Maryland Mall and Preceding Mass Shootings Coincide With Alarming Psychiatric Drugging Stats

The Maryland mall shooting in Columbia on Saturday, which left four injured and three people dead, including the shooter who took his own life, comes just four months after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the rate of mass shootings is increasing across the United States. What makes this fact even more alarming is that it coincides with an overwhelming increase in Americans taking prescribed psychiatric drugs. The shooting on Saturday and the many preceding incidences have yet to be linked to psychiatric drug use, but the data does raise questions. – Kollin Lore, Liberty Voice

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Vikram Patel: Mental health for all by involving all

Nearly 450 million people are affected by mental illness worldwide. In wealthy nations, just half receive appropriate care, but in developing countries, close to 90 percent go untreated because psychiatrists are in such short supply. Vikram Patel outlines a highly promising approach — training members of communities to give mental health interventions, empowering ordinary people to care for others. – TEDGlobal

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Should Twitter be doing more to tackle online bullying?

Online bullying is a growing problem, and is especially worrying for children and young people. Latest annual figures from ChildLine show an 87 per cent increase compared to just an eight per cent rise in overall bullying contacts. Young people tell ChildLine that the 24 hour nature of online bullying means there’s no escape and it can lead to very serious feelings of isolation, low self-esteem and in a few desperate cases, suicide.

Some social networking sites have responded to concerns about bullying and intimidation. But the site owners could still do more to make reporting abuse easier, responding to those reports faster, and consistently blocking anyone who uses their profile to bully and abuse other users. Claire Lilley, Head of Child Safety Online, NSPCC

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The internet didn’t kill Tallulah Wilson, but it didn’t do much to help her

Tallulah Wilson posted self-harm photographs on Tumblr Photograph: FAMILY COLLECT/Evening Standard

Tallulah [Wilson] is not the only teenager to have committed suicide after reading enabling material online. In August last year, 14-year-old Hannah Smith took her own life having fallen victim to a prolonged online bullying campaign. Another 14-year-old, Ayden Keenan-Olson, used the internet to research the number of prescription pills he needed for an overdose. He was found dead by his mother in March.

However, correlation does not equal causation. Just as we cannot entirely attribute the actions of the rampaging gunman to his taste in video games, policing the online activity of depressed teenagers will not eradicate the cause of suicide: mental illness.

To attribute the deaths of these three teenagers solely to their internet browsing history is simplistic. That is not to say the “dark”, “destructive” and “toxic” online world in which thousands of young people embroil themselves isn’t damaging.

We cannot say with absolute conviction that, had the internet not existed, these young people would have done it anyway. But the latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics reveal a slight decline in the number of suicides among 15- to 19-year-olds since 1981. Tumblr was founded in 2007 and, it may seem callous, but one must ask why, with the sharp increase in such websites, suicide among teenagers has not risen accordingly. – Jemima Owen for The Guardian

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Eating disorders soar among teens – and social media is to blame

Social media blamed for the doubling in the number of youngsters seeking help for anorexia and bulimia in the last three years

“We are seeing increasing numbers of contacts about eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. These are complex issues, and the rise in contacts is unlikely to be down to any one thing.But we do know that in some cases the trigger can be abuse in childhood. We also know that the 24/7 nature of social media places huge pressures on our children and young people which in turn can lead to significant emotional issues. And society is increasingly bombarded with celebrities and airbrushed images which give an impossible view of what ‘beautiful’ is.” – Sue Minto, head of ChildLine

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Mental ill-health: a hidden problem that undermines British businesses

Employers need to be more open about mental health issues at work, says Louise Aston:

Many people hide issues of mental health at work for fear of reputational damage. Many do not know how to spot the warning signs that they may need help. This means issues that could easily be managed take hold. Businesses are not reporting on mental health and many are not openly discussing it, which is exacerbating the problem.

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Is it time to call time on Community Treatment Orders?

Every so often I come across an article on Community Treatment Orders (CTOs). Usually the view expressed is critical and it always produces a stab of disquiet. More on the bad feelings in a second, but before that, it’s worth just establishing what we’re talking about. The norm that people with mental health problems can be given treatment against their will and detained in hospital is well established.  In the United Kingdom the Mental Health Act 2007 extended this principle by allowing people such compulsory treatment at home (i.e. without admission). The twinge of unease comes because I, in the face of a good deal of criticism from colleagues, thought this change was a good idea.

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