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Report: Suicide Now the Second-Leading Cause of Death Among America’s Teenagers



Risk Factors Include Abuse, Bullying, Being LGBT – Firearms Are the Second Leading Method of Suicide

Editor’s note: This article is being published to help our readers become more aware of the risk factors associated with suicide in the hope of helping reduce and prevent it. See the list of resources at the bottom for more.

Suicide is now the second leading cause of death among teenagers, according to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released Monday, which updates guidelines to pediatricians for helping teens manage risk factors for suicide. In 2007, suicide was the third leading cause of death among teens.

A USA Today article also published Monday, “Pediatricians urged to screen for suicide risks among teens,” notes, “Christine Moutier, chief medical officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the nation’s largest suicide prevention network, commends the report for shining light on the pediatricians’ role in having the right conversations with patients about mental health and providing practical examples of how to ask the right questions that keep adolescents engaged.”

Suicide risk factors listed include a history of physical or sexual abuse, mood disorders, drug and alcohol use, self-harm, being LGBT, and bullying, including cyberbullying.

Firearms in the home may also increase risk of suicide, and the AAP recommends that the families of at-risk teenagers remove any guns stored in the house. Firearms were the second leading method of suicide, increasing risk of completed suicide attempts no matter how they are stored.

USA Today adds, “Ben Shain, author of the report and head of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NorthShore University HealthSystem, says suicide rates may have increased due to the stresses and anger levels induced by electronic media and a reluctance to use antidepressant medication.”

In fact, frequent internet use was also strongly associated with a higher risk of suicide. Staying online more than five hours per day correlates with an increased risk for depression and suicidal thoughts and actions, although social networking sites mitigate this risk by providing greater social support.

Pediatricians should be looking for other health concerns, including typical symptoms of mental health issues like negative feelings, fatigue, and insomnia, as well as behavioral problems and physical symptoms like chest pain, headaches, weight loss, and lack of energy.

Additionally, learning about another person’s suicide can be a risk factor for people already at risk.

Adolescent girls have a higher rate of attempted suicide than boys, but boys have a success rate nearly three times as high as girls. According to the AAP, this is because girls choose less lethal methods than boys do.

The report also gives guidelines for doctors to help struggling teens. Suicide screening should include questions about symptoms of depression, as well as asking about risk factors and past attempts. Screening was not found to correlate with suicidal thoughts; in other words, asking teenagers about suicidal thoughts does not cause them to have suicidal thoughts, even if they are already at risk. Screening should also be done without a parent present, although parents should be given information to help their child if they are at risk.

The AAP also addresses the black box warning associated with antidepressant medications. The FDA requires labels on medications that were found to lead to an increased risk in suicidal thoughts and behavior through clinical trials. Although, as the AAP report says, “Subsequent studies have addressed the validity of the black-box warning and suggest that, for appropriate youth, the risk of not prescribing antidepressant medication is significantly higher than the risk of prescribing.” The FDA has not changed its guidelines on the black box warning, and the AAP guidelines say that the warning should be discussed when medication is prescribed.


If you or someone you know is considering suicide, there are many people available to help. Call 911 if there is an immediate risk. 

You can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or call them at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

States offer federally-funded free or low-cost mental health services. Use the SAMSHA locator or call 1-800-662-4357.

The Trevor Project helps LGBTQ young people 13-24. Visit them online or call 1-866-488-7386. The Trevor Project is also on Twitter and Facebook.


Image by justine-reyes via Flickr and a CC license

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‘Greatly Representative of Our Nation’: Trump Says the RNC Will ‘Probably’ Use White House for His Convention Speech



President Donald Trump on Wednesday confirmed that the RNC is considering holding a portion of its August convention on the White House grounds, an unprecedented break with acceptable norms and ethics.

Calling the White House “greatly representative of our nation,” Trump says he will “probably” accept the GOP nomination from the South Lawn and deliver his acceptance speech there.

“I’ll probably do mine live from the White House,” Trump said on “Fox & Friends.” He claimed one of the reasons to do it at the White House is to save the taxpayers money.

“It would be the easiest from the standpoint of security,” he said. “It’s a very expensive operation militarily, and law enforcement-wise the Secret Service is fantastic. But, you know, it’s a big deal, and we’re thinking about doing it from the White House because there’s no movement, it’s easy and I think it’s a beautiful setting.”

Trump’s speech is scheduled for Thursday, August 27, just three weeks from tomorrow.

Experts say anyone in the administration participating, aside from Trump and the Vice President, would be in violation of the Hatch Act.

Here’s the president discussing his convention plans:


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Trump Delivers Dangerously False Medical Claim: Children Are ‘Virtually Immune’ From Coronavirus, Which Is ‘Going Away’



President Donald Trump is making dangerously false medical claims once again, this time to advance his agenda of forcing the nation’s schools to re-open despite the coronavirus pandemic, which is growing worse in many parts of the country.

On “Fox & Friends” Wednesday morning Trump said that children are “virtually immune” from contracting the coronavirus, which is false.

“It doesn’t have an impact on them,” Trump told the Fox News morning team. “And I’ve watched some doctors say they’re ‘totally immune,’ I don’t know I hate to use the word ‘totally,’ the news will say, ‘Oh, he made the word totally and he shouldn’t have used that word.’ But the fact is they are virtually immune from this problem, and we have to open our schools.”

While children may contract the virus at lower rates, there has not been sufficient testing to prove that.

In fact, a devastating CDC analysis reported by The Washington Post just last week found “260 children and staffers — more than three-quarters of the 344 tested — contracted the virus less than a week after spending time together in close quarters. The children had a median age of 12. The camp had required all 597 campers and staff members to provide documentation that they had tested negative for the virus before coming. Staff were required to wear masks, but children were not.”

That “report suggests that children of all ages are susceptible to coronavirus infection and may also spread it to others — a finding likely to intensify an already fraught discussion about the risks of sending children back to school this fall.”

But President Trump says “the schools should open. This thing’s going way. it will go away like things go away, and my view is schools should reopen.”



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Trump May Deliver Convention Speech and Accept GOP Nomination From the South Lawn of the White House



President Donald Trump may make yet another move to obliterate longstanding norms and the separation of politics from matters of state by accepting the GOP nomination for president and delivering his convention speech, all televised across the nation, live, from the vaunted South Lawn of the White House.

“Republican National Convention planners are considering the White House South Lawn,” The Washington Post reports.

It is yet another unprecedented move, one that fits in well with Trump’s usurpation of the power and trappings of the Oval Office for personal and political gain, and his equating of the Office of the Presidency with himself.

“Every White House staff member who participates in this violates the Hatch Act,” law professor and former chief White House ethics lawyer Richard Painter says.

The Hatch Act “does not apply to ‘rooms in the White House or in the residence of the Vice President, which are part of the residence area or which are not regularly used solely in the discharge of official duties,'” the Post notes.

The New York Times reported Monday the interior of the White House is also being considered by the RNC.




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