The Department of Health and Human Services is sponsoring a seminar for reporters on covering suicide on Tuesday, in what the lead organizer described as an effort by HHS media officials to engage with journalists in new ways.
Mark Weber, the deputy assistant secretary for public affairs, said that media officials often interact with reporters in what he called “ATM transactions” – communicating only when one needs something from the other. Continue reading
Photo: Sonya CollinsTrebor Randle, special agent in charge of the Child Fatality Review Unit of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, shares Georgia-specific suicide rates and demographics.
Death by suicide is on the rise and is the second-leading cause of death for people ages 10 to 39. In some cases, especially with children younger than 18, the media may shy away from covering these tragic deaths.
That’s not the correct approach, says Trebor Randle, special agent in charge with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Randle works in the Child Fatality Review Unit of the GBI. She investigates every case when a child dies by suicide under the age of 18. Continue reading
The second season of 13 Reasons Why, a controversial teen drama TV show, premiered May 18 on Netflix. Throughout its first season, loosely based on the award-winning book by Jay Asher, the show dealt in great detail with the suicide of a high school student, including its precursors and its aftermath. Now, the show has already drawn criticism for a rape scene this season. Continue reading
Are workshops really worth your time?
You have to apply, make travel arrangements, and then sort through a massive amount of often technical information packed into just a few hours or days, all while under pressure to produce. Journalists can leave with mountains of research papers, stacks of cards, heaps of data – but wondering if anything really can come from all of it.
For Texas-based freelance writer Laura Beil, the answer is a resounding yes. Continue reading
The recent suicide of actor/comedian Robin Williams has put a spotlight on suicide and depression. However, older adults who suffer from sleep problems are at even greater risk of suicide, according to a recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry.
Researchers investigated the relative independent risk for suicide associated with poor subjective sleep quality in a population-based study of 14,456 community-dwelling older adults (age 65+) during a 10-year observation period. They compared the sleep quality of 20 suicide victims with the sleep quality of 400 similar individuals during that time. Participants with dysfunctional sleeping patterns had a 1.4 times greater chance of death by suicide than well-rested people.
Even after adjusting for depressive symptoms, they concluded that poor subjective sleep quality appears to present “considerable risk” for severe suicidal behaviors 10 years later. Risk increases among patients with multiple illnesses. Continue reading
News outlets duly noted the recent study showing that injuries and violence kill more young people in the U.S. than any other cause of death. But the coverage scarcely mentioned the researchers’ most troubling and revealing finding: How the burden of these deaths varies enormously by race, ethnicity and social class.
Take a look at figure 2 from the study showing age-adjusted suicide and homicide rates in the U.S. by race and ethnic origin in the year 2010. The unit of measure is the number of deaths by suicide or homicide per 100,000 members of each population:
You can see that rates of suicide are three to four times higher among American Indian and Alaskan Natives and non-Hispanic whites than other populations.
Rates of homicide are more than eight times higher among blacks than among whites, and homicide deaths are three times more common among American Indians and Alaskan Natives than among whites. Continue reading