NFL Trainer Saves Player’s Life

Kansas City Chiefs team trainer, David Price, unknowingly helped save a life. Player Ryan O’Callaghan recently came out after keeping his sexuality a secret during his entire football career. O’Callaghan states that he was in a dark place toward the end of his career and was contemplating suicide. O’Callaghan says that Price took the time to talke with him and referred him to the team psychologist when he could tell O’Callaghan was in trouble.

Price told TMZ that he was “elated” to find out he had such a positive impact. Price was unaware how important he was to O’Callaghan until he read an article online. “I was just elated, I mean on Cloud 9 that I had that much impact on somebody’s life in a positive way.” Price said.

O’Callaghan says he’s now in a MUCH healthier mental state and loves life.

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The Connection Between Social Policy & Mental Health

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in the United States for people aged ten to twenty-four.  The Trevor Project, an organization that works to prevent suicide among LGBT youth, states that young lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) youth are particularly affected, attempting suicide at four times the rate of straight youth.

Julia Raifman is a study leader and a postdoctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Raifman and her team analyzed thirty-two of the thirty-five states that legalized same-sex marriage between 2004 and 2015, before the Supreme Court legalized it nationwide.

Raifman’s research found that suicide attempts by high school students decreased by seven percent in states after they passed laws to legalize same-sex marriage.  Among LGB high school students, the decrease was especially significant, with suicide attempts falling by fourteen percent. But in states that did not legalize same-sex marriage, there was no change.

Raifman told the NewsHour she was interested in studying same-sex marriage laws “as a marker of equal rights in general,” adding that other laws that pertain to LGBT rights, such as employment and housing protections, still vary widely around the country.

The study noted that the laws themselves reflected larger social trends toward support for the LGBT community, a possible factor in the fall in suicide attempts. Raifman said that the decrease was especially concentrated around the time that same-sex marriage laws passed. It is possible that the laws “communicated to young LGB populations that they were equal, and that improved their mental health,” Raifman said. “It’s also possible that increased visibility for same-sex marriage, both in politics and media coverage, increased LGB adolescents’ sense of social support,” she said.

A study published in Pediatrics in 2011, stated that LGB youths were twenty percent more likely to attempt suicide if they were living in unsupportive environments. Raifman said the study suggested a lot of ideas for further research on how different environments can add to, or detract from, the risk for suicide.

“Regardless of political views, I think everyone can agree that reducing adolescent suicide attempts is a good thing,” she said.

The results give more context to the potential effects of social policy on mental health.

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Contact to Crisis Centers Doubles After the Election

Contact to Crisis Centers Doubles After the Election

Many crisis and suicide prevention centers saw a large uptick in callers after the presidential election.

The Crisis Text Line which connects texters with crisis counselors reported an increase of eight times the normal volume as the election results become evident. Spokeswoman Liz Eddy said that on an average day, this crisis line sees about 1,000 texters. From 7AM on Election Day to the next morning the number jumped to 2,000. The number then doubled to 4,000 from Wednesday morning to Thursday morning.

Eddy also reported that “election” and “scared” were the top two words mentioned by texters in the twenty-four hours after the election.  The phrase most commonly associated with “scared” was “LGBTQ.”

The Trevor Project, the national leader in providing crisis and suicide prevention support to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth, also saw an increase in contact from the LGBTQ community.

“It’s been ongoing since Tuesday night,” Steve Medelsohn, Deputy Executive Director explained. “Young people are calling us who’ve never called us before. They’re scared, and they don’t know who to turn to.  Given all the rhetoric that they’ve heard leading up to the election, it makes sense that they’re frightened.”

More recently, Mendelsohn said, there was a spike in unanticipated calls in June, after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. The post-election volume, he said, is 70% higher than it was then.

If you or someone you know is having a mental health crisis or suicidal thoughts, no matter what the trigger, these national services exist to provide people with support and the reminder that they are not alone.

Beyond what a counselor can say directly, here are some ideas to help lift people up according to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

Be there for each other.

Get back to a routine.

Limit exposure to conversations or media — social or otherwise — that aggravates feelings of hopelessness.

One of the best ways to help yourself, is to help others through acts of kindness and compassion. Volunteer at a place that matters to you. Get involved with a cause that speaks to your core.

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