Survivors Discuss Suicide’s Stubborn Persistence, Mismanagement

Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison of Johns Hopkins
Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison of Johns Hopkins
 

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, remaining stubbornly high on the list of medical causes of mortality even as deaths from stroke, AIDS, heart disease and leukemia have fallen.

Two people who have survived encounters with this wily enemy of life led off the 12th season of the NIMH Director’s Innovation Speaker Series on Oct. 5 at the Neuroscience Center.

Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, Dalio professor in mood disorders and co-director of the Mood Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, lamented medicine’s disinterest in lithium, the only drug that has yet proven effective in significantly decreasing suicide attempts and completed suicide in patients with manic depression/bipolar illness such as herself.

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‘GENTLEMANLY, BUT ALSO TOUGH’
Stokes Family, NIH Director Honor Congressman’s Legacy

Dr. Thomas Quinn
Lori Stokes with NIH director Dr. Francis Collins

An hour could not contain all of the fond remembrances that NIH and its broad community holds for the late former Congressman Louis Stokes, who died in 2015 at age 90. But an event hosted Oct. 12 by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities—just one part of NIH he was instrumental in seeing founded and funded—featured as many warm recollections as could fit into 60 minutes.

Fortunately many of those stories—and a lot of shared history—were also documented by the lawmaker himself in a recently released autobiography, The Gentleman from Ohio.

Led by former Health and Human Services secretary Dr. Louis Sullivan, NIH director Dr. Francis Collins and NIMHD director Dr. Eliseo Pérez-Stable and attended by several Stokes family members, the occasion billed as a “Fireside Chat” honored the legislator’s legacy in Bldg. 50, which bears his name, the Louis Stokes Laboratories.

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