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Vol. LXVI, No. 19
September 12, 2014


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Dear Editor,

I agree with Dr. Matthew Nock’s thoughts [Aug. 1 NIH Record, “New Studies May Help Us Understand, Predict Suicidal Thoughts, Behavior”] on suicidal tendencies, “people tend to deny or contain thoughts of suicide.” With that said, why do researchers continue to survey Americans about suicidal thoughts? The data will always be a vague estimate.

It’s not possible to quantify what’s going on inside the mind of a person suffering from personal distress—and that’s why “suicide risk is higher for those who are younger [teenagers, coming of age], unmarried [looking for love], or have mental disorders [internal struggles that are sometimes debilitating].” Current research is geared toward developing new cognitive tests to acquire suicidal statistics. But are new cognitive tests what Americans need? Clinical mental health researchers should invest their time developing cognition tasks that encourage suicidal patients to love [themselves]. Without self-love, it’s almost impossible to kickstart one’s thoughts positively.

Americans want to feel appreciated, respected and feel loved by their family and friends daily. When that recipe is cooking on the stove, the likelihood of someone thinking about suicide or committing suicide will naturally decrease. Predicting suicidal thoughts with cognitive testing may be essential for mental health professionals. However, new testing won’t keep severely ill patients from retiring to an early grave.

Kristine Evers, medical writer-editor
Laboratory of Diagnostic Radiology Research, CC

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