Following last week’s post Are Old or New Media to Blame for Suicide, I had the following email from papyrus:
I’d be happy to have a discussion with you. Perhaps you could contact me. Many thanks
Ged is apparently a little more senior within the organisation than Chris.
There was nothing from Ged – no call, no email, NADA.
The post Left Hanging in Bridgend seems to have triggered Papyrus to make contact. Bridgend remains a mystery. Like finding the Marie Celeste – a ship drifting at sea with no-one on board.
There are a lot of comments after the post – some of which get quite vituperative and even I who have glanced through them prior to posting have lost track of what is exercising people.
It appears that Madeleine Moon the Member of Parliament for the area got the local papers to stop reporting on inquests in Bridgend just after there was a succession of inquests where antidepressants were mentioned – not by coroners, or GPs, but by relatives or police officers.
Of the suicides 13% were reported to be on antidepressants, 0% were reported not to be taking antidepressants and 87% remain unreported. See HERE.
Somewhat surprisingly in the aftermath, Madeleine Moon went on to be Parliament’s leader on suicide prevention. Bridgend got a large pharmaceutical facility (Biotec). No public enquiry was ever held.
Swansea University’s Department of Psychiatry were supposed to investigating the Bridgend deaths and I had the impression some account would be given of what happened, but I’ve never seen anything.
Maria Bradshaw from CASPER in New Zealand later reported that their research found that 87% of children who took their lives in New Zealand did so after having been prescribed antidepressants. This is a lay organization keeping track of things.
In the UK Louis Appleby and the National Suicide Prevention Programme is supposed to keep track but its never possible to work out from their reports the proportion of people who are taking meds at the point of death.
It is also impossible to work out what the UK suicide rates are as coroners now have discretion to return narrative verdicts, or open verdicts or other options.
As for the Instagram side of this story, there was no Instagram then. Now 10 and 12 year olds, as comments on last week’s post suggest, know more about sex than I know or would want to know, may have watched snuff movies or real torture. Its likely there is a lot of material on many phones that an older generation would never cope with. But they desensitize just as their parents generation (Ged and Chris included) became erotically desensitized, perhaps helped by material from Google and Facebook.
That said, there are well documented accounts of SSRI takers who have deliberately watched snuff movies and executions in order to be able to feel something – such is the emotional numbing these drugs can produce – and who recoil in horror from these things once they stop their drug.
Its perhaps perverse to mention it but the only people who profit after a child dies by suicide is an organisation like Papyrus.
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Copyright © Data Based Medicine Americas Ltd.
The adversarial story of how to never mention an antidepressant in tweets
Emptying the shoes…
To sum up today’s debate, we should stop self-harm images on Instagram but not extend prohibition to screen time or social media as whole. Should be equally concerned re info online about how to kill yourself: outrageous that internet companies view this as free speech.
Simon Wessely Retweeted
Wendy Burn Retweeted
Spent too much time this morning answering media calls about “doubling” of teenage suicide rate. It’s not true. It hasn’t doubled but it has risen, by 56% – bad enough but low overall numbers inflate %s. Current rate similar to early 2000s.
Stressed to journalist that (1) we should focus our concern on self-harm images, not screen time or social media as a whole (2) we should be equally concerned about other online risks, esp info on suicide methods.
As I explained to
rise in suicide & self-harm can’t simply be blamed on social media. Multiple causes & strongly linked to economic deprivation & emotional trauma.
this morning but to be clear: rise in suicide since 2010 is 56% but likely to continue. Fear is over long-term risk of self-harm as a response to stress.
We need a ‘just say no’ campaign again. This time not for street drugs but psych drugs. Why can’t these people get it through their arrogant thick skulls these drugs kill.
Yes, we are doing it constantly.
These shoes represent the 226 schoolchildren who lost their life to suicide in 2017 in the UK #LostChildhoods #SaveTheClass
Kristina K. Gehrki
and 5 others
Reducing avoidable deaths should be a top priority for Papyrus. How many now-dead kids were given suicide-inducing drugs? Let’s learn how to identify & stop akathisia before more shoes are emptied. Take the free course at (link: http://missd.learnupon.com) missd.learnupon.com #SuicidePrevention
Great responses! Why has 2010 been used as a starting date for rise in suicide I wonder what the actual number was – percentages dont make sense unless we know -Wessely -‘current rate is simililar to 2000’ How many? Appleby – 2010 used as starting date for 56% rise in suicide…eh?
Health Secretary tells Instagram to purge self-harm and suicide posts
The Health Secretary will tell the boss of Instagram he must use his experience of rooting out terrorist-related posts to purge the social media site of suicide and self-harm images.
Matt Hancock has summoned senior executives of the photo-sharing network to Whitehall, and on Thursday he will meet Adam Mosseri, the worldwide Head of Instagram, to demand change.
It comes as a government mental health adviser says that sites like Instagram are “normalising” self-harm and risking the creation of a “suicide generation”.
Gordon Rayner, Political Editor
3 February 2019 • 9:30pm
Kristina K. Gehrki
Have you “found” the link between SSRIs & akathisia-induced “suicide” yet, Louis? You’re only a few decades behind internal pharma memos clearly acknowledging such. The data doesn’t fit with your ego & financial/PR desires, but sharing it will save children’s lives. #ShameOnYou
What has happened to suicide rates in last year? What’s new in prevention?
conf in London this morning about men, young people, self-harm…..& numbers. #nspaconf
HI Annie – thanks for all the links you give us -the language here is interesting don’t you think? ‘rooting out’ purging’ Is Appleby still called the Tzar of something or other?am wondering which country I.m living in. How shameful that no mention even yet is being made of harms and suicides from prescription drugs unless related to their illegal use -as being pushed out in the media currently (last night). If they are creating such havoc in ‘the community’ surely they can see a link with harms they cause when prescribed ‘legally’. They have no shame.
Steve Mallen of the Zero Suicide Alliance has just been on World at One to discuss the role of social media in potentially encouraging suicide amongst young people. It is real shame that amongst some of the the good points he raised there was no mention at all of the risk of suicides from medications – but perhaps not surprising considering the 2 million pounds given to the Alliance by the government. He sounded more intelligent than Papyrus , which is also part of the alliance . He as the Alliance’s spokesperson and founder didn’t consider legislation to curb social media is appropriate and even thought that it has a valuable part to play – but needs better protocols to police sites in the same way police use them to trawl for terrorism and pornography. (This could be mis-used of course just as Papyrus tried in a softly softly way to get content removed from this blog). He also stated that collaboration is important ‘no throwing rocks at social media’. But there is no genuine collaboration when unwelcome evidence is rejected and only those who will kow tow to the same messages are included in the Alliance.
Steve M ended on a worrying note as far as yet more surveillance and monitoring is concerned. He undermined his lack of enthusiasm for legislation by his over enthusiasm for using the developing use of analytics ‘a new dawn is coming by using big data to target people at risk ‘- ie to identify what they/we are accessing online using analytic tools..
A read through their site shows a total lack of info about medications on any of the ‘training videos . a 2 million award from government and partners in various nhs trusts around the country as well as private donations. A new dawn is still pretty far off -all the counselling and mindfulness courses will not change prescribing of drugs to young people and ignoring the potential consequences . Part of the 2 million quid should be used specifically to research this..
Rammya Mathews published a piece in the bmj ‘three questions I ask before using guidelines’ none of them was what is the evidence for using them but she layed out the reasons why medics are reluctant not to use them – shocking that she spelt them out – good for her.
Have you seen the documentary “Bridgend”, written and directed by John Michael Williams? One of the young men featured in the documentary, Justin Beecham, later went on to take his own life by hanging. At the end of the film, his mother describes his state of mind on the day he died. There is no mention of prescription drugs, but I found this in a newspaper report about the inquest…
“Justin had undergone a hernia operation a week before his death and his mother Elaine Beecham said his personality changed dramatically in that time.
Jarred [his brother] said Justin had started taking Valium for the pain after his operation.
He said: “He’d never touched drugs before. He was into the gym and keeping fit and healthy.”
Here is the bit from the film where Justin’s mother talks about what happened. Could she be describing an adverse drug reaction?
I only took valium once – I couldn’t wait for the effect to subside (which fortunately it did).
Student suicide risk is low (1st graph) but may be rising (2nd graph). Vital to improve mental health on campus, provide support in crisis & improve links to local NHS. My talk to #NSPAConf.
Hi Louis. Where did you get the figures for students?
Hi Tony, linkage study by ONS last year. (link:
Estimating suicide among higher education students, England and Wales:
6. Next steps
This analysis is preliminary and experimental.
We would like to thank Professor David Gunnell, Professor Keith Hawton, Professor Ann John and Professor Louis Appleby for their invaluable comments on this piece of work. In addition, we would like to thank Public Health England and the Samaritans for their support and guidance.
Misunderstands “suicidal generation” fear of many in the field (despite being told): it’s not about current suicide rate but long-term risk of teenagers learning self-harm as response to stress, ie cohort effect. Dismissive tone may not be appreciated by families dealing with it.
Social media isn’t creating a “suicidal generation”, although if you cherry-pick your data like a climate denier then you can make it look like it is (link: https://unherd.com/2019/02/do-we-really-have-a-suicidal-generation/) unherd.com/2019/02/do-we-…
Do we really have a ‘suicidal generation’?
There’s no evidence that social media is to blame for an increase in teen deaths
It’s a masterclass in what scientists call “hypothesising after results are known”, or HARKing. If you have the data in front of you, then you can make it say almost anything you like.
Added to which, picking social media as your reason for is completely arbitrary. Social media did not start in 2010. The BBC TV series Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, did, though. Maybe we should blame that.
GP’s are being bribed with a whole £5 per child to get them vaccinated -using quite agressive targeting of 10-11 year olds this year, including at least 3 invites and if no response, practices to notify school nursing services.
re Pulse Med Mag 5th feb :- GP’s to Get £5 extra per child vaccinated under new MMR catch up scheme.
Locum GP, in reply to Pulse article on MMR Vaccines
GP contract would include MMR vaccinations under PHE proposals-
Cobblers | Locum GP | Kent25 Jan 2019 12:15pm
This is a PHE problem and it does nothing to foist it upon GPs who are already overworked.
I agree with previous comments and would go further. Not only should PHE commence a public education campaign but also there should be a requirement to have a fully vaccinated child presented to school for enrollment. No vaccs no school. The further bit is that I would make child benefits paid on recognition of an up to date vaccination status.
With rights come responsibilities.
COI. Am currently walking the walk with my grandchild as she goes through her primary vaccs. Not fun for either of us. But being of an age to recall children dying of SSPE, Wakefield can caminar con satanás.
so that people who end up in psychiatric facilities as a result of an adverse event involving a vaccine, can also be fairly compensated, for the loss of earnings, the stigma of mental illness, and incarceration.
We need an MP willing to Chair the APPG Vaccine Damaged People and work with support groups to reform the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme. Contact Olivia Price (link: http://vvsg.co.uk/) vvsg.co.uk
Parents don’t tend to ‘present’ their children for enrollment at school – and many wouldn’t be trading their decision not to risk vaccinations for ‘benefits’..His suggestion is probably aimed at poorer people who are more reliant on so called ‘benefits’ and are bullied more than enough already. The public needs to know that their children are worth £5 and that they can still decline vaccinations . More parents are deciding to home school their children – they have no obligation to ‘present’ anywhere.
Sally Davies is now telling parents/carers not to allow ‘screens at the dinner table’ – thousands of poor people have no dinners let alone dinner tables – these people are on another planet.
There’s never been a time in history where so many people are telling other people how to live their lives..
Athlete Confined To Wheelchair After Her Third Gardasil Vaccine Takes Merck To Court
7 days ago
January 30, 2019
Children’s Health Defense
This article was written by Lyn Redwood, R.N, M.S.N., President of Children’s Health Defense. Posted here with permission.
Why is this type of information virtually ignored by mainstream media and medicine? What’s going on here? Why is gardasil marketed as completely safe and necessary when clearly, that doesn’t seem to be the case?
After 20 years of advocating for vaccine safety, this was the first time that I’ve watched vaccine science issues adjudicated in a true court of law. It was truly a red-letter day. Jennifer’s lawyers brilliantly laid bare Merck’s anemic case for Gardasil, dissecting the science in withering presentations challenging both the efficacy and safety of the Gardasil vaccine, and then chronicling the horrifying agency and corporate corruption that lead to its approval.
“You couldn’t get into the clinical trials unless you were a superhero,” Kennedy told Judge Nelson. “You had to be eligible for the Avengers.”
Simon Wessely Retweeted
Warmly welcome the formal advice today from the brilliant Sally Davies
urging parents to restrict children’s screen use before bedtime & at the dinner table
Prof Sally Davies
Today, the UK CMOs have published their commentary on screen-based activities and children and young people’s mental health along with some advice for parents.
Wendy Burn Retweeted
The most important message of the excellent report by
done in double quick time, is that any possible neg effects of social media, which I think are likely but not certain, are overshadowed by other certain and stronger risks to child mental health
Shouldn’t you be going further like former chair of @Rcpsych @WesselyS who suggested there was a growing body of evidence suggesting a link between excessive screen time/internal use and mental health problems, presenter Nick Robinson asks her? The evidence is limited, she says
Dr Sara Ryan
Oh dear. This smacks of egg on face.
The’brilliant Sally Davies’ has now resigned. The next rung of the ladder has led to Cambridge Uni
Teenagers are extremely desensitised. Young men 15-25 more so.
Many, play long potentially addictive video games. ‘One of us ‘ 14 hours long. Red Redemption 2 60hours. Evil Resident 1-7 over 40 hours.
All these games are extremely violent and graphic….as graphic and disturbing as self -harm images.
Most of these games have ”Suicides” in them. I forced myself to watch some of this …it was fairly disturbing to be honest.
In Resident Evil 7 there is a ‘Die by suicide’ challenge- I kid you not.
How many Parents know about this content…..I did not before last night, when I casually asked my 17 year old son, who is a keen x-box player whether there were suicides in these games?
Video games are HUGE business, they make billions for their producers just like P(Harma)
You will never see these game characters, idolised by millions, taking pills that’s for sure, despite their relentless pursuit of violence.
And how about when young people, or of any age, get de-sensitized, and no one acknowledges it?
How do you tell someone you display manners that are asosciated with more severe mental issues? With psychiatry’s track record, you will only get left with another, more severe diagnose. You get labeled with some crap about autism-spectre.
People walking around giving eff all, wether it’s their relations breaking down, or if the ‘illness’ gets worse?
How do you halt your ‘illnesses’ progression, when you just don’t care anymore?
These pills are responsible for so much monstrosity.
‘BBC News’ and ‘Film’ ..
First female CMO and now first female to lead
They couldn’t have made a better choice. She is a model of strong effective leadership – and also very funny
Yessir, very funny …
“And the Gordon Bennett Trophy goes to . . .
The college or some members of the college whose reputations are at stake , have made it impossible for Peter to exercise his Rights under Data Protection – Members Privacy on their website.
Amongst other rights is the right to ask for information to be corrected or amended. The redactions make it impossible so maybe the Information Commissioner will have the right to see the material without redactions and advise on that or possibly compel whoever was involved in the redactions to provide the information.
The college also uses third party data processors under contracts which hold and process the personal data of psychiatrists. It would be worth asking information commissioner whether the whole of the material the college holds on you Peter has been passed to these data processors or only the redacted material. With Respect to you.
More does not mean better: two paradigms in conflict at #Cochrane (link: http://www.davidhammerstein.com/2019/02/more-does-not-mean-better-two-paradigms-in-conflict-at-cochrane.html) davidhammerstein.com/2019/02/more-d…
For drugs, implantables and biologics, such as vaccines, we know or suspect that trial publications are affected by reporting bias. As Tom Jefferson has stated: “The result is garbage in garbage out with a seal of approval: The Cochrane logo.” This issue is never considered by the Cochrane leadership because it threatens their publishing business model based on reviews of journal articles. Business has trumped science in Cochrane. This is a win-lose situation for decision makers.
As many observers have noted, there are generally two confronting paradigms about the future of Cochrane. One is a collaborative based on open science principles that is not afraid of publicly questioning some of the basic social, economic and scientific premises of our current medical research model dominated by big pharma and the other is a much more centralized, functionalist, conformist and conservative approach that prioritizes the current scientific publishing model that precludes any important distancing from pharmaceutical industry interests. In the end it is a question of moral choice.
Nausea, panic, tears – why wasn’t I warned
“The system is not structured for anyone to have responsibility. Given the lengths of time that these drugs have been on the market, it’s extraordinary that we still don’t have the kind of evidence that we need.”
James Moore Retweeted
Patients need better information about antidepressant withdrawal
writes about her own experience to highlight the issues. We can learn a lot about drug effects listening to patients experiences
McMaster University Faculty of Health Sciences
Dee Mangin, professor of @McMasterFamMed, spoke to The Age about her research on antidepressant withdrawal symptoms and the need for patients to receive adequate information so that they can make informed decisions. | #BrighterWorld @DeeMangin (link: https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/nausea-panic-tears-why-wasn-t-i-warned-about-antidepressant-comedown-20190207-p50w97.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_feed) smh.com.au/lifestyle/heal…
Thanks Dee, for speaking to me and for your important work. Looking forward to reading your research when it’s published.
After Jake’s death, Stephanie And John then had to endure the shameful shenanigans of the
the coroner and an “independent expert” who turned out to be neither independent or expert. (link: http://antidepaware.co.uk/jake-aged-14-pt2/) antidepaware.co.uk/jake-aged-14-p…
February 11 2019 2:30 AM
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article please contact:
Samaritans 116 123 or email email@example.com
Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
Pieta House 1800 247 247 or email firstname.lastname@example.org (suicide, self-harm)
Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article please be aware that each and every ‘contact’ will not discuss any ‘prescribed’ drugs such as Fluoxetine …
Louis please reference your evidence otherwise we are just left with your statement and not the rates. As Rob W used to tell me ..show me the data. Thanks
“My thoughts on ‚the war on antidepressant withdrawal‘. My sincere attempt to end the controversy in the patients‘ interest”
Michael P. Hengartner, PhD
Obviously Jauhar and Hayes do not want to end the „war on antidepressants“, as now they even made text changes to the published version of their critique of the withdrawal review to defend their misleading statements. So, sadly enough, the debate has to continue… Thread
Michael P. Hengartner, PhD
9/n This whole debate makes me sad and angry. Changing the meaning of a crucial sentence in a published paper is not allowed! This is very bad behavior. Proof reading is only to correct typos and the like. I have never seen something like this before in my 10 years in research
Michael P. Hengartner, PhD
8/n Here is the conclusion by Montgomery et al (2004): “By contrast to paroxetine, abrupt cessation of agomelatine is not associated with discontinuation symptoms”. See any mention that withdrawal was higher during active treatment? (link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15289700) ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15289700
Michael P. Hengartner, PhD
7/n In the paroxetine arm there was a SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER dess score when the drug was replaced with placebo (which indicates withdrawal), whereas in the agomelatine arm there was NO CHANGE (ie no withdrawal reaction)! This is the correct interpretation!
Michael P. Hengartner, PhD
6/n Nevertheless, and even worse, although they revised both reference AND text post-hoc, Jauhar and Hayes are again wrong! It’s incredible! So, here is the correct interpretation of Montgomery et al 2004, because its clearly different than stated by Jauhar and Hayes…
Michael P. Hengartner, PhD
5/n So, it’s not only that the reference was replaced, instead of “DESS score higher during placebo treatment” in the revised version it now reads “DESS score numerically higher during active treatment”. Of course an author is not allowed to do this during proof reading!
Michael P. Hengartner, PhD
4/n Inconceivably, Jauhar and Hayes changed the very meaning of this crucial sentence during proof reading in a paper published online. Here is the new text: “Thus, in the trial by Montgomery et al. (2004), DESS score was numerically higher during active treatment than placebo”
Michael P. Hengartner, PhD
3/n On Twitter, Jauhar then claimed that he merely quoted the wrong reference. In response I pointed out that even when he refers to Montgomery et al 2004, their sentence is misleading. Clearly I was right, because now they also changed the entire meaning of the sentence…
Michael P. Hengartner, PhD
2/n In response, Davies, Read and I pointed out that this is misleading and misrepresents the data, because this was a discontinuation trial, so more withdrawal symptoms in the group where the drug was replaced by placebo means that withdrawal occurred
Michael P. Hengartner, PhD
1/n Here the critique they originally published: “[Davies & Read] seem also to misunderstand simple principles that underpin why blinded RCTs are necessary. Thus, in the trial by Montgomery et al. (2005), DESS score was higher during placebo treatment than active treatment.”
Great article by the way and really commend you for all the amazing research you do and the rational voice you bring to the debate
A handful of cases …
70 mental health patients in Wales die by suicide/yr. On way to Cardiff to talk about improving safety in mental health care, at national conf on serious incidents in MH & LD.
Following in P.A.S.T footsteps with James Moore, Stevie Lewis, Aled Jones and David Healy, ‘treatment resistant’ drug comes along to help out ..
Depression drug related to ketamine wins endorsement of key advisory panel
By Megan Thielking @meggophone
February 12, 2019
An experimental medication for depression related to the hallucinogenic street drug ketamine won a crucial endorsement from an independent advisory committee convened by the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday.
In its briefing submitted ahead of the hearing, the FDA expressed concern that patients could be harmed if they experience dissociation, or an out-of-body experience that can leave people less aware of their surroundings. The agency also noted six deaths — including three suicides — among patients who were taking the drug. But FDA reviewers said that given that it was just a handful of cases and the patients had severe illnesses, it’s “difficult to consider these deaths as drug related.”
Interesting event at
on afternoon of March 26 Spotlight on whisteblowing – quite a cast list
Clare Gerada #FBPE @ClareGerada 16h
Clare Gerada #FBPE Retweeted Simon Wessely
I will be there
Gwen Olsen, Whistle-blower, ex pharmaceutical rep, author of Confessions of an Rx Drug Pusher
From her Website:
We live in a society that has been intentionally “dumbed down” and acculturated to hand over our power and decision-making ability to authority figures, such as doctors.
The rise and rise of the rabble-rousers …
Prof. Peter Gøtzsche
I am not speaking at this event. Vaccines, e.g. against measles, polio, yellow fever, smallpox, have saved millions of lives. It is unethical, unscientific and dangerous for patients to be against vaccines as a matter of “principle”.
David Gorski, MD, PhD
Holy crap. @PGtzsche1, formerly of @CochraneNordic, has gone full on antivax. Here he is scheduled to speak at a workshop for the antivax doctors group with the Orwellian name Physicians for Informed Consent (@picphysicians). 1/ (link: https://twitter.com/Rosewind2007/status/1096336832189657088) twitter.com/Rosewind2007/s…
David Gorski, MD, PhD
and 4 others
Over the last several years, I wanted to keep supporting Gøtzsche, but I just couldn’t, especially after he started sounding like a Scientologist regarding psychiatry. That HPV article was the last straw for me. Now if
would just get rid of Tom Jefferson…
Professor Peter Gotzsche is not speaking at this event
‘Principled’ Tom Jefferson is not speaking at this event
A Scientologist regarding psychiatry – that sort of comment should be directed, elsewhere …
that was an insane number of tweets Gorski threw out there. Does he have a day gig?
PG Tip – Principle …
While the Bridgend suicides have gained much attention in the UK and the US, there have been other teen suicide clusters in other countries around the same period,
A report by the United Nations Children’s Fund released late last year said Russia, with 143 million people, ranked third in the world in per capita teenage suicides, just behind Kazakhstan and Belarus. Around the world, an average of 7 out of every 100,000 teenagers commit suicide every year. In Russia, that number is 22 per 100,000, and in two regions, Tuva and Chukotka, more than 100 per 100,000. Yearly, more than 1,700 Russians between 15 and 19 take their lives, according to the report.
The remote Indigenous community of Doomadgee in north-west Queensland, Australia is in crisis after a spate of suicides. Doomadgee has been described as a place of hopelessness and despair, where high unemployment and drug and alcohol addiction is taking its toll on residents. Out of a population of just over 1,000, 14 people killed themselves in 2011, and in 2012 four people took their lives.
While Russia has been increasing its spread of social media – in particular a rip-off of Facebook- it is still far short of the use of IT in general in western countries. It may also be safe to discount the influence of social media in a town like Doomadgee.
Increasing numbers of Aboriginal youth in Northern Ontario are killing themselves, and 42% of the suicides over the last 10 years have occurred in just seven communities. Overall, from 1991 to 2013, there were 468 suicides by Aboriginal people in Ontario, almost half by people 25 or younger,
Children and teenagers living in the Inuit Nunangat, the four Arctic regions that make up the Inuit homelands are roughly five times more likely to die than their counterparts in the rest of Canada.
The biggest cause of the higher death rate among Inuit children and teens is suicide. A report, from Statistics Canada’s health analysis division, found that the suicide rate among children and teens in the Inuit homelands was 30 times that of youth in the rest of Canada during the five-year period from 2004 to 2008. In fact, at a time when the youth suicide rate was declining in the rest of Canada, it was climbing in the Inuit Nunangat.
The analysts who gathered the data for Statistics Canada can’t speak to the factors behind the important numbers they compiled. They can explain the numbers, but cannot explain the story they tell.
The profile of suicide among the Inuit is much different than that of the rest of the country. Where in the south the rates of suicide increase with age and cases are linked to major depression, in the north, the risk of suicide is very high among people aged 15 to 24. They frequently suffer from anxiety disorders, misuse cannabis and have a personal history of emotional and/or sexual abuse,.
The Statistics Canada report compares youth mortality data for the Nunangat and the rest of Canada for two five-year periods, from 1994 to 1998 and 2004 to 2008. It presents rates in terms of 100,000 person years.
For Inuit girls, the suicide rate was 40 per 100,000 person years in both periods studied. For their southern counterparts, the rate was two per 100,000 person years. For Inuit boys and young men, the rate went from 77.2 per 100,000 person years in the 1990s to 101.6 per 100,000 person years in the latter period. Over the same time frame, the rate of suicides among boys and teens in the rest of Canada declined to 4.2 per 100,000 in 2004-2008 from 6.1 per 100,000 in the earlier period.
The report notes that half of all deaths of young people in the Inuit Nunangat were suicides; in the rest of Canada, suicides accounted for about 10 per cent of child and youth deaths.
The report notes that the overall mortality rates among Inuit children and teenagers have declined over 10 years in tandem with rates in the rest of Canada, but the gap between the rates among the Inuit and youth in the rest of the country has remained static.
What might all of these have in common, if anything?
On a recent (2017) ITV Wales television program , several people, including three mothers of suicides were interviewed about the cluster of suicides in Bridgend. The overwhelming opinion was that the apparent depression that followed ingestion of cocaine and alcohol was responsible. There was even a name for it – “Tuesday Suicide” indicating the time it took to develop after ingestion of drugs (mainly cocaine) and alcohol on the weekend. That is, of course, only local opinion.
A fascinating aspect of the young people who committed suicide found mainly in the males and some of the females, was the remarkable facial similarity found, particularly in nose shape. As the nose size and shape is genetically determined, (Kaustubh Adhikari, Macarena Fuentes-Guajardo , Andrés Ruiz-Linares A genome-wide association scan implicates DCHS2, RUNX2, GLI3, PAX1 and EDAR in human facial variation. Nature Communications volume 7, Article number: 11616 (2016) many could have been siblings or, at least, cousins.
Another potential factor to consider [starts at 14:00]: