Archive for the ‘Suicide Risk’ Category

Study Finds Link Between Nighttime Wakefulness and Suicide

Clock on bedside table near blurred man on bed at night.

Researchers say being up late at night may be linked to dangerous behavior

It’s well-known that better sleep has numerous health benefits, while disrupted sleep can cause or exacerbate many medical issues. However, many people may not be aware of the link between disturbed sleep and suicide.

But that link is quite strong, according to researchers at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, who studied the times at which suicides and homicides occur. The result: while the most overall suicides happen in the middle of the day, when adjusted for the number of people who are awake at the time, the risk of suicide is five times greater between 2 AM and 3 AM.

The researchers’ “mind after midnight” hypothesis

The study, published last month, reviewed data from more than 78,000 suicides and 50,000 homicides in 35 states between 2003 and 2017. Suicide and homicide likely have more in common than is currently known; this study found another common feature: increased risk due to nocturnal wakefulness.

According to the study authors, being awake late at night has dangerous effects on the brain. Complex decision-making and rational thinking are weakened, risk/reward processing is distorted, and all this occurs while negative mood is at its peak.

The study found that these risks were exacerbated by other factors that impair decision-making and rational thinking, such as intoxication with alcohol. And the risk was highest among people age 15-24, who already have less ability to make complex decisions and think rationally compared to older adults.

A previous study, published in 2016 in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, found a similar connection between being awake at night and suicide risk. The authors of that study suggested that disturbed sleep and circadian neurobiology may have an effect on suicidality.

Understanding the link between sleep and suicide is critical for suicide prevention

The good news hidden in these study results is that insomnia can be managed and sleep disruptions can be mitigated. If we can help people who are at risk of suicide get better sleep, the data says that the risk of death by suicide will be at least somewhat reduced. Psychiatrists and other mental health providers should incorporate sleep assessments and appropriate interventions into their safety plans for patients who are at risk of suicide. They also need to follow up on patients’ complaints of disrupted sleep, treating them just as seriously as any other suicide risk factor.

Death by suicide occurs at times when decision-making, rational thinking, and impulse control are completely impaired. The popular myth that if a person wants to die by suicide, they eventually will, is just that: a myth. If appropriate interventions are made when a person is at the highest risk, the evidence says that they will most likely survive for the long term.

If you have lost a loved one to suicide completion, we can help

Another important component of suicide prevention is fighting for accountability for victims. The Law Offices of Skip Simpson stands up for families and holds negligent medical professionals accountable when they fail to protect patients at risk of dying by suicide. If you have lost a loved one to suicide completion, we would be honored to listen to your story in a free, confidential consultation. We’re based in Texas but serve families nationwide.

Survey Highlights Mental Health Challenges for LGBTQ+ Youth

A stethoscope alongside a Rainbow Pride flag, symbolizing healthcare and mental health support for the transgender and LGBTQ+ community.

Queer and transgender youth are facing an escalating mental health crisis, with many contemplating ending their lives. The Trevor Project’s 2024 U.S. National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ+ Young People highlights this urgent issue and sheds light on the challenges these young individuals face.

The 2024 survey is the sixth of its kind conducted by the Trevor Project, which gathered responses from over 18,000 LGBTQ+ individuals ages 13 to 24. This report reveals that LGBTQ+ youth are not only grappling with suicide risk, bullying, and discrimination but are also heavily impacted by anti-LGBTQ+ laws and face difficulties accessing mental health care.

What is the suicide risk for LGBTQ+ youth?

The survey’s findings are alarming: 39% of LGBTQ+ young people considered suicide in the past year, and 12% made an attempt. Transgender and non-binary youth are particularly vulnerable, with nearly half contemplating suicide and about 14% attempting it. The risk is even higher among transgender youth and LGBTQ+ youth of color. For example, 48% of Indigenous LGBTQ+ youth considered suicide.

Ronita Nath, vice president of research at the Trevor Project, made it clear that these youth are not inherently prone to higher suicide risk but are placed at risk due to societal stigma and discrimination. Threats of conversion therapy, discrimination, and physical harm exacerbate this risk.

What are the mental health challenges LGBTQ+ youth face?

In addition to the high suicide risk, LGBTQ+ youth experience elevated rates of depression and anxiety. According to the survey, 66% reported anxiety symptoms, and 53% reported depression symptoms in the past year. Among them, transgender youth and youth of color again showed higher rates.

A significant pressure point for LGBTQ+ youth is the surge in discriminatory legislation across the United States. This year is poised to break records for the most anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced, further worsening the mental health crisis for these young people. Stephen Russell, director of the School of Human Ecology at The University of Texas at Austin, notes that these laws are undoing decades of supportive work in schools.

The survey indicates that most LGBTQ+ young people feel their mental health is affected by anti-LGBTQ+ policies, with nearly two in five considering moving to a different state due to these politics. Among transgender and non-binary youth, 61% of those on gender-affirming hormones are concerned about losing access.

What can we do to support the LGBTQ+ community?

Community support plays a crucial role in the mental health of LGBTQ+ youth. However, only 40% reported that their home environment is supportive. The survey also revealed that 32% of LGBTQ+ youth were verbally harassed at school, 9% sexually harassed, and 4% physically attacked in the past year. Additionally, 60% felt discriminated against at least once in the past year due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Despite the high prevalence of mental health challenges, half of the LGBTQ+ youth who needed mental health care were unable to access it. Major barriers included:

  • Fear of discussing mental health.
  • Not wanting to seek parental permission.
  • Concerns about not being taken seriously.
  • Affordability.
  • Fear of being outed.
  • Worry about being misunderstood.

Despite these challenges, the survey also highlights ways to support LGBTQ+ youth. That includes supportive homes, schools, and communities. Nath points out that LGBTQ+ youth report lower rates of suicide attempts when they have access to supportive spaces. For example, the survey found that 78% of LGBTQ+ young people have at least one adult at school who supports their identity.

Supporting LGBTQ+ youth involves various actions, such as:

  • Educating oneself on LGBTQ+ issues.
  • Opposing politicians who advocate for discriminatory legislation.
  • Respecting gender expression and pronouns.
  • Welcoming their partners.
  • Showing support on social media.
  • Displaying pride flags.

Our law firm fights for justice and accountability

Supporting LGBTQ+ youth is not just about preventing suicide; it’s about affirming their right to live authentic, fulfilling lives. However, medical professionals who treat LGBTQ+ patients must be aware of the unique challenges such patients face and recommend appropriate medical interventions to prevent self-harm or suicide attempts.

The Law Offices of Skip Simpson is dedicated to holding negligent medical professionals accountable and demanding justice for grieving families. If you have lost a loved one to suicide completion, contact us for a free, confidential, and no-obligation consultation, either by phone or online. Our law firm is based in Texas, but we proudly serve families nationwide.

Study Reveals Alarming Suicide Rates Among Young Black Men

Young male sitting in a hallway, feeling depressed.

Young Black men often face systemic racism, socioeconomic disparities, and other challenges that impact their mental health. A recent study from the University of Georgia reveals that one in three rural Black men have experienced thoughts of suicide or death in the past two weeks. The study suggests that early-life adversity and racism are significant factors contributing to these feelings.

Suicide ranks as the second leading cause of death among African Americans aged 15 to 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate at which Black men die by suicide is notably higher than that of Black women, with men dying by suicide over four times as often. This issue appears to be under-discussed and is escalating.

According to Michael Curtis, a co-author of the study and an alumnus of UGA’s Human Development and Family Science Department, there seems to be a lack of focus on identifying which groups are most vulnerable to suicidal thoughts.

“Historically, research has not invested a lot of time and effort in looking into what are the unique cultural contexts that make certain men more at risk for suicidal thoughts than other men,” said Curtis.

How childhood adversity and racial discrimination impact the mental health of young Black men

According to the research, growing up in environments with limited resources and experiencing racial discrimination in early adulthood can hinder the development of healthy, trusting relationships. This lack of trust and caution in social interactions can lead to isolation, which may, in turn, trigger suicidal ideation.

The study tracked over 500 African American men from rural Georgia, from their late teens into their early 20s, over several years. At three different points during the study, these individuals were prompted to recount their childhood experiences and focus on economic struggles and traumatic events. The survey included questions about:

  • Physical or emotional abuse
  • Witnessing abuse within the family
  • Feeling cherished and valued
  • Having sufficient food
  • Access to medical care during their childhood

Participants in the study were also questioned about their perceptions and emotions regarding close relationships. That includes their trust in romantic partners and concerns about being exploited in relationships. They were asked how often they felt they had been treated unjustly due to their race in the past six months. Additionally, the researchers inquired about symptoms of depression and the frequency of suicidal thoughts or thoughts about death in the last two weeks.

The findings indicated that childhood experiences of trauma, deprivation, and racial discrimination significantly affected the mental health of the participants as they transitioned into adulthood.

Curtis explained, “We found when Black men were exposed to childhood adversity, they may develop an internal understanding of the world as somewhere they are devalued, where they could not trust others, and they could not engage the community in a supportive way.”

What challenges of adversity do young Black men face?

Young Black men, particularly those in rural areas, face greater challenges from childhood adversity. They are more likely to emerge from economically struggling families, live in under-resourced neighborhoods, and encounter trauma within their communities compared to their white counterparts.

Previous studies have documented that racial discrimination heightens the risk of depression, anxiety, and psychological distress among Black individuals across all age groups. While childhood neglect and trauma are predictors of suicidal ideation, the research also highlighted that racial discrimination alone significantly contributes to higher instances of suicidal thoughts.

Steve Kogan, the study’s lead author and a professor at UGA’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences, found that even those who had positive childhood experiences but faced racial discrimination in early adulthood struggled to form and sustain healthy relationships. This isolation often led to increased suicidal thoughts.

“For people who have suicidal thoughts, there’s this sense that no one knows me, nobody cares about me, there’s nobody there for me, I am alone,” said Kogan.

What is the role of healthy relationships in suicide prevention?

Healthy relationships are crucial for mental health and suicide prevention, according to researchers. These connections provide a vital support system for reaching out when overwhelming feelings arise. Parents also have a significant role in aiding their children through these challenges.

“More research is needed, but one finding is unequivocal: Loving yourself as a Black person is foundational,” said Kogan. “Teaching children and youth to be proud of being Black counters the potential for them to internalize negative messages about Blackness that pervade U.S. society.”

This study, conducted by Ava Reck, a doctoral student at UGA’s Human Development and Family Science program, and Assaf Oshri, an associate professor at the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, was published in the journal Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology.

Contact a suicide lawyer who advocates for justice

When families experience the devastating loss of a loved one due to a preventable suicide, they are often left searching for answers and accountability. The Law Offices of Skip Simpson is dedicated to supporting the families of young Black men. We hold accountable medical professionals who could have prevented a suicide but failed to do so.

If your family has suffered such a tragic loss, we encourage you to reach out to us. We offer a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case and explore your legal options. Based in Texas, we provide experienced and compassionate legal services to families across the entire United States. Contact us either by phone or online to learn how we can assist you during this difficult time.

Gun violence is an American public health crisis decades in the making

A black handgun on a table next to bullets

When someone has suicidal thoughts, an otherwise rational person can be overwhelmed, unable to think clearly, and irrationally end their life being unable to consider the consequences of their actions.

During these periods, it is absolutely vital to prevent that person from having the ability to take their own life, which is why gun control and gun safety can play a major role in suicide prevention.

The American Association of Suicidology was pleased to learn about newly elected President Joe Biden’s recently announced actions on tackling gun violence and for remembering to address suicides in that context.

Although the headlines tend to focus on gun violence that occurs during a criminal act, the majority of deaths caused by firearms in America are suicides. Furthermore, in America, just over half of all completed suicides in 2019 were caused by a firearm, which amounted to nearly 25,000 deaths.

“The Biden administration has announced a series of initiatives aimed at reducing the burden of gun violence in America,” said Michael Anestis, PhD, Co-Chair of AAS’s Firearms and Suicide Committee and Executive Director of the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center. “The American Association of Suicidology is grateful that, in doing so, the administration specifically mentioned firearm suicide.”

What are red flag laws?

One of the notable policies that President Biden outlined was having the Justice Department publish examples of so-called “red flag” laws that states would be able to pass.

A Red Flag law would allow for an individual to request a court order that would temporarily bar another person who has presented a danger to themselves or others from buying a gun.

For example, if someone has repeatedly expressed suicidal ideations, their brother, spouse or relative could file a request to make sure that person wouldn’t have access to a firearm that could potentially be used in a suicide attempt.

“Pursuing data-driven solutions like extreme risk protection orders is a meaningful first step and a sign that the Administration is willing to actively pursue data-driven life saving measures to prevent firearm suicide,” Anestis said.

Easy access to firearms poses a risk

It must be pointed out that firearm ownership does not create suicidal ideation or make a non-suicidal person more likely to consider suicide.

What firearms do is increase the risk of death by suicide as an estimated 85%-95% of all suicide attempts involving a firearm result in death. This is a much higher percentage than many other methods of attempting suicides.

For comparison, the most common method of attempting suicide is by intentionally overdosing, which has estimated to be deadly in 2-3% of attempts.

Although firearm ownership does not cause or increase suicidal ideation, firearm access does increase suicide risk among members of a home where a firearm is present, particularly if the firearms are unlocked and loaded in the home.

Responsible firearm ownership, which includes safely securing firearms in a gun safe or storing them outside the home, can go a long way toward lowering this risk.

The Law Offices of Skip Simpson has the experience and knowledge to investigate the circumstances of suicide and help families navigate what is an extraordinarily difficult time. We serve clients nationwide. If you have a loved one who has committed suicide via firearm, contact Skip Simpson today.

Identifying suicide risk in cancer patients

A doctor looks at x-rays on a tablet

A diagnosis of cancer is always going to be a traumatic experience in a person’s life regardless of circumstance as it heralds a long struggle to recover, a significant amount of pain in the future, and in some cases the possibility of death.

However, proper cancer treatment should not and cannot be limited to just treating the physical symptoms. Cancer can also cause significant damage to a person’s mental state, so it is just as important that cancer patients receive adequate care for their psyche.

Although suicidal ideation can affect anyone in nearly any circumstance, studies have shown that people who have been diagnosed with cancer have at least double the risk of dying by suicide as the average person, with the risk being the highest right after diagnosis. The level of risk increase varies based on the type of cancer diagnosed, with cancers affecting the head, neck, pancreas, and larynx being among those with the highest risk.

There is confusing data regarding exactly what it is about cancer that increase suicide ideation, given that the disease often creates a sense of hopelessness, depression, and in some cases a wish to hasten death.

However, the risk of suicide ideation is increased significantly if a patient felt their dignity and quality of life deteriorating. For example, a study on patients with stomach cancer showed that suicide risk increased significantly if their caner caused bowel distress. Similarly, patients who experience significant pain are at higher risk of suicide, which is a large reason a key component of cancer treatment should be pain management.

Similar to the treatment of depression

The treatment for suicidal ideations in cancer patients is very similar to the treatment of depression in the general population. Cancer patients need adequate psychological care and therapy that is sometimes supplemented by pharmaceuticals, though great care is required to ensure any mood-altering medications don’t interfere with cancer treatments.

Some level of psychotherapy is critical for a patient to adjust to the new challenges those diagnosed with cancer will face as well as to help them set new goals for the future and maintain a healthy outlook on life.

One of the major issues when it comes to dealing with suicidal ideation in cancer patients is that many health care providers do not believe they are adequately prepared to discuss suicide prevention and mental health, nor do they feel they have the ability to provide the appropriate care and resources to people experiencing suicidal ideation.

This study is quite alarming as it shows that many places are unable to provide the full breadth of treatment needed to ensure a patient’s well-being in the event of a cancer diagnosis.

Suicide and cancer are two of the top 10 causes of death among adults living in the United States, and people who are diagnosed with cancer are at a much higher risk of dying by suicide due to a variety of biological and psychological factors. As such, cancer patients must be able to receive quality mental health care in addition to treating the physical symptoms.

The Law Offices of Skip Simpson has the experience and knowledge to investigate the circumstances of suicide and help families navigate what is an extraordinarily difficult time. We serve clients nationwide, so if a loved one was diagnosed with cancer and died by suicide after receiving inadequate mental health care, contact attorney Skip Simpson today.

How the COVID-19 pandemic impacts youth mental health

COVID-19 mental health

Living through the COVID-19 pandemic these past 12 months has been stressful for just about everyone. The strain on mental health has been especially noticeable among pre-teens and teenagers. Studies have shown a significant surge in suicidal ideation in young people during several months of the pandemic, leading to concerns that the risk of suicide is rising in an already vulnerable population.

Even during the best of times, adolescence is a time when many mental health problems emerge as young brains develop and struggle with the challenges of growing up. Add in the strain of increased isolation from their friends, the loss of stress-relieving after-school activities, uncertainty about when they will be able to return to a regular classroom, and the fears that their world might never be the same again. This all has placed tremendous pressure on young people and their families.

Addressing youth mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

Some of the stories of youth suicides during the pandemic have been heartbreaking. In Texas, a 12-year-old boy died by suicide in April 2020 after being unable to cope with the isolation of remote schooling. In Connecticut, a 17-year-old football player and straight-A student died by suicide in February when depression overwhelmed him. In Las Vegas, a rash of student suicides prompted the school superintendent to decide to reopen schools. Now more than ever, it is vital for parents, teachers, and relatives to ensure that their loved ones receive the appropriate attention and treatment for mental health struggles.

No one knows for sure if adolescent suicides have increased this year because the data on suicides for the past 12 months has yet to be compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts are concerned about getting adolescents the help they need to weather the pandemic, however. They say parents must teach their children to use all of the proper safety precautions including masks and social distancing so that they can get some outdoor social interaction, even if it is something brief, such as walking through a park or going for a bike ride. Spending too much time indoors with no one to talk to can make a young person feel miserable and increase the risk of suicide.

When socializing with others isn’t possible, parents need to check in with their kids and not be afraid to have serious conversations that allow them to share their concerns and fears. Experts suggest asking questions about how they are coping with the pandemic and, if they seem depressed, asking them directly if they have considered suicide. No matter how they answer, resist the urge to just try and offer an immediate solution or tell them “don’t worry.” Adolescents need to feel that their problems are valid and aren’t something that can just be hand-waved away. It isn’t always easy to resist that urge to try and solve a child’s problem, but it will help build the trust that is vital for young adults.

Mental health professionals need to do their part

In some cases, young people may need more support than a parent can offer, whether that support comes from crisis lines, a therapist, or an inpatient mental health facility. It is crucial for parents to be able to rely on mental health services to give children the proper treatment as the consequences of inadequate care can be deadly.

Sometimes, despite a parent’s best efforts, a child may die by suicide. If the unthinkable should occur while a child is receiving care, an experienced attorney is necessary to ensure that the mental health services that parents rely on did everything in their power to prevent suicide. A lawyer will hold anyone who is found to be negligent in their duties accountable.

The Law Offices of Skip Simpson has the experience and knowledge to investigate the circumstances of suicide and advise families on how to proceed during an extraordinarily difficult time. We serve clients nationwide, so if you have suffered a tragedy and are worried that your child didn’t receive the proper care, contact attorney Skip Simpson today.

Premature hospital discharges contribute to suicide deaths

Premature Discharge in hospitals

Hospitals and other medical facilities have an obligation to ensure that patients are kept safe and given the best possible care. Sometimes patients get discharged too early, putting them in danger of not recovering or getting the full help that they need. This is especially true for patients who are at risk of suicide. Premature discharge often occurs due to financial reasons or uninformed medical staff.

First, it’s critical that competent medical staff conduct the proper screening to identify a suicide risk. This should be done first with screening instruments and follow-up questions by a trained clinician. A family member or significant other needs to be a part of the process. A family session should routinely be recommended. There needs to be sufficient evidence that the patient has improved—really improved. Suicide rates, usually within 7-14 days, are higher than rates of suicides that occur on the inpatient unit. Therefore, careful reassessment of suicide risk factors is mandatory prior to discharge…So what has changed so that the patient is ready for discharge?

If a suicide risk has been established, medical staff has a duty to intervene. The patient may not be ready for discharge. If the patient is safe for discharge Mental health specialists should make a patient’s family members and friends aware of the suicide risk and educate them on the warning signs of suicide and means restriction; a careful means restriction like a DEA agent would do determining where contraband may be hidden.

When should at-risk patients be discharged from the hospital?

The patient, a family member involved in the care, or significant others should receive clear and easy to follow instructions on how to access the treating physician or therapist regarding any concern. Family or significant others and the patient should be given information regarding how to access treating clinicians after office hours and any limitations on their availability. Emergency phone numbers that are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, such as psychiatric emergency services, and crisis lines should also be given. Remember the patient is being discharged into a zone of time when suicide risk is at its highest. Don’t take that time period lightly.

Before discharge, hospital staff should make sure the patient understands why staff speaking with collaterals are important. With the patient’s written permission, the patient’s family members or significant others should be alerted to the patient’s history of suicidal thinking and behaviors. No one should be put in the position of supporting a patient without knowing how critical things have been for the patient. This “heads-up” should also be given to subsequent care providers. Make a serious effort to assure that the clinicians with responsibility for treating the patient following discharge receive a copy of the patient’s discharge summary.

Learn more about your legal options. Talk to attorney Skip Simpson today.

Suicide deaths have gradually increased in the United States each year within the last decade. The problem has grown exponentially worse with the COVID-19 pandemic. Awareness of suicide ideation is critical in hospitals and communities. Medical professionals who fail to act when necessary should be held accountable. The Law Offices of Skip Simpson is committed to helping families get the answers and justice they deserve. We are also committed to taking action against negligent medical facilities and preventing further suicide deaths from occurring.

Dealing with the loss of a loved one from suicide can be a confusing time for anyone. Attorney Skip Simpson understands the challenges facing families. A nationally-recognized expert in inpatient suicide law and other suicide-related legal matters, attorney Simpson has worked with many families nationwide after the death of a loved one by suicide. Attorney Simpson can explain the legal options available to your family. Demand legal action today. Contact our law firm and schedule an appointment with an experienced and compassionate attorney.

The 8 most common myths about suicide debunked

Texas suicide lawyer

Suicide is an issue that isn’t discussed nearly as much as it should be in our culture. Myths often prevail over the facts, further leaving countless individuals at risk. The lack of understanding of suicide and the social stigma surrounding it acts as a barrier to progress. For this reason, there are far too many people who don’t get the help and support that they need. Addressing the myths surrounding suicide and presenting the facts is a good start to breaking down these barriers. Below, we discuss and debunk the eight most common myths about suicide.

Myth 1. Only people with mental health conditions are at risk of suicide.

False. We must acknowledge that there are people who suffer from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia who don’t have thoughts of suicide. Moreover, there are people who have thoughts of suicide after experiencing major life crises. These may include people who have lost loved ones, experienced abuse and trauma, lost their homes and jobs, have experienced serious criminal or legal matters, or are suffering from a debilitating or terminal illness.

Myth 2. Asking a depressed person if they’re considering suicide is risky.

False. Not to ask about suicide is risky. If you know someone who seems to be suffering from depression, high anxiety, or has experienced a  perceived major life crisis, it’s wise to discuss the subject of suicide with them. “Have you been thinking about suicide?”

Many people are afraid to talk about suicide because of the stigma surrounding it. By talking about the subject, you can help reduce the stigma and encourage someone who is at risk to open up about it. As a result, they may rethink their options and get the help that they need.

Myth 3. Suicidal individuals will always remain suicidal.

False. Suicide ideation is short term in a lot of people, especially for those who don’t suffer from a mental health condition but have experienced a significant crisis. Even those who suffer from reoccurring suicidal thoughts can recover with the right intervention and treatment. Many people who are suffering see suicide as a way to escape painful circumstances and emotions. Once they recover from these symptoms, they often recover from suicidal thoughts.

Myth 4. Suicide always comes without warning.

Mostly false. There have been many cases when someone has taken their own life and the people closest to them didn’t see it coming. When death by suicide occurs without warning, it’s usually because the person’s friends, family and colleagues didn’t recognize the signs, nor were they ever educated to do so. For the trained, it is rare for a suicide to come “out of the blue.”

Myth 5. Suicide is an act of selfishness.

False. An attempted suicide is caused by mental health conditions and/or circumstances beyond the control of the individual to handle alone.  They need help and hope from everyone including professionals. The best way to help is to listen, be nice, and refer the person to a professional health counselor.

Myth 6. Those who talk about suicide will never actually do it.

False. If someone is talking about suicide, then they are most likely thinking about it. That’s why you should always take any talk of suicide or death seriously, even if it seemingly comes across as a joke.

Myth 7. There is something psychologically wrong with people who die by suicide.

False. The assumption that there is something psychologically wrong with people who are at risk of suicide is what feeds the stigma. This is the reason why many individuals who are suffering never talk to anyone or seek help. We should never alienate someone who suffers from a mental illness or painful circumstance.

Myth 8. People who are suicidal will never seek help.

False. Studies have found that many people who have died by suicide tried to get help within six months before their death. When help is sought it is the aim of health care to make sure the help is competent help.

Contact a Texas suicide lawyer if you lost a loved one to suicide

If you lost a loved one due to suicide, it’s important that you speak to an experienced and compassionate attorney who will demand justice for you and your family. The Law Offices of Skip Simpson will not only help you pursue a claim, but we’ll also support you every step of the way. Our attorneys will also fight to hold negligent healthcare providers accountable and help prevent another tragedy from occurring.

Our law firm would be glad to sit down with you and go over your legal options. Contact us online or call us to find out how we can help you. Our legal consultations are free and confidential.

Hair loss drug can increase the risk of suicide, study finds

Texas suicide lawyer

Propecia (also known as finasteride) is a drug that is used to treat male pattern hair loss, particularly on the vertex and anterior areas of the mid-scalp. It’s also used to treat symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia. According to RxList, it belongs to a class of drugs known as 5-Alpha-Reductase Inhibitors.

Some of the side effects listed by RxList include breast lumps, pain, tenderness and discharge. It also lists sexual complications as common side effects. The site counterintuitively mentions the risk of depression, but researchers in a recent study have dug deeper into the psychological side effects linked to Propecia.

The link between Propecia and suicide

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston examined data from VigiBase (The World Health Organization’s global Case Safety Report database) pertaining to drug safety reports from more than 150 countries. They discovered that suicide ideation among men ages 45 and younger who used Propecia increased significantly since 2012. Approximately 356 reports of suicidality and nearly 3,000 reports of psychological side effects were reported. The same side effects were not reported among older Propecia users who were prescribed the drug to treat prostate issues. The study was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association on November 11, 2020.

Dr. Quoc-Dien Trinh is a senior researcher from the division of urologic surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. According to Trinh, there is currently no clear explanation as to why researchers are seeing an increase in suicide ideation among young male Propecia users. Researchers speculate that the link between the drug and suicide risks may be due to:

  • Biological factors that increase the risk of mental health issues and suicide when coupled with Propecia.
  • Media attention and heightened awareness of the drug’s psychological effects that have led to a rise in reports of adverse events.

Researchers find more potential links

Dr. Michael Irwig from the division of endocrinology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston links the psychological effects of Propecia in young men to sexual side effects. The reason for this may be a loss in sexual function in younger men, which can result in complications with dating and relationships.

“Sexual dysfunction in younger men can result in depression and, in a subset of these men, suicidal ideation,” said Irwig.

Abdulmaged Traish is a professor emeritus of urology at Boston University School of Medicine. He believes that Propecia adversely affects the central nervous system in young men, which leads to depression and the risk of suicide. Traish argues that since hair loss is a non-life-threatening condition, taking Propecia “comes with a high price.” For this reason, patients should be made fully aware of the potential psychological side effects before taking this drug. In addition, Traish believes that a warning should be labeled on the drug by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration highlighting the potential psychological risks. Currently, no such warning label exists on Propecia packages.

“Physicians should have a frank, open discussion with the patient about the potential adverse side effects of the drug,” said Traish. “If the patient still wants to take it, it’s OK, but at least tell him, honestly, this is what we know.”

Why screening is critical

Researchers haven’t yet concluded that there is a direct link between Propecia use in young men and suicide ideation. But studies such as this outline the importance of screening patients for suicide risks in medical facilities before prescribing certain medications. The Law Offices of Skip Simpson have listed dozens of medications that have been linked to suicidal thoughts and behaviors in patients. If a patient exhibits any signs of depression, anxiety, mental or emotional trauma, or suicidal behavior prior to treatment, medical professionals have a duty to act accordingly. If they fail to uphold their duty of care and a patient is harmed as a result, they should be held accountable.

The Law Offices of Skip Simpson have seen the devastating consequences of negligence in medical facilities. We have seen patients severely injured after attempting suicide and families mourn the loss of a loved one. That’s why we’re dedicated to helping victims and their families get the answers and justice they deserve. Our experienced and compassionate legal team serves clients all over the United States. There are no upfront costs for our legal consultations or services. We’ll sit down with you, discuss your matter and go over your legal options. Contact us online or call us to find out what we can do for you.

How do I know if I have a solid mental health malpractice case?

Texas suicide lawyer

Mental health can affect anyone, no matter how successful or happy someone may appear on the surface. There is a social stigma surrounding mental health that acts as a barrier to getting help. Nobody chooses to suffer from depression, PTSD, anxiety, or other forms of mental illness, yet some seem to believe it’s a choice to continue to suffer. Far too often, we have heard the phrase “just snap out of it” or “it’s all in your head.”

That type of stigma is toxic enough in our personal lives, but we shouldn’t expect to see it in medical settings. We should be able to trust doctors, therapists and other medical professionals to address the mental health of patients. Sometimes, they do. But too often, they fail to provide a proper standard of care for patients.

What is mental health malpractice?

Mental health malpractice is a legal term for negligent actions or omissions by medical professionals who are entrusted with the care of a mentally ill patient. In particular, mental health professionals have particular standards of care when treating a patient who is at risk of suicide. This standard of care is breached when medical professionals fail to:

  • Properly screen mental health of patients
  • Remove all physical means of suicide for inpatients (sharp objects and other dangerous items)
  • Provide the proper mental health care or referral to a therapist
  • Provide proper follow-up care and contact with at-risk patients

How can malpractice be established?

First, a lawyer needs to review the facts of the case. The lawyer will listen to information and read records to determine if the elements of malpractice are all there: duty, breach of duty, proximate cause and damages.

There must have been a doctor- or therapist-patient relationship for a duty to occur. Frequently, attorney Skip Simpson handles cases where a mental health facility has not protected a patient from an attempted or completed suicide; usually this is a psychiatric hospital but it can also be other types of facilities like rehabilitation facilities.

How can a suicide lawyer help me?

Medical professionals, mental health specialists, and hospitals owe a duty to patients to be competent and professional. They also have a duty to act appropriately when they are aware that a patient may be at risk of suicide. Any negligent actions or failure to act can result in serious injury or the loss of someone’s life.

Attorney Skip Simpson has seen the impact mental health negligence has had on patients and their loved ones. We have witnessed the amount of pain and suffering families go through all because of someone else’s failure to act accordingly. The medical professionals and mental health specialists who we trust to care for the mental health of patients must be held accountable when they fail to uphold their duty of care.

We are committed to helping mental health malpractice victims and their families get the justice they deserve. If you lost a loved one to suicide, we’ll launch a thorough investigation into the facility and professionals responsible for providing optimal treatment. We’ll also fight to help you recover any financial losses relating to your loved one’s death, as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, grief, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Our law firm is located in Texas and we serve clients across the United States. To schedule your free and confidential case evaluation, contact us online and our legal team will get back to you shortly.