Vets Walking Pets: Strolls with Shelter Dogs May Reduce PTSD Symptoms in Military Veterans

About 6 to 8 million dogs end up in shelters in the U.S. each year. Researchers worked with two no-kill shelters on a study examining the effects of walking with a shelter dog on psychological and physiological stress indicators in military veterans. Results confirm the importance of the human-animal bond and provide evidence that walking with a shelter dog may affect psychological and physiological stress indicators in veterans – with particular potential benefits for those with an increase in PTSD symptom severity.

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Rifles and Shotguns Used More Often in Youth and Rural Suicides

The public has long thought that handguns are more responsible for human deaths, including suicides, than long guns such as rifles and shotguns, which have been believed to be more commonly used for hunting or protection from wild animals. But now, in an analysis of data from 16 years of gun suicides in Maryland, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers found that long guns were used more often in suicides by kids and teens than by adults, and were more commonly used in suicide by people in rural counties.

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Past trauma exposure, major depression risk factors for suicidal thoughts in deployed Soldiers

Lifetime history of exposure to a traumatic event and self-reported lifetime and current depression are predictive of recent suicide ideation in deployed soldiers, according to a new JAMA Network Open study published January 29, 2020. Researchers suggest that attention to deployment experiences that increase suicide ideation in soldiers with past trauma and major depressive disorder can assist clinicians and leadership in identifying and treating Soldiers at increased risk for suicide.

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More Youth Suicide Found in Poor Communities Across U.S.

A study led by Jennifer Hoffmann, MD, from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, found that higher county-level poverty is associated with increased youth suicide rates among children 5-19 years old in the United States in 2007-2016. Children and adolescents from counties where 20 percent or more of the population lives below the federal poverty level were 37 percent more likely to die by suicide, compared to communities with the lowest poverty concentration. Youth suicide by firearms was 87 percent more likely in areas with the highest poverty levels. Findings were published in JAMA Pediatrics.

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Training middle-school educators to identify suicide warning signs

New research examined the impact of virtual training on the mental-health and suicide-prevention skills of more than 33,000 middle-school educators. The researchers found, overwhelmingly, that those who completed the training had “higher levels of preparedness” in identifying suicide warning signs than participants at the pre-test evaluation.

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Concussions in high school athletes may be a risk factor for suicide

Concussion, the most common form of traumatic brain injury, has been linked to an increased risk of depression and suicide in adults. Now new research published by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) suggests high school students with a history of sports-related concussions might be at an increased risk for suicide completion.

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