Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Progress Is Being Made in Suicide Research

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Progress Is Being Made in Suicide Research

Article excerpt

It was good to see Ruth Ann Dailey's column on suicide ("Suicide: A Public Health Crisis That Can Be Treated," Sept. 8), helping to bring to the forefront, along with Robin Williams' death, the illness of suicide and helping to dispel some of the outdated notions about it.

There is much-needed research in progress - we know relatively little about how the brain works and how to stop this self- destruction. But progress is being made, and bringing this problem into the light, rather than hiding it, is a good thing.

While it is too late for our son, and too many others, there is hope other lives can be saved.

It is Suicide Awareness Month, and this Sunday, Sept. 14 at 2 p.m. at Highmark Stadium, there will be a walk sponsored by the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (afsp.org).

This organization does research and provides support for the family and friends of suicide victims.

CATHY ZUZA

Sharpsburg

Effective therapy

I applaud Ruth Ann Dailey for joining the timely national and local conversation on suicide ("Suicide: A Public Health Crisis That Can Be Treated," Sept. 8). The statistics are troubling.I am concerned, then, that while U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy is taking the lead to support evidence-based treatments for suicide prevention, he seemingly dismisses art-based approaches to trauma-focused care.

He uses the example of making art collages and states that such approaches make his blood boil. It seems ironic that Ms. Dailey finished her piece by acknowledging Robin Williams' gifts to us in the arts, while Rep. Murphy seemingly downplays the arts.

I cannot speak to the quality of the conferences mentioned or if they were conducted by master's level trained/board-certified art therapists, but I can assure the public that a growing body of evidence shows art therapy is an effective approach.

Trauma exposure influences the way information is processed, and the experience is encoded in a sensory way by the mind and body.The memories can be like a series of snapshots without words that reside in our brains.

Sometimes we need images to tell our stories, and art therapists are trained to use art-making as a way of communicating without relying on words alone.Art therapists are finding a way to offer care that provides a solution, and their work is being supported by a growing body of evidence-based research. …

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