suicide

The perils of anti-depressants: Increased suicide risk

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It is no secret that I have suffered, and still do suffer, from major depressive illnesses. Many people do and they either hide it, talk about it or plaster over the cracks.

You usually don’t realise someone you love is suffering from depression until they tip over somehow.

The problem is the medical fraternity almost always prescribe medications in various forms. I know, I’ve been on most of them, sometimes in a chemical cocktail. The very worst time of my life was when I was on anti-depressants.

Now there is another worry…it appears they increase the risk of suicide.

Antidepressants can raise the risk of suicide, the biggest ever review of its kind has found, as pharmaceutical companies were accused of failing to report side effects and even deaths linked to the drugs.

The review of 70 trials of the most common antidepressants, involving more than 18,000 people, found they doubled the risk of suicide and aggressive behaviour in under-18s.

Although a similarly stark link was not seen in adults, the authors said misreporting of trial data could have led to a “serious underestimation of the harms”.   Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Christine Chubbuck.

Christine Chubbuck.

Christine

Even if a person might look all right in the outside, we might never know what they may be dealing with on the inside.

29-year-old Christine Chubbuck didn’t leave behind a note. Instead, she staged a grand and memorable performance. Looking healthy, well-groomed, and in good spirits the morning of July 15, 1974, the newswoman geared up for a special presentation. “She was in a much better than normal mood. To this day, her enthusiasm puzzles me,” news director Gordan Galbraith said of her demeanor that morning.

Christine asked to change things up a bit for that morning’s broadcast of Sarasota, FL’s WXLT-TV’s Suncoast Digest. She wanted to start the normally unscripted talk show with some news reports, and spent the few minutes before air-time typing up what she was going to say on-air.

She started off with some standard news item, but when it came time to roll footage of a local shoot-out from the night before, a shot she specifically requested, the film stalled. The person operating the camera panicked a bit, but this was all a part of Christine’s plan. She looked into the camera with a determined eye.

“In keeping with Channel 40’s policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts and in living colour, you are going to see another first — attempted suicide,” she read, inflicting a little sarcasm into her tone.

Then she pulled a gun out of a bag of puppets she had at her feet and shot herself on live television.

Read more »

If she wanted to die, she was pretty bad at it

Suicide is a tough topic to discuss, but I get really, really annoyed with people who pimp out their tales of woe about how they survived suicide.

They snake across her body from her forehead to her shins. Like an intricate web of anguish, her body is a map of two decades of institutionalisation.

But it is not just the small knocks and marks of a life well-lived. Gemma, 30, who did not want her last name used, bears the scars of almost two decades of mental illness, self harm and suicide attempts. The words ‘help’ and ‘lost’ are now permanently branded across her knuckles, forever a daily reminder of her darkest moments and a haphazard tattoo job with needles and acrylic paint.

But after almost two decades of trying her damnedest to die, she is ready to try living again.

For a girl from a middle-class family from Timaru, Gemma never thought living alone in a council flat with little outside contact is where she would end up. Her criminal history reads like a novel, with her most recent estimate at number of arrests at about 300 – most for suicide prevention. Self harm was once a daily ritual, and serious attempts at ending her life number about 30.

By all accounts, she should be dead.

Read more »

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That’s a bit extreme

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via The Guardian

A man strangled and dismembered his wife, entombed her head in concrete and then used the concrete block as a weight to drown himself in an Austrian lake, authorities said Tuesday (local time).

Police official Gottfried Mitterlehner said the couple were a 72-year old man and his 71-year old wife from Germany but did not further identify them. Read more »

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Another suicide on Corrections watch

paremoemo-prison-nzh

ANOTHER INMATE has been found dead at maximum-security Paremoremo Prison – and again it’s on Corrections’ watch.

Just months after taking over the management of Mt Eden Corrections Facility from private company Serco following allegations of prisoner mistreatment, Corrections is now facing questions of its own after the suicide of another inmate at one of the prisons it runs.

The death is another black mark against the prison service, and further evidence that more needs to be done in the field of suicide prevention not only in private prisons but also in state-run ones as well.

In this latest case, a Paremoremo inmate committed suicide on Monday after swallowing a watch battery.

Three weeks ago the inmate had slit his wrists and was taken to the prison hospital.

A source said Corrections had refused to clean all the blood from the man’s cell for over a week, claiming it was a ‘crime scene’.

“We had to look at it and smell it,” the source said.

“Corrections were clearly on notice of the guy’s high suicide risk. How much longer will these preventable deaths continue in New Zealand prisons?”

It was only six weeks go that prison guards found a member of the Headhunters gang dead in his cell on the top of Paremoremo’s B block landing.

Prison sources say the man had hung himself.

Over the past five financial years there have been 88 suicide attempts behind bars.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison had the worst record, registering 13 suicide attempts over the five years. That was followed by 11 suicide attempts at Auckland Prison, and eight each at Christchurch Men’s Prison, Christchurch Women’s Prison and Waikeria Prison.

Only four facilities registered zero suicide attempts – Invercargill Prison, Rolleston Prison, Tongariro/Rangipo Prison and Wellington Prison.

There were five suicide attempts at the Mt Eden Corrections Facility.

In a recent interview, Corrections National Commissioner Jeremy Lightfoot claimed the department was doing everything it could to stop inmates from killing themselves behind bars.

He said the department was committed to preventing suicide in prison, but noted prisoners had a high risk of mental health disorders which made dealing with the problem a challenge.

‘In order to understand and address a prisoner’s medical condition, we conduct health screenings when a prisoner is received into prison and when they are transferred into prisons,” he said.

But he conceded Corrections would never be able to completely prevent suicides.

“Despite our efforts to reduce suicide and self-harm in prison it is incredibly difficult to stop someone who is determined to harm themselves.”

Over the past five years there have been 35 unnatural deaths in custody, which include murders and suicides. The deaths were spread among 14 prisons.

The only facilities not to record any unnatural deaths for the period were Arohata Prison, Auckland Region Women’s Prison, Rolleston Prison and Tongariro/Rangipo Prison.

Seven out of the 35 deaths – or 20 percent – were at Christchurch Men’s Prison. There were five deaths at Rimutaka Prison, and three each at Auckland Prison, Northland Region Corrections Facility, Waikeria Prison and Whanganui Prison.

Despite recent public concerns about the Mt Eden Corrections Facility, there has only been one unnatural death registered there since Serco took over management.

 


cookStephen Cook is a multi award winning journalist and former news editor and assistant editor of the Herald on Sunday.

 

Simple low-cost changes can lower prison suicides, but will they be implemented?

THE CORONER may have found a way to drastically reduce the country’s high prison suicide rate – but whether Corrections moves on his recommendations remains to be seen.

More prisoners are killing themselves than ever before with the suicide rate in New Zealand prisons now around 11 times higher than in the general population.

In the past five years alone there have been 31 suicides and at least a further 100 failed attempts at prisons around the country.

The suicides were spread among 14 prisons with seven – or 20 percent –carried out at Christchurch Men’s Prison, five at Rimutaka Prison, and three each at Auckland Prison, Northland Region Corrections Facility, Waikeria Prison and Whanganui Prison.

Bradley Steven Twidle is one of those 31 inmates who committed suicide while in the official custody and care of Corrections. He took his own life in December 2013 after asking to be segregated from a man who had been convicted of sexually assaulting him.

A police investigation into Twidle’s death found that he’d worked in the prison laundry, where he was considered a good worker, on the morning of December 6, 2013.

However, when a prison worker came to his cell to get him to work he’d appeared “slightly distracted” and was twice asked to get moving. Read more »

Knock me down with a feather, I agree with a newspaper editorial

A newspaper editorial  challenges our laws on suicide reporting.

News media in other free countries would be amazed at the restrictions on reporting deaths in New Zealand by suicide. For a long time it has been against the law to even call such a death by its name until after an inquest, usually months later, and even then only if the coroner permits. The most we may legally report at the time of the death is there are “no suspicious circumstances” or “police are not looking for anyone else”. Readers no doubt draw the right conclusion; circumlocution soon loses its point.

The euphemisms are ridiculous.

Not before time, Parliament is considering a bill to relax the restriction. If it is passed, it will become lawful to refer to a “suspected suicide” before an inquest is held. But in other ways the law is being tightened and one of them would restrict references to historical and overseas suicides. When a suicide bombing occurs overseas it may be illegal to report it in this country, according to Wellington lawyer Graeme Edgeler’s reading of the bill as it has emerged from a select committee.    Read more »

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A tragedy? Sure. But I can’t help feel he dodged a bullet at the last minute

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Still has some bugs to work out then

Normally losing your brand spanking new wife to suicide would be a tragedy, but I think this guy won the lottery

A newlywed wife whose husband complained she spent too much time on social media hanged herself after he confiscated her phone.

The woman, identified only as a 20-year-old named Aparna from the Kerala region, became upset following a row with her husband about her constant use of Facebook and WhatsApp. Read more »

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New Zealand is a great place to die

via carsguide.com.au

via carsguide.com.au

If you’re on the way out, this is one of the best countries to do it in

New Zealand is the third best country in the world to die, a study has shown. …

Ireland and Belgium came fourth and fifth. The United States came in ninth while Canada came 11th. Iraq ranked bottom of the list.

New Zealand, the UK, and Australia took the same spots in 2010, when the first ever Quality of Death Index was released. …

The research looked at measures for the quality of the care and the supply of care relative to the demand. The demand was calculated by looking at both demographic trends and rates of heart diseases and the like, where palliative care is often needed.

New Zealand was not in the top group of nations in terms of supply and demand, but still had an “adequate” number of specialised palliative care workers. Read more »

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Prisoner dies in Corrections run Auckland Prison

paremoemo-prison-nzh

AN INMATE has been found dead at maximum-security Paremoremo Prison – and this time it’s on Corrections’ watch.

Just weeks after taking over the management of Mt Eden Corrections Facility from private company Serco following allegations of prisoner mistreatment, Corrections is now facing questions of its own after the suicide of an inmate at one of the prisons it runs.

The death is another black mark against the prison service, and further evidence that more needs to be done in the field of suicide prevention not only in private prisons but also in state-run ones as well.

In this latest case, prison guards found a member of the Headhunters gang, believed to be in his 30s, dead in his cell on the top landing of B block in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Prison sources say the man had hung himself.

It is understood the death has been referred to the Coroner and will also be subject to a review by the Corrections Inspectorate.

Both these steps are largely procedural and are unlikely to shed any light on the bigger questions, including why the man wasn’t flagged as a suicide risk by Corrections staff who are supposedly trained to pick up when an inmate is in serious emotional distress.   Read more »