Suicide, Veterans and How a Simple Idea Is Trying to Combat a Crisis
- Sarah Weiser
The U.S. is in the midst of a public health crisis: suicide rates have been rising steadily across the country, and are up 25 % since 1999 – at particular risk are U.S. servic emembers and veterans. After decades of research and innovation in the mental health field, not enough is known about suicide prevention and treatment.
In this short documentary we explore how a psychologist working for the Department of Defense unearthed a prevention approach developed by Dr. Jerry Motto in the 1960s: researchers followed up on hospitalizations by sending patients “caring letters.” Decades later, data shows that this shockingly simple intervention remains promising.
We partnered on this story with HuffPost Highline. Using in-depth reporting and narrative storytelling, Jason Cherkis traces the origin of the Motto approach, one of the only ones that has ever led to a reduction in suicide deaths, and visits people working at the forefront of the field today. Read it here.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.
More Like This
Vaccines: An Unhealthy Skepticism
An outbreak of measles that started at Disneyland turned a spotlight on those who choose not to vaccinate their children. Watch this Emmy-nominated backstory to understand how we got to a place where fears can triumph over established science.
A Trusted Pill Turned Deadly. How Tylenol Made a Comeback
How do some companies regain public trust after something goes seriously wrong, while others fail? A look at how Tylenol responded after someone spiked its pills with poison in the 1980s sheds some light.
The Nanny Murder Case: Shaken Baby Syndrome on Trial
In 1997, a young British nanny charged with murder brought shaken baby syndrome into the national spotlight, and raised a scientific debate that continues to shape child abuse cases today.
Lobotomy: A Dangerous Fad's Lingering Effect on Mental Illness Treatment
From the 1930s to the 1950s a radical surgery -- the Lobotomy -- would forever change our understanding and treatment of the mentally ill.