suicide prevention

This summer the Trump administration rolled out the President's Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) - a long awaited strategy to bring down the rate of suicide in the military and among civilians. It focuses on enlisting community partners and a public awareness campaign to fight the stigma around seeking help during a mental health crisis.

Mental health specialists are working now to bolster the resilience of Americans who are suffering from feelings of despair — in hopes of preventing increases in suicides among people who are under increased pressure during the coronavirus pandemic.

Time is of the essence, public health researchers say. Experience with past natural disasters, such as earthquakes and hurricanes, shows that a rise in suicide often happens in the months after the immediate physical dangers of the disaster have passed.

Florida Schools Are Set To Get A Mental Health Funding Boost

Jan 31, 2020
Rick Bowmer / AP

Florida lawmakers are set to boost funding for school-based mental health services for the third year in a row, an effort to stem a rising youth suicide rate and identify potentially violent students.

The money has helped South Florida schools hire more school counselors, psychologists and therapists. Despite the investment, districts have a long way to go until they meet the recommended staffing ratios.

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

The Deerfield Beach High School community is mourning after losing three students to violent deaths in quick succession, two of which were apparent deaths by suicide. Most recently,  17-year-old Alexis Marion died earlier this week.

To share resources if you or someone you know is struggling, we are re-posting this interview from March 2019:

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.

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