ADAA Members Share Their Expertise on Suicide Prevention

ADAA Members Share Their Expertise on Suicide Prevention

Simon Rego, PsyD, ABPP, ACT

Member Since 2007

Dr. Rego is the Chief Psychologist, Director of Psychology Training, and Director of the CBT Training Program at Montefiore Medical Center, the academic medical center and University Hospital for Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. He is also an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, one of the nation's premier institutions for medical education, basic research and clinical investigation. Simon Rego is an ADAA Clinical Fellow.

Dr. Rego and ADAA

“I have been an active member of the ADAA since joining in 2007! I started getting involved by presenting a poster at the annual conference in Savannah, Georgia in 2008 and don’t think I’ve missed a conference since joining! I love the mission, focus, and multidisciplinary membership of ADAA. It’s also just the right size to be comprehensive in what it can offer, while still being nimble enough to address emerging issues in the field and meet the needs of its members.

There’s a real sense of community –and not just at the conference. It creates opportunities to connect throughout the year with colleagues with research and clinical backgrounds, at all levels of training, and across various disciplines.

Over the years, I’ve been able to participate in the association as a poster presenter, as well as both a panelist and chair of several clinical roundtables and workshops. I’ve also been able to get involved in the association’s governance, first as a committee member, then as a committee chair, and finally, as a member of the Board of Directors! More recently, I was honored to have been selected to lead a master clinician session at the 2020 conference in San Antonio, TX. Following this, I, along with my esteemed colleague here at Montefiore Medical Center-Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Dr. Jonathan Alpert, will be co-chairing the 2021 conference in Boston, MA! All of this has helped my work in terms of making connections for collaborations, strengthening my CV for academic promotion, and helping with patient referrals for my practice.

It really is an organization with something for everyone. It is especially welcoming of more junior members and emphasizes integrating diverse perspectives. We are all going to work with patients with anxiety and depression during the course of our careers, so I can’t imagine why someone in our field would not want to join! What better way to stay on top of current developments?”

Anne Marie Albano, PhD, ABPP

Anne Marie Albano, PhD

Dr. Anne-Marie Albano, PhD, ABBP, is a professor of medical psychology, a clinical psychologist and board certified in clinical child and adolescent psychology. In addition to serving as Director of the Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders at 3 Columbus Circle, she also conducts research and train residents, fellows and psychology postdoctoral.

ADAA Members Share Their Expertise on Suicide Prevention

Share
No
suicide twitter chat

On July 11th, 2018, ADAA member experts Dr. Simon Rego @psyd and Dr. Anne Marie Albano @AnneMarieAlbano hosted a Twitter chat under the hashtag #ADAATalksSuicide, where they shared their knowledge on suicide prevention and warning signs, and how to talk to a loved one about suicide. 

1. How significant is the problem of suicide in the USA? Which psychological disorders are most linked to suicide?

Dr. Rego: Massive problem. According to the CDC, suicide rates rose in all but 1 state between 1999 and 2016 - with increases seen across age, gender, race and ethnicity. Nearly 45,000 suicides in the USA in 2016 - more twice the number of homicides!

Dr. Albano: 10th leading cause of death in USA; Over 44,965 citizens die each year. Depression, substance abuse, anxiety place people at risk.

2. Which factors increase the risk for suicide? Which decrease the risk?

Dr. Rego: Major risk factors include abuse of alcohol or other drugs, access to lethal means, knowing someone who died by suicide, social isolation, chronic disease and disability, and lack of access to behavioral health care. Also - very important to note that risk factors can vary by age group, culture, sex, and other characteristics! Other major protective factors include: effective behavioral health care (!) as well as life skills, and cultural, religious, or personal beliefs.

Dr. Albano: Impulsivity, depression, and little/no support increase risk but the biggest risk is a prior attempt. PRIOR ATTEMPT is the highest risk factor. Also - impulsivity, depression, and substance abuse is a lethal combination. Minority and immigrant kids are at a higher risk than ever. Social support = connecting with friends, family, community, ONE PERSON, can help decrease risk of suicide. REACH OUT to people who are alone!

3. Is there a way to predict who will or will not attempt suicide?

Dr. Rego: From NIMH, "It remains difficult to predict who will act on suicidal thoughts." Fortunately, Nock Lab Harvard is “working to advance the understanding, prediction, and prevention of suicide, self-injury and self-harm”

Dr. Albano: It takes one person reaching out to someone who is depressed, isolated, just suffered a setback. Support helps prevent suicide. EMR = coordinate/track people at risk. We now have a boundaried population within health systems for oversight and collaboration of providers. Need more aid for high risk patients at high risk times, tightly coordinated care, monitoring and support post suicide attempt and hospitalization. There are lower rates of suicide in places where patient is linked immediately to mental health care upon discharge from the hospital or ER. We need this everywhere in USA.

4. What are the signs that someone may be contemplating suicide that parents and loved ones should look out for?

Dr. Rego: via AFSP: Something to look out for when concerned that a person may be suicidal is a change in behavior or the presence of entirely new behaviors. This is of sharpest concern if the new or changed behavior is related to a painful event, loss, or change. Also talk about feeling hopeless, having no reason to live, being a burden to others, feeling trapped, unbearable pain, etc.

Dr. Albano: Change in behavior: talks about suicide, moodier, giving away treasured items, sometimes calmness despite ongoing stress.

5. If someone is suicidal, how can families or loved ones best respond?

Dr. Rego: via Mayo Clinic: Taking action is always the best choice! Start by asking questions. Look for warning signs. if in doubt, don't leave the person alone. Call 911 or your local emergency number right away. Or, if you think you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room yourself. Tell a family member or friend right away what's going on.

Dr. Albano: Talk to them. Important to develop a safety plan that engages family and restricts means for high risk individuals. Contrary to lore, asking about suicide does not increase likelihood. It increases help.

6. If you ask a person if they are thinking about suicide, and they aren't, will they then be more likely to think about attempting suicide?

Dr. Rego: Anne Marie just covered this one nicely: "Contrary to lore, asking about suicide does not increase likelihood. It increases help." I'd add that there is much more potential for harm by not asking.

Dr. Albano: No, this is a myth. Asking will help person to get help, feel understood, and make a safety plan if needed. Don't fear asking.

7. Are there any specific groups that are more at-risk for suicide, such as males versus females, LGBTQ individuals or certain racial or other demographic groups?

Dr. Rego: From NIMH and CDC: men are more likely to die by suicide than women, but women are more likely to attempt suicide. Certain demographic groups are at higher risk - such as American Indian and Alaska Native youth and middle-aged persons, as well as non-Hispanic white middle-aged and older adult males. Of note is that AFSP began a broad initiative in 2007 to increase knowledge about suicide and suicide risk in LGBTQ+ persons, and take steps to reduce that risk.

Dr. Albano: Men are more likely to use highly lethal means, guns, and suicide on first attempt. Youth will impulsively attempt suicide, especially when bullied, shamed, excluded: due to interpersonal events. Mixing with alcohol or drugs increases risk.

8. Where can people get more information on how to help?

Dr. Rego: Tons of excellent resources online - including ADAA! Can try the Trevor Project, Crisis Text Line, AFSP, American Association of Suicidology and more! Don't forget about the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Dr. Albano: Great resources in this chat. Go to: AFSP and JED foundation websites. See prior tweets. Keep the conversation going! Thank you ADAA and Simon. 

Note –  information provided is intended for informational purposes only.  

Simon Rego, PsyD, ABPP, ACT

Member Since 2007

Dr. Rego is the Chief Psychologist, Director of Psychology Training, and Director of the CBT Training Program at Montefiore Medical Center, the academic medical center and University Hospital for Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. He is also an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, one of the nation's premier institutions for medical education, basic research and clinical investigation. Simon Rego is an ADAA Clinical Fellow.

Dr. Rego and ADAA

“I have been an active member of the ADAA since joining in 2007! I started getting involved by presenting a poster at the annual conference in Savannah, Georgia in 2008 and don’t think I’ve missed a conference since joining! I love the mission, focus, and multidisciplinary membership of ADAA. It’s also just the right size to be comprehensive in what it can offer, while still being nimble enough to address emerging issues in the field and meet the needs of its members.

There’s a real sense of community –and not just at the conference. It creates opportunities to connect throughout the year with colleagues with research and clinical backgrounds, at all levels of training, and across various disciplines.

Over the years, I’ve been able to participate in the association as a poster presenter, as well as both a panelist and chair of several clinical roundtables and workshops. I’ve also been able to get involved in the association’s governance, first as a committee member, then as a committee chair, and finally, as a member of the Board of Directors! More recently, I was honored to have been selected to lead a master clinician session at the 2020 conference in San Antonio, TX. Following this, I, along with my esteemed colleague here at Montefiore Medical Center-Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Dr. Jonathan Alpert, will be co-chairing the 2021 conference in Boston, MA! All of this has helped my work in terms of making connections for collaborations, strengthening my CV for academic promotion, and helping with patient referrals for my practice.

It really is an organization with something for everyone. It is especially welcoming of more junior members and emphasizes integrating diverse perspectives. We are all going to work with patients with anxiety and depression during the course of our careers, so I can’t imagine why someone in our field would not want to join! What better way to stay on top of current developments?”

Anne Marie Albano, PhD, ABPP

Anne Marie Albano, PhD

Dr. Anne-Marie Albano, PhD, ABBP, is a professor of medical psychology, a clinical psychologist and board certified in clinical child and adolescent psychology. In addition to serving as Director of the Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders at 3 Columbus Circle, she also conducts research and train residents, fellows and psychology postdoctoral.

Use of Website Blog Commenting

Use of Website Blog Commenting

ADAA provides this Website blogs for the benefit of its members and the public. The content, view and opinions published in Blogs written by our personnel or contributors – or from links or posts on the Website from other sources - belong solely to their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of ADAA, its members, management or employees. Any comments or opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors only. Please remember that the open and real-time nature of the comments posted to these venues makes it is impossible for ADAA to confirm the validity of any content posted, and though we reserve the right to review and edit or delete any such comment, we do not guarantee that we will monitor or review it. As such, we are not responsible for any messages posted or the consequences of following any advice offered within such posts. If you find any posts in these posts/comments to be offensive, inaccurate or objectionable, please contact us via email at [email protected] and reference the relevant content. If we determine that removal of a post or posts is necessary, we will make reasonable efforts to do so in a timely manner.

ADAA expressly disclaims responsibility for and liabilities resulting from, any information or communications from and between users of ADAA’s blog post commenting features. Users acknowledge and agree that they may be individually liable for anything they communicate using ADAA’s blogs, including but not limited to defamatory, discriminatory, false or unauthorized information. Users are cautioned that they are responsible for complying with the requirements of applicable copyright and trademark laws and regulations. By submitting a response, comment or content, you agree that such submission is non-confidential for all purposes. Any submission to this Website will be deemed and remain the property of ADAA.

The ADAA blogs are forums for individuals to share their opinions, experiences and thoughts related to mental illness. ADAA wants to ensure the integrity of this service and therefore, use of this service is limited to participants who agree to adhere to the following guidelines:

1. Refrain from transmitting any message, information, data, or text that is unlawful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, that may be invasive of another 's privacy, hateful, or bashing communications - especially those aimed at gender, race, color, sexual orientation, national origin, religious views or disability.

Please note that there is a review process whereby all comments posted to blog posts and webinars are reviewed by ADAA staff to determine appropriateness before comments are posted. ADAA reserves the right to remove or edit a post containing offensive material as defined by ADAA.

ADAA reserves the right to remove or edit posts that contain explicit, obscene, offensive, or vulgar language. Similarly, posts that contain any graphic files will be removed immediately upon notice.

2. Refrain from posting or transmitting any unsolicited, promotional materials, "junk mail," "spam," "chain mail," "pyramid schemes" or any other form of solicitation. ADAA reserves the right to delete these posts immediately upon notice.

3. ADAA invites and encourages a healthy exchange of opinions. If you disagree with a participant 's post or opinion and wish to challenge it, do so with respect. The real objective of the ADAA blog post commenting function is to promote discussion and understanding, not to convince others that your opinion is "right." Name calling, insults, and personal attacks are not appropriate and will not be tolerated. ADAA will remove these posts immediately upon notice.

4. ADAA promotes privacy and encourages participants to keep personal information such as address and telephone number from being posted. Similarly, do not ask for personal information from other participants. Any comments that ask for telephone, address, e-mail, surveys and research studies will not be approved for posting.

5. Participants should be aware that the opinions, beliefs and statements on blog posts do not necessarily represent the opinions and beliefs of ADAA. Participants also agree that ADAA is not to be held liable for any loss or injury caused, in whole or in part, by sponsorship of blog post commenting. Participants also agree that ADAA reserves the right to report any suspicions of harm to self or others as evidenced by participant posts.

RESOURCES AND NEWS
Evidence-based Tips & Strategies from our Member Experts
RELATED ARTICLES
Block reference
TAKING ACTION
Through years of sharing one anxiety-ridden saga after another, we’ve come to learn that, though…

Advertisement