Early Detection and Treatment of Mental Health Problems: An Anecdote to Suicide

September 10, 2014 7:55 PM

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Early Detection and Treatment of Mental Health Problems: An Anecdote to Suicide

For more than a half century suicide hotlines have been cornerstones in our efforts to prevent the tragedy of suicide, and they have saved countless lives. These services are staffed by trained responders who attempt to convince distraught callers from harming themselves, and ideally connecting them with help. But such worthy and necessary hedges against suicide must not be our only response. Closing the gap between the first onset of emerging mental health problems and professional treatment needs to be part of a more comprehensive public health approach to suicide. This will require all of us to be more literate about mental health and wellness.

Consider what we know today about cancer detection and treatment. We would never dream of predicating a public health response solely on a capacity to treat stage III or IV metastatic cancer once detected. We know so much more today about early detection and screening and we can begin treatment befo...

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