• Minnesota

    Suicide Researchers Gather to Talk Veterans, Bullying, Adolescents, Prevention

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Physicians, researchers, psychologists, social workers and educators are gathering April 18-21 at the American Association of Suicidology Conference in Baltimore to discuss and present the latest in suicide prevention and research on topics such as post-traumatic stress disorder, college and youth mental health and bullying.

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"This meeting is a gathering of some of the great minds in the fields of suicide prevention, clinical practice, postvention and research," says Timothy Lineberry, M.D., Board Chair, American Association of Suicidology and a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist who specializes in suicide prevention. "Suicide is a significant public health problem in the United States and there are treatments and interventions that can make a difference."

Every 15 minutes, someone dies by suicide in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For every person who dies, many more think about, plan or attempt suicide. In 2008, a total of 36,035 people died as a result of suicide, and about 666,000 visited hospital emergency departments for nonfatal, self-inflicted injuries, the CDC found in a recent nationwide study.

The conference will include presenters from national organizations such as the United States Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs Medical Centers, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Institutes of Health. New research and presentations also will stem from a gamut of medical institutions including Johns Hopkins University, the University of Washington and Mayo Clinic. U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, M.D., also is slated to attend and give a presentation on suicide prevention Thursday, April 19.

New research of note (for a complete conference agenda with all new research posters and presentations, or to request a copy of a study, Email Amy Kulp at ajkulp@suicidology.org):

Thursday, April 19

  • "Co-occurring mental disorders and risk of suicide in a national cohort of male veterans." Analyzing a group of nearly 3 million Veterans Health Administration patients, researchers explore whether having one or more mental health disorders boosts suicide risk. (1:30-3 p.m. ET)
  • "Warning signs for suicide within a week of health care contact in veteran decedents." (1:30-3 p.m. ET)
  • "Using an avatar-based simulation to train families to motivate veterans with post-deployment stress to seek help at the VA. (1:30-3 p.m. ET)
  • "Risk for suicide among sexual minority US veterans." Results suggest that sexual minority veterans may be at increased risk for suicidal ideation and that this disparity may be partially explained by unavailability of social/emotional support. (3:30-5 p.m. ET)

Friday, April 20

  • "Risk factors for suicide in college students: A proposed model." The study was designed to assess relations among alcohol use, alcohol-related problems, negative-life events, depressive symptoms, and suicide proneness in a cross-sectional sample of 475 undergraduate college students. Implications are offered for the improved identification and treatment of young adults at risk for suicidal and health diminishing behaviors. (1:30-3 p.m. ET)
  • "The association between PTSD symptom clusters and suicide related behavior among individuals with and without a history of traumatic brain injury." This is the first study to explore the association between the presence of post-traumatic stress disorder symptom clusters and suicide attempts among veterans with PTSD and/or traumatic brain injuries. (3:30-5 p.m. ET)

Saturday, April 21

  • "Acutely suicidal adolescent bullies and non-bullies: One year trajectories." Out of a group of 433 suicidal adolescents, 12.5 percent of them met criteria for severe bullying behavior. (3:30-5 p.m. ET)
  • "Impact of adolescent suicide attempts on mothers: Implications for practice." This study examines the reactions of mothers of hospitalized adolescents that have made recent suicide attempts and mothers of adolescents who were hospitalized for other reasons. (3:30-5 p.m. ET)

All research is embargoed until time of presentation. Reporters are welcome to attend the conference (location), but please RSVP if planning to do so. To request an interview with a researcher from afar contact Nick Hanson at hanson.nicholas@mayo.edu or 651-235-2265.

Media Contact: Nick Hanson, 507-284-5005 (days), newsbureau@mayo.edu