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#JamesDonaldsononMentalHealth – With Nation’s Highest #Suicide Rate, Middle-Aged White #Men Often Don’t Seek #MentalHealth Care

Written By: April Baumgarten 

Julie Blehm, a Fargo physician, lost her husband and popular pediatrician David Blehm to suicide in 2011. She conducts seminars for fellow physicians about noticing depression in colleagues. David Samson / The Forum

Julie Blehm, a Fargo physician, lost her husband and popular pediatrician David Blehm to #suicide in 2011. She conducts seminars for fellow physicians about noticing #depression in colleagues. David Samson / The Forum

Editor’s note: If you or a loved one is in crisis, you can call the #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK).

FARGO — In Dr. Julie Blehm’s home in south Fargo, the memories of her husband, David, are still present.

Art pieces the two collected together hang on the walls. The table where he kept piles of books still sits in the dining room.

To her, Dr. David Blehm was the most interesting man she had met. She didn’t see any sign her pediatrician husband was so unhappy that he would end his life.

“I never thought he was suicidal,” she said. “I just never had that feeling.”Dr. Julie Blehm talks about her husband’s #suicide

While on a business trip, David Blehm’s employer called and told her he did not show up for work. She later learned that he took his own life on Nov. 7, 2011. He was 59.

“I think, so many people respected you as a pediatrician and appreciated the reading lists you gave to their children and all these different things. How could you have been so unhappy that you did this?” she asked.

Middle-aged white #men, like David Blehm, have the highest rate of #suicide among any group in the U.S., according to the #AmericanFoundationforSuicidePrevention. In 2017, #whitemen made up almost 70% of #suicide deaths in the U.S., and middle-aged groups rise to the top when it comes to rates, the organization said.

Working-aged #men make up the largest portion of #suicide fatalities in North Dakota, said Alison Traynor, North Dakota’s #suicideprevention director. In Minnesota, middle-aged #men also are at an increased risk, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

White #men in the U.S. have a culture of being the breadwinners and protectors of their families, said Dr. Liza Tupa, a clinical psychologist who’s studied #suicide. They also are taught to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” instead of seeking help, said Tupa, education and research director for the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education in Boulder, Colo.

Julie Blehm asked her husband to seek help after she noticed he was drinking more in the years leading up to his death, but he said he could deal with it by himself.

After his death, she talked with her son, who said he realized his father probably felt he may have failed at some things in his life, she said. “Here he was middle-aged … kind of nearing the end of his career and thinking, ‘I really didn’t do as well with all of this as I thought I would,’” she said.

Julie Blehm, a physician who specializes in caring for the elderly, has told her husband’s story to educate medical professionals, and she’s played a role in initiating changes in North Dakota to encourage doctors to get the treatment they need.

“It doesn’t mean you’re an awful person. It doesn’t mean you’re weak. It means that you have an illness,” she said. “I think that is the most important thing.”

The numbers ‘woke us up’

North Dakota and Minnesota do not specifically track #suicide rates for middle-aged white #men, but both states monitor trends by race, gender and age.

White people made up 85% of the deaths by #suicide in 2018 in North Dakota. The same year, the #suicide rate for whites in North Dakota was 20 per 100,000, according to the state Health Department. That’s above the national rate of almost 16 per 100,000, according to the #CentersforDiseaseControlandPrevention.

Whites in Minnesota accounted for 91% of #suicides in 2017, the latest figure from the state’s Department of Health. #Suicide rates by year were not available, but the rate for 2013-2017 among whites in Minnesota was 13.4 per 100,000, second only to American Indians with 23.2.

Since 2000, the rate of #men taking their own lives has remained higher compared with #women in North Dakota and Minnesota. #Men were four times more likely to kill themselves compared with #women, according to data from both states.

“I think that the numbers that came from North Dakota … I think they woke us up as a state,” said Thomasine Heitkamp, project co-director and principal investigator for Mountain Plains Mental Health Technology Transfer Center in Grand Forks. “I think that we started to dig a little deeper into the causes.”

Middle-aged white #men are exposed to various risk factors, such as economic stress, chronic health conditions and the pressures of succeeding, Tupa said. A lack of access to treatment, especially in rural areas, also is troubling, experts said.

“How do you turn reaching out for help into a strength?” Tupa said. “That’s the message I think that we have to give everyone, but especially … to this group.”

How to raise awareness

To solve the complex issue of #suicide, everyone needs to come together to remove barriers to treatment, provide #suicideprevention training and expand communities’ abilities to discuss the topic, experts said.

With guns contributing to 50% of suicides in the U.S., there should be more discussion of what measures can be taken to keep guns away from people who have suicidal thoughts, said Gina Brimner, director of veterans initiatives for WICHE.

David Blehm shot himself with a gun he owned, and his wife agreed there needs to be more education about firearms and #suicideprevention. “It’s a difficult conversation in many states because it gets confused with gun control,” Brimner said, but those conversations could save a life.

David Blehm (Submitted photo)

David Blehm (Submitted photo)

Media campaigns can help bring awareness, Heitkamp said. She mentioned outreach efforts at grain elevators, churches and other places where #men in rural America go.

North Dakota State University Extension Service partnered with Lutheran Social Services to make an educational handout for farmers and ranchers. The wallet-sized card is called “bootstraps,” and it features a pair of worn boots with information about depression, the people it affects and what to do to get help.

“We’ve actually used that bootstraps mentality as a way to reach people,” said Sean Brotherson, an extension family science specialist at NDSU.

Research shows working in agriculture is one of the most stressful occupations. Uncontrollable factors can decide the success of a farmer or rancher, and that’s compounded by exhausting work, long hours, financial stresses and isolation, Brotherson said.

Farmers are raised in a culture of dealing with issues privately and minimizing the severity of health concerns, Brotherson said. But he has been encouraged recently as more people are recognizing that #mentalhealth concerns are common and that they are treatable if a person seeks help.

‘#Man Therapy’

“Did you know that men have feelings, too?” a mustachioed #man asks while sitting in an office that looks like a cross between an attorney’s office and a #man cave. “And no, not just the hippies. All of us! Hello, I’m Dr. Rich Mahogany. Welcome to #Man Therapy.”

The fictional doctor is the star of mantherapy.org, a website created by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment with the aim of helping #men address #mentalillness. The website has statistics, testimonials, tools to assess #mentalhealth and a little bit of edgy humor.

“What the initial research showed is that there was a need for a different type of messaging that was more engaging with #men, and it was scrubbed of some of that sterile, traditional #mentalhealth jargon,” said Sarah Brummett, Colorado’s #suicideprevention director. “It needed to resonate with #men a little bit differently.”

Man Therapy is a website created by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment with the aim of helping men address mental illness. Special to The Forum

#Man Therapy is a website created by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment with the aim of helping men address mental illness. Special to The Forum

Men now have an anonymous place to seek information, and the website shows “manly men” who have struggled with #mentalhealth. “It highlights that having a #mentalhealth challenge doesn’t mean you’re less of a #man,” she said.

The website has had almost a million visitors since its launch in 2012, Brummett said. Man Therapy could reach more people if there was more funding to promote it, but it has received great feedback, she said.

Colorado’s overall #suicide rate in 2017, the latest year available, was roughly the same as it was in 2012 — about 20 #suicides per 100,000 people. While the number hasn’t gone up, officials there say a collaborative effort is needed to drive the rate down.

Man Therapy is a fantastic program, Traynor said. But North Dakota’s data shows #suicide doesn’t discriminate, she said.

North Dakota’s #suicide prevention program was moved from the state Department of Health to the Behavioral Health Division in July, meaning staff are building “a lot of things from the ground up,” Traynor said. The state is starting to create the foundation for intervention services, she added.

“With our limited resources, what we’re trying to do is address factors that really impact all populations,” she said. #Physicians at greater risk of #suicide

‘You did the best you can’

Just hours before Julie Blehm was interviewed for this story, she sat at a conference room table in Sanford Medical Center, hosting a seminar on provider #depression and #suicide with the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

She shared her husband’s story — his struggle with alcohol, the idea that he didn’t want to admit he couldn’t handle his problems by himself, the guilt and anger that came with his death and how she came to accept it all.

“I have to talk about him,” she said. “We can’t avoid this subject forever.”

With help from a psychologist and an #AmericanFoundationforSuicidePrevention support group, she was able to express her anger at her late husband, that she hated him when he drank — without judgment. She now serves as a board member for the AFSP North Dakota chapter.

Statistics show that physicians are at a greater risk of #suicide than the general public. Thanks to Julie Blehm and others, doctors now don’t have to report to the state licensing board that they are struggling with #mentalillness or substance abuse if they voluntarily seek help through the North Dakota Professional Health Program.

She said multiple factors likely played into her husband’s death, but maybe the reporting change would have saved him.

People who have lost someone to #suicide will likely feel a range of emotions, and they may wonder what they could have done differently to prevent it, Julie Blehm said.

Those people are not alone, she emphasized.

“A final thought is, for people who are survivors of someone who has killed themselves that they cared for and love, I think you did the best you can,” she said. “Remember, you tried. You did the best you were able to do at the time, and it is not your fault.”

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

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#JamesDonaldson on #MentalHealth – Key Facts About #Teen #Depression / #Suicide

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Almost 1 in 10 adolescents aged 12 to 17 had a major depressive episode in the last year.

In 2017, an estimated 2.3 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in the United States had at least one major depressive episode with severe impairment. This number represented 9.4% of the U.S. population aged 12 to 17. – National Institute of Mental Health, 2017 data

The number of young people who ended up at the hospital for #suicide attempts or ideation more than doubled from 2008 to 2015, with more than 115,000 teens being effected.

Recently published data show that the numbers of hospital encounters and admissions for #suicide attempts and #suicideideation in young persons more than doubled during the period 2008 to 2015.”

A 2019 study found that the rate of young people with #mentalhealth problems has more than doubled in the last decade.

“A study published this month in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology finds that over the past decade the number of youth with #mentalhealth disorders has more than doubled … Survey responses from more than 200,000 youth ages 12 to 17 between 2005 to 2017 and approximately 400,000 adults between 2008 to 2017 were reviewed, and what researchers discovered was alarming. For youth, major #depression increased 52 percent from 2005 to 2017 – from 8.7 percent to 13.2 percent, and it rose 63 percent in young adults ages 18 to 25 from 2009 (8.1 percent) to 2017 (13.2 percent).” – National Institute of Mental Health, 2017 data

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Nationally, 60% of adolescents who had a major depressive episode did not receive treatment.

“Approximately 60.1% of adolescents with major depressive episode did not receive treatment.” – National Institute of Mental Health, 2017 data

More #teens (70%) view #anxiety and #depression as a major problem among their peers than bullying, drug addiction, alcohol, poverty, teen pregnancy or gangs.

“Concern about #mentalhealth cuts across gender, racial and socio-economic lines, with roughly equal shares of #teens across demographic groups saying it is a significant issue in their community.” – Pew Research Center: Social Trends (2018 data)

The rate of death by #suicide for #teenagers (15-19) is at the highest level since 2000 – JAMA 2017 data.

#Teen #mentalhealth, #depression and #suicide in North Carolina

#Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for #teens in NC, behind only motor vehicle crashes.

In NC, 44 children aged 10 to 17 died by #suicide in 2017.

NC has the worst rate of any state for providing #children who have behavioral health diagnoses with #mentalhealthcare: Nearly 3 in 4 were unable to meet with a licensed provider in the last year.

“The release of the report cards, and focus on #suicide as a worrying trend, comes on the heels of a national study published in JAMA Pediatrics this month that found North Carolina has the poorest record in the country in providing #mentalhealthservices to children with behavioral health diagnoses. That study found most (72 percent) of North Carolina #children diagnosed with a behavioral health condition were unable to meet with a licensed #mentalhealthprovider within the last year.”

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#JamesDonaldsononMentalHealth – Emergency Rooms See Surge Of #Teenagers Seeking Psychiatric Care


BY PHILLIP REESE
Young man holds his face in his hand, sitting in the dark.
khn-logo1-100

Less than a decade ago, the emergency department at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, California, would see maybe one or two young people per day, says Benjamin Maxwell, the hospital’s interim director of child and adolescent psychiatry.

Now it’s not unusual for the emergency room to see 10 adolescents and young adults in a day, and sometimes even 20, Maxwell says. “What a lot of times is happening now is kids aren’t getting the care they need, until it gets to the point where it is dangerous,” he says.

ERs throughout California are reporting a sharp increase in adolescents and young adults seeking care for a #mentalhealth crisis. In 2018, California ERs treated 84,584 individuals ages 13 to 21 who had a primary diagnosis involving #mentalhealth. That is up from 59,705 in 2012, a 42 percent increase, according to data provided by the California of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

By comparison, the number of ER encounters among that age group for all other diagnoses grew by just 4 percent during the same period. And the number of ER encounters involving #mentalhealth among all other age groups — everyone except adolescents and young adults — rose by about 18 percent.

The spike in youth #mentalhealth visits corresponds with a recent survey that found that members of ‘Generation Z’ — defined in the survey as people born since 1997 — are more likely than other generations to report their #mentalhealth as fair or poor. The 2018 polling, done on behalf of the American Psychological Association, also found that members of Generation Z, along with millennials, are more likely to report receiving treatment for #mentalhealthissues.

The trend corresponds with another alarming development as well: a marked increase in suicides among #teenagers and young adults. About 7.5 of every 100,000 young people aged 13 to 21 in California died by #suicide in 2017, up from a rate of 4.9 per 100,000 in 2008, according to the latest figures from the U.S. #CentersforDiseaseControandPrevention.Nationwide, suicides in that age range rose from 7.2 to 11.3 per 100,000 from 2008 to 2017.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Disconnected and bullied:

Researchers are studying the causes of the surging reports of mental distress among America’s young people. Many recent theories note that the trend parallels the rise of #socialmedia, an ever-present window on peer activities that can exacerbate adolescent insecurities and open new avenues for bullying.

“Even though this generation has been raised with #socialmedia, youth are feeling more disconnected, judged, bullied and pressured from their peers,” says Susan Coats, a school psychologist at Baldwin Park Unified School District near Los Angeles.

“#Socialmedia: It’s a blessing and it’s a curse,” Coats says. “#Socialmedia has brought youth together in a forum where maybe they may have felt isolated before, but it also has undermined interpersonal relationships.”

Members of Generation Z also report significant levels of #stress about personal debt, housing instability and hunger, as well as #massshootings and climate change, according to the American Psychological Association survey.

Resources to prevent #mentalhealth crises among youth are often lacking.

“We’re not doing a great job with … catching things before they devolve into broader problems, and we’re not doing a good job with prevention,” says Lishaun Francis, associate director of health collaborations at Children Now, an Oakland, California-based nonprofit.

Struggling to keep up:

Many California school districts don’t have enough school psychologists and don’t devote enough resources to teaching students how to cope with #depression, #anxiety and other #mentalhealthissues, says Coats, who chairs the mental health and crisis consultation committee of the California Association of School Psychologists.

In the broader community, medical providers also are struggling to keep up. “Many times there aren’t psychiatric beds available for kids in our community,” Maxwell says.

Most of the adolescents who come into the emergency room at Rady Children’s Hospital during a #mentalhealth crisis are considering #suicide, have attempted #suicide or have harmed themselves, says Maxwell, who is also the hospital’s medical director of inpatient psychiatry.

These individuals are triaged and quickly seen by a social worker. Often, a behavioral health assistant is assigned to sit with the young people throughout their stay.

“Suicidal patients — we don’t want them to be alone at all in a busy emergency department,” Maxwell says. “So that’s a major staffing increase.”

Rady Children’s Hospital plans to open a six-bed, 24-hour psychiatric emergency department in 2020. Improving emergency care will help, Maxwell says, but a better solution would be to intervene with young people before they need an ER.

“The ED surge probably represents a failure of the system at large,” Maxwell says. “They’re ending up in the emergency department because they’re not getting the care they need, when they need it.”

This story originally appeared on Kaiser Health News. It has been slightly modified to reflect Spectrum‘s style.

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#JamesDonaldsononMentalHealth – Me And My #MentalHealth: ‘I Felt Suicidal After I Had My #Baby’

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Lizzie Dudeney, 40, says the #stigma needs to be removed from #post-natal #depression

By Claudia Tanner

As part of a new series called Me and my mental health, i is sharing people’s stories about how their personal struggles have impacted their lives.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Lizzie Dudeney, 40, from Brighton, talks to Claudia Tanner about her battle with postnatal depression after the birth of her daughter, Kira, now eight. She is now studying a PhD on maternal #suicide, a leading cause of death for new mothers, in a bid to help others who are going through what she experienced.

Being pregnant is a magical time. I was so excited and passionate about this new life growing inside of me.

But once that baby is in your arms, it can be a real complex mix of emotions.

Here was this bundle of joy I felt so much love for and would do anything to protect from harm.

The PhD student was overjoyed when she fell pregnant (Photo: Lizzie Dudeney)

But I wasn’t prepared for the huge waves of #anxiety, fear and sense of responsibility that would overwhelm me in the following months.

It really kicked in about two months after my daughter was born. When I got the chance to sleep I struggled to, I’d wake up in a sweat from having nightmares. I had panic attacks, which were worse when I went outside with the two of us. I became withdrawn from friends and family.

Pressure to be ‘perfect’

I realise now that a lot of my worries were rooted in me feeling enormous pressure to be the “perfect mother” who could take motherhood in my stride. Anything less meant that I was failing in my role.

I’d struggled with breastfeeding from the onset. I had to express all the time. I felt I was letting my daughter down not being able to give my baby skin-to-skin contact while feeding.

One time I got panicky on a bus and had to get off. I was worried my daughter would start crying and people would get annoyed and judge me for being incapable of looking after my child. I’d get worked up about the bus being stuck in traffic or it becoming too crowded, making it even harder for me to get off if I needed to. The fear of this would create anxiety before I’d even got on the bus.

Lizzie says having a baby can bring complex emotions (Photo: Lizzie Dudeney)

‘I was stuck in a pattern of negative thinking which was very difficult to break’

Lizzie Dudeney

At my lowest I suffered from #suicidal thoughts. It’s a very complex thing to look at your child and know you adore them and want to be there for them, but to also feel so hopeless and worthless as a mother that you feel they’d be better off without you.

It all felt like a vicious circle. I was stuck in a pattern of negative thinking which was very difficult to break.

I felt isolated because none of my close friends at the time had babies so I felt I had no-one to talk to about it who would understand. I didn’t want to let on to people that I was struggling to cope. So I just tried to keep up a façade, but on the inside, I felt very lonely.

Luckily my husband, who was a great support anyway doing his part with the baby, noticed I was struggling and encouraged me to open up. I had counselling – privately as I felt the waiting time on the NHS would do me no good.

Breaking the #stigma

It’s common to feel a bit down, tearful or anxious soon after giving birth, what’s known as “the baby blues”. But if it lasts beyond a few weeks, it could be #postnatal #depression, which affects one in 10 women within a year of giving birth.

A woman has to cope with so much, both physically – including hormonal changes – and emotionally. Of course it can also affect fathers.

I pulled through it and I was one of the lucky ones. #Suicide is the leading cause of death for #women during the first year after pregnancy. Of the #women who die between six weeks and one year post pregnancy, one in seven have taken their own life.

The #stigma around talking about struggling mentally and having suicidal thoughts for new #mothers is a huge barrier to receiving treatment and support. We need to change that and talk about it more.

I had fears Social Services would take away by baby if I spoke out. But it’s really okay to not be okay. Women should know there’s no shame in it.

Signs of #postnatal #depression

Postnatal #depression can start any time in the first year after giving birth. Signs include:

  • A persistent feeling of sadness and low mood
  • Lack of enjoyment and loss of interest in the wider world
  • Lack of energy and feeling tired all the time
  • Trouble sleeping at night and feeling sleepy during the day
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Withdrawing from contact with other people
  • Problems concentrating and making decisions
  • Frightening thoughts – for example, about hurting your #baby

Many women do not realise they have postnatal #depression, because it can develop gradually.

Better support needed

It’s estimated that half of perinatal #mentalhealth problems are not identified in the UK, despite regular routine contact with healthcare services. This has to change.

I feel that current screening mechanisms for assessing the #mentalhealth of new mothers don’t adequately pick up on those feeling suicidal. Too many new mothers are falling through the cracks.

This month I began a PhD placement at the Centre for Maternal and Child Health Research, City, University of London, where I will be carrying out potentially life-saving research into perinatal #suicide risk and prevention.

I aim to identify the most effective method of assessing suicidal thoughts and risk in perinatal women so they can get the right help quicker. I intend to get new mothers and health practioners involved as it has to be appropriate to women’s needs and practical.

No new mother should suffer in silence. With the right support, most women make a full recovery.

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#JamesDonaldsononMentalHealth – Digging Deeper: Sexuality And #Suicide Within The #LGBTQ Community

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Black River Falls (WQOW) – People who identify as #LGBTQ are nearly three times more likely to develop a #mentalhealth disorder such as #depression or #anxiety.  That’s according to the #NationalAllianceonMentalIllness.  It’s a reality a teen from Black River Falls is living; struggling with his sexuality, which led to suicidal thoughts.

“Some things that were said to me was f**, queer, that I should just die, that I don’t belong here,” said Eric Wojtalewicz.

Eric Wojtalewicz came out as gay two years ago, and he says many of his classmates were not supportive.

“I would try to change my whole personality and try to fit in the best I could, but I would have to change my whole self, and it put me through a lot of #stress and #anxiety,” said Wojtalewicz.

Now 18 years old, Wojtalewicz says he’s in a much better mindset.

But for years, he believed the bullies.

“I went through a period where I wouldn’t eat,” said Wojtalewicz. “I was just hoping from me not eating, I would just die and fall over or one day, I would pray, I would pray to just not wake up from my sleep.”

His pain is not unique.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

A 2017 Wisconsin Department of Instruction survey found 41 percent of high school students who identified as #LGBTQ, admitted to having #suicidal thoughts.

“There’s no shame in seeking services and there’s no shame in asking for help,” said Morrigan Villa, an #LGBTQ advocate with Bolton Refuge House.

Bolton Refuge House in Eau Claire provides services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, but they also address the needs of the #LGBTQ community including weekly support groups.

“Having support and feeling as though you’re being supported in everything that you’re going through in your life and having your traumas heard is an incredibly valuable experience,” Villa said.

According to UW-Health, #LGBTQ youth between the ages of 10 and 24 are four times more likely to attempt #suicide than their straight or cisgender peers, who are people who identify with the gender they were born with.

Through counseling, Wojtalewicz found his own ways to cope by hiking and journaling.

“I like to write down all the bad things that happened that day and then rip it up or shred it or burn it just to say hey, tomorrow’s going to be a new day,” said Wojtalewicz.

If you’re thinking about taking your own life, Wojtalewicz says look to the future.

“I think about going to college and doing stuff like this. It might be hard right now, but once you go across that bridge or over that hill, it gets a lot better,” said Wojtalewicz.

After graduating high school, Wojtalewicz plans on attending UW-Green Bay-Marinette in the fall, majoring in pre-med and psychology to become a psychologist.

Patricia Stein, the executive director of Bolton Refuge House, provided News 18 the following statement to go along with this story:

“Bolton Refuge House is here to assist individuals who are victims of intimate partner violence not only within the Eau Claire, Jackson, and Buffalo Counties, but also to assist individuals from surrounding counties such as Chippewa, Dunn, Clark, and Trempealeau.  Bolton Refuge House is sensitive to individuals and the desire that they may have to reach out to service providers not within their own community.  Bolton Refuge House staff is ready to address the needs of the #LGBTQ+ population in a sensitive and trauma-informed care way.  Bolton Refuge House has staff available 24 hours a day, and a behavioral health counselor on staff.  All services are confidential and at no cost to participants.”

Resources relating to #suicide and/or #LGBTQ needs in the Chippewa Valley:

National Resources:

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#JamesDonaldsononMentalHealth – #Men Have A #Suicide Rate 3 Times Higher Than #Women. What’s Causing It?

BY MEGHAN COLLIE

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It’s no secret that #men are struggling with their #mentalhealth, within Canada and around the world.

International Men’s Day, which occurs annually on Nov. 19, aims to shed light on the #mentalhealth problems faced by #men by encouraging conversation and offer possible solutions.

According to the agency, men have a #suicide rate that is three times higher than #women.

READ MORE: 28 per cent of men believe they could lose their job if they discuss mental health at work: study

These rates skyrocket for Canadian Indigenous men. The #suicide rate for Indigenous #men ages 15 to 24 is 126 per 100,000, compared to 24 per 100,000 non-Indigenous #men.

Overall, #men are likely to die an average of four to five years before #women.

“#Men die by #suicide more than any other group, and these realities must be addressed,” Fardous Hosseiny told Global News. He’s the interim national chief executive officer of the Canadian #MentalHealth Association (CMHA).6:25 The importance of #mentalhealth and wellness of babies and young kids The importance of #mentalhealth and wellness of babies and young kids

“Instead of talking about #stress or trying to seek help for their #depression, men will often mask their #stress and deal with their #depression through harmful behaviours and actions.”

There are four main risk factors that contribute to men’s #mentalhealth: alcohol and drug abuse, social isolation, a tendency to choose more lethal methods of #suicide and reluctancy to seek help.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Reluctancy to seek help

In Hosseiny’s view, it’s too simplistic to say that #women are more willing to share their problems, while #men tend to “bottle them up.”

“But it is true that, for generations, many societies have encouraged #men to be ‘strong’ and not admit they’re struggling,” he said.

“We condition #boys from a very young age to not express emotion, because to express emotion is to be ‘weak.’”TWEET THIS

When boys grow older, their understanding of what it means to be a “man” is intimately intertwined with notions of stoicism and extreme endurance.

“The slightest show of vulnerability is seen as a blemish on their manhood,” said Hosseiny.

“The tragedy inherent in the socialization is that, behind every ‘whiner,’ ‘wimp’ or ‘wuss’ lies a conditioned reluctance to face #stress and possible #depression and #suicide.”

READ MORE: Men struggle to keep friends — and it’s hurting their #mentalhealth

This, in part, could be caused by how parents condition their children to respond in times of #stress, #anxiety or sadness.

“There are differences in how we talk to our children and how we encourage them to communicate about themselves,” he said.

“Mothers talk way more to their girl children than their boy children, and they share and identify feelings more.”

#Boys and #men are treated differently when they ask for help

Part of the reason #men continue to die by #suicide in such large numbers could also be that they are treated differently than #women when they ask for help.

New research by the Movember Foundation found that #men still struggle to talk about #mentalhealth in the workplace for fear of losing their job.

Researchers at Ipsos MORI surveyed 1,000 Canadian men between the ages of 18 and 75, and found similar results. Lack of friendships impacts men’s #mentalhealth — here’s how to deal with it Lack of friendships impacts #men’s #mentalhealth — here’s how to deal with it

Twenty-eight per cent of Canadian #men said they believed their job could be at risk if they discuss #mentalhealthissues at work, and more than 33 per cent of #men worry they could be overlooked for a promotion if they mention a problem.

As well, 42 per cent of #men surveyed said they are also worried about colleagues making negative comments behind their backs.

“Traditionally, a man’s role has been centered around employment and being productive and having work as a core source of their life and purpose,” Dr. Ashley Bender previously told Global News. She’s an occupational psychiatrist and professor at the University of Toronto.

READ MORE: Suicide rates among Canadian women are rising faster than men. It’s unclear why

If a #man comes forward with #mentalhealth concerns and his job is threatened, it can leave him feeling isolated and like he’s lost part of himself.

This can contribute to higher rates of #anxiety and #depression, as well as #suicide. According to Bender, workplaces need to concretely commit to change in the way it supports people with #mentalhealth concerns — and then make sure those changes happen.

“Attempts to change attitudes by creating awareness but then providing inadequate resources (like low coverage for psychological treatments) says, ‘We’re acknowledging that we have a problem, but we don’t care,’” she said. “That drives people into silence, because what’s the point?”

Ways to prevent #suicide

In trying to lower #suicide rates for #men, Hosseiny says there needs to be a total shift in the cultural paradigm that “addresses the issue of masculinity in our culture.”

“Our society needs to take collective responsibility in redefining what it means to be a man,” he said.“It’s OK to reach out for help, it’s OK to say [you’re] struggling. Reaching out and seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.”1:105 ways cancer can impact #mentalhealth 5 ways cancer can impact #mentalhealth

In the meantime, a wider variety of ways to access help and support need to become available. For example, leveraging technology might be a way to help men who want to remain anonymous.

“Not everyone may want to unburden themselves to another person, even over a helpline. Online approaches for most men work much better,” Hosseiny said.

“We need to give them a mechanism to find out answers on their own before they’re ready to seek help.”

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.

The Canadian Association for #SuicidePrevention#Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from #mentalhealth issues.

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#JamesDonaldsononMentalHealth – #Suicide Attempts Rise Among #Black #Teens, But Researcher Says Data On Solutions Is Missing

The rate of black teens making suicide attempts has risen 73% since 1991, according to the study, as the rates for other groups fell or followed no discernible pattern. (Michael Mathes/AFP/Getty Images)
The rate of black teens making suicide attempts has risen 73% since 1991, according to the study, as the rates for other groups fell or followed no discernible pattern

#Suicide attempts among #black #children and teenagers have increased by 73% since 1991, according to data published in the Journal of Pediatrics this month.

#Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for #teenagers in the U.S., but over the period studied, #suicide attempts decreased among #teens in every ethnic group except for #AfricanAmericans. Self-reported #suicide attempts among #white teenagers fell by 7.5% between 1991 and 2017, the study found.

The data is based on the responses of 200,000 American high school students in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

“This group always reported much higher rates of #suicide attempts than any other group except for Native American Alaskan Indians since 1991,” says Sean Joe, a professor of social work at Washington University in St. Louis and one of the study’s authors. “So now we’re seeing a stronger, significant increase not only for #males but also for #black #females.”

The rise in #suicide attempts among #black adolescents is marked by higher levels of hopelessness, increased #stigma around #mentalhealthissues and lack of access to #mentalhealth care, Joe says.

“There is potentially more increased trauma in this population that’s not dealt with [and a] greater level of hopelessness … for this population that we have never seen before,” he says. “So these are things we must really take a look at.”

Black #teen girls often have stronger social networks to connect with than #black #boys, he adds. The increase in self-reported #suicide attempts among #black #teen #girls could suggest they’ve lost those support systems, Joe says.

“For instance, our #black young #girls [are] less likely now to be engaged in the #black church when before they really were avid churchgoers and participation in organized religious activities,” he says. “The other thing we have to look at is whether or not there’s increasing in any notions of bullying among young #black #girls.”

#JamesDonaldsononMentalHealth – 

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Michael A. Lindsey, Ph.D., lead researcher on the study and executive director of the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at New York University, told CBS News that #socialmedia can also negatively impact #girls more than #boys.

“Research shows that girls exhibit more interpersonal stress from #socialmedia usage and cyberbullying,” Lindsey says.

When people are suffering from a #mentalhealthissue, there are usually warning signs to look out for, Joe says. Kids will stop engaging in activities they usually enjoy, isolate themselves and maybe exhibit disordered eating. Joe says it’s also important to listen closely to their words.

“They start making statements akin to ‘I don’t feel like I want to be here. It might be too much for me to be here. I might be a burden to you,’ ” he says. “We want to listen to these sort of statements very carefully and realize that our young people are trying to signal that they are not okay.”

When kids under 12 years old try to commit #suicide, the most common method is asphyxiation, Joe says. Older than 12, they usually try to use a firearm.

“We have to ask, ‘How are these young #black #males having access to these firearms that results in death when they have a very impulsive, suicidal thought or are experiencing a #suicidal crisis?’ ” Joe says. “In states where you have more restrictive access to firearms with greater provisions to understand people’s #mentalhealth, understand their risk to themselves and others, in those states, you see a 20% to 33% difference in the rates of #suicide than in states where you do not.”

The challenge for researchers, Joe says, is that there have not been any significant studies of the impact of cognitive behavioral therapy or other ##mentalhealth measures on #black populations.

“We are at a loss to say what really works, but at best, we know that it’s important to screen for suicidal behavior. We know it’s important to try to engage our #black #children in #mentalhealthservices,” he says.

“But do we have definitive evidence? We do not,” Joe says. “And again, I’ve been doing this for well over 15 years, and we have not seen significant investments in any study that really focus on these populations, despite the rise over time in #suicide among this group.”

Even though there’s a lack of research, Joe says he’s hopeful that there are opportunities to step in and give teens hope, so they don’t try to commit #suicide.

“We know that for those who we do get help — or even talk therapy in combination with pharmaceutical treatment — we know that life does get better,” he says. “And these suicidal moments usually last about 10 minutes, so there’s opportunities for us to intervene. We do think you can make a difference.”

If you or someone you know may be considering #suicide, contact the NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting 741741.

Photo by Peace Alberto Iteriteka on Pexels.com
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