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May 2019 Connect with us Facebook Twitter Sign up  |  Archive  |  Advertise
Editor's e-Note
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and perhaps no other mental health issue has become more visible recently than suicide prevention. A surge of celebrity suicides may have contributed to the general public’s raised awareness, but social workers and other behavioral health professionals were already acutely aware of the alarming statistics on the increase in youth suicide and have been working on implementing prevention measures and models.

In the March newsletter, we covered a web-based depression prevention tool for teens that, as we often say, “meets clients where they are,” but while we must acknowledge the importance of integrating new tech interventions in behavioral health treatment, the importance of face-to-face connections will hopefully never be lost.

This month’s E-News Exclusive is a fitting companion piece to the March E-News Exclusive as it revisits a study on the efficacy of support from a trusted adult or circle of adults in teen suicide prevention.

While the study needs to be replicated on a larger scale, it offers hope for teen suicide prevention with a low-tech intervention available to some teens with connections to caring adults. The challenge is to create more circles of caring adults for all teens who have considered suicide and need support.

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— Marianne Mallon, editor
e-News Exclusive
The Impact of a Trusted Adult in Youth Suicide Prevention
By Sue Coyle, MSW

In 2017, suicide was the second leading cause of death for youth aged 15 to 24, as well as those aged 10 to 14. It followed only unintentional injury for both age groups, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While this standing was new as of 2015 and 2016 respectively, it was not shocking; for at least the 10 years prior, suicide stood at number three.

Thus, it should come as no surprise that prevention—specifically prevention targeted at young people—has been an ongoing focus of researchers, clinicians, and other professionals. “Suicide is preventable and treatable,” affirms Maureen M. Underwood, LCSW, clinical advisor for the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide.

There are numerous prevention techniques and models implemented throughout the country, including school-based educational programs and, clinically, the use of safety plans that ask youth to identify warning signs, coping strategies, and people/settings that can provide distraction or help.

One preventive measure in particular that has shown positive impact is the presence of a trusted adult in a youth’s life.

Full story »
Tech & Tools
Study Explores How Technology Can Help Prompt Positive Memories for People With Depression

Researchers have provided a crucial first step toward understanding how computing technology could be used to help people with depression remember happy memories.

Improving the recall of positive memories is a method used by clinical experts treating memory impairments of people with depression. This is, among other things, to help offset a bias toward negative thinking.

However, there are currently few technologies that have been designed specifically to support people experiencing memory impairments associated with depression.

A team of human-computer interaction researchers from the United Kingdom’s Lancaster University and Trinity College Dublin have, through in-depth interviews with experts in neuropsychology and cognitive behavioral therapies, found that most existing technologies related to supporting memory impairments are focused on “episodic” impairments, which are closely associated with conditions such as dementia.

The researchers explored three memory impairments in depression: negative bias, overgeneralization, and reduced positivity.

Read more »
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