Ten Simple Things We Can Do Immediately to Reduce Suicide: A Zero-Cost Public Mental Health Proposal

Jacob Z. Hess, Ph.D.

Despite all the valiant efforts to reduce suicide rates in the U.S., a study by the National Center for Health Statistics released in April of 2016 reported that suicide in the United States had surged to the highest levels in nearly 30 years, with an increase in every age group except older adults. The rise was especially pronounced in middle-aged women (up 63%) and middle-aged men (up 43%), with the overall suicide rate rising by 24 percent from 1999 to 2014.

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Two Different Stories Being Told About Religious Folks Supporting President Trump (And Why It Matters Which Story We Tell)

If you’re breathing and living on Planet Earth, you know by now that Donald Trump has attracted the support of many Americans – including a surprising number of religious Americans.

But why?  Isn’t he living contrary (like, remarkably so) to much of what religious folks believe? If so, how could they possibly go along with his antics, let alone keep supporting him?  One evangelical writer, Warren Throckmorton, called this the “big puzzle” – namely, “Why would these moral crusaders fall behind a womanizer who bragged about sexual assault?”

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Another Hypothesized Contributor to Youth Suicide That We’re (Mostly) Not Talking About. Can We Start Now?

Prefatory Notes: Losing one life (of any age) to suicide is one too much. We all know that. And so, we’re doing ALL we can to stop it – in Utah and across the nation. In addition to all the new programs, grants and funding, I wonder: Are we willing to have difficult conversations (we’re not currently having enough) that might make a significant difference in reducing these numbers?

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Does Taking a Progressive View of Identity Make It Difficult to Be (Happily) Mormon?

During graduate school, two new classmates arrived in the program and announced, “He, we’re looking for a church to attend – anyone have ideas?”

At the time, I was the President of the Latter-day Saint Student Association at the University of Illinois, and so I naturally let them know about the LDS branch that met each Sunday. In that moment, I expected they would actually consider the invitation (among other options they had)…and who knows, maybe even come and try our our little congregation sometime?

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Are Mormons Trump’s Biggest Fans? (Really!?)

You may have heard the news earlier this year – a Gallup poll reporting that President Trump’s “approval [was] highest among Mormons” (compared to other religious groups).

Wow. Shocker, right?

Or maybe not.  Maybe, like multiple commentators I’ve read, you thought to yourself something along the lines of, “No Surprise here” or, “Doesn’t shock me in the slightest!”

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A Plea for a More Honest + Less Despairing LGBT-Religious Conservative Conversation

One of my openly gay friends told me the other day that he felt sorry for me, specifically for “how deeply people have misunderstood” my writing about LGBT/religious conservative disagreements.  Though I’ve gone back and forth with a few people since my post about the Mama Dragons, I mostly haven’t been privy to people’s thoughts, especially since more and more online conversations happen in private forums of like-minded people (which research has shown predictably serves to reinforce and deepen convictions unilaterally).  So needless to say, I was a little surprised at what he had seen.

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History We Can’t Overlook Anymore:  Details Before the Anti-Depressant Era

In what follows, some of the details of history associated with both pre and posts anti-depressant eras are reviewed, drawing on Robert Whitaker’s extensive reviews in this area. Much of what follows is drawn from Bob’s written and verbal presentations, and provided here in summary form for easy access. I credit him for the graphics, statistics and explanations that follow. [To review more, I highly encourage you to access Bob’s books and many presentations].

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Long-term Evidence We Can’t Overlook Anymore: Anti-Depressant Outcomes

The set of studies below have been gathered and shared over recent years by award-winning journalist, Bob Whitaker.  The cumulative findings represented here are both hugely important, and largely not a part of the public mental health conversation we are having today. Given the precious value of each person facing serious mental distress, I dearly hope that can change.

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