Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday News Roundup

Whose Life is this Anyway?: When College Students Kill Themselves

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least 1,350 college students commit suicide each year. This  makes suicide the second leading cause of death among college students. Accidents is the number one cause of death. A recent conference at Rutgers University was organized around the idea that "universities must confront the problem of student suicides and address mental health and substance abuse problems rather than wait until it's too late."

A local psychologist and colleague, Alan Siegel, spoke at the conference about mental health services at MIT. He spoke about the steps that the university made to make its mental health program better known among students and increasing the ease of access. A lawyer spoke about the liability that universities can potentially incur when the institution reacts to students who are suicidal by suspending or dismissing them without providing any means of help. 

Are you a college student reading this? Perhaps an administrator? How can you help? Educate yourself about the possible warning signs of suicide. Consult with your college counseling center to learn more about what resources are available both on and off campus for someone in need.

Jogging Memories

Finally, some evidence that suggests my interest in viewing YouTube clips is a worthy endeavor.  An Irish newspaper reported that YouTube clips are being used in reminiscence therapy sessions for patients with dementia. Patients at a nursing home are shown old clips of familiar singers, movies, and other types of entertainment. The patients are engaged with familiar memories and have an opportunity to share with each other.

Wouldn't that make an interesting doctoral dissertation?

Charlie Lord, Mental Ward Photographer and Activist, Dies at Age 90

I didn't know about Charlie Lord until I heard his obituary on NPR. Charlie was a Quaker and a conscientious objector. He was assigned by the federal government to work in a state mental hospital in Pennsylvania. He smuggled in a camera and took haunting photos of the psychiatric ward. These images are graphic and disturbing. Be thoughtful about your own feelings before you click on this link to view them.

This story, and his photographs, are an important reminder to me that it is incumbent upon us to protect those among us who are unable to protect themselves.

March 1st is Self-Injury Awareness Day

Who knew that there was a self-injury awareness day? I certainly didn't. There are numerous resources for help and information. Curious? Look here or here for starters.  

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