28 p.m. ET

Days after three separate suicides in Parkland, Fla., and Newtown, Conn., left those communities reeling, the Senate did something rare for a GOP-led chamber: It held a hearing on gun control.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Monroe County has recently had some of Florida's highest rates of suicide. With the numbers increasing nationally and locally, people in the Keys are stepping up to prevent more deaths.

Doctors across the U.S. have become increasingly vocal in addressing gun violence as a public health crisis, a posture that recently has drawn the wrath of the National Rifle Association.

Yet, in Colorado, a diverse group that includes doctors, public health researchers and gun shop owners has come together to bridge this divide. The Colorado Firearm Safety Coalition has found common ground on at least one issue: preventing firearm suicide.

A year ago, Facebook started using artificial intelligence to scan people's accounts for danger signs of imminent self-harm.

Facebook Global Head of Safety Antigone Davis is pleased with the results so far.

"In the very first month when we started it, we had about 100 imminent-response cases," which resulted in Facebook contacting local emergency responders to check on someone. But that rate quickly increased.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Monroe County already had one of the highest suicide rates in the state of Florida.

Then came Hurricane Irma. And although most of the debris has been removed from land - and lots of repairs are underway — the storm continues to impact the Keys, almost a year later.

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