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The conversation about suicides in the U.S. needs to include guns. Here's why.

Not all suicides are completed with a gun — but in the U.S., most are.

Each time a high-profile celebrity dies by suicide, we seem to start a fresh conversation about suicide statistics in America.

In half of U.S. states, suicide rates have climbed 30% or more in the past two decades. Only Nevada saw a decline during that time — a mere 1%, which still puts the state higher than the national average.


Questions of why and what we can do about suicide dominate, leading to discussions revolving around mental health stigma and access to mental health care. And, indeed, those are vital pieces of the puzzle.

But there's another piece we don't talk about enough. If we want to reduce suicide statistics, we have to include the most common and lethal means of suicide in the U.S.: self-inflicted gunshot.

Research shows that when it comes to suicide, method matters. And firearm is by far the most deadly.

In some ways, focusing on a handful of celebrity suicides distracts from the research on U.S. suicide rates overall.

While we can't always know why Americans die by suicide, we do know how: Suicide by firearm kills more people than all other suicide methods combined. And while women are three times more likely to attempt suicide than men, men are four times as likely to die by suicide as women.

Why the discrepancy? All signs point to the fact that men tend to choose more violent and lethal methods of suicide.

And guns are by far the most lethal means. Of non-firearm suicide attempts, about 90% are unsuccessful, while about 90% of firearm suicides are successful. That makes access to guns a prime factor in suicide risk.

Many suicides are actually impulsive acts. That matters too.

One thing that gets missed in our discourse on suicide is that while some suicide attempts are a culmination of years of internal struggle with mental illness, many — and perhaps most — are not.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, one-third to four-fifths of people who attempt suicide are reacting to a current major stressor, not taking a long-premeditated action.

But suicide by firearm doesn't afford people a chance to change their mind or get a second chance. Most people who attempt suicide don't really want to end their lives; they want to end their pain. A gun allows a suicidal person to take split-second action, whereas most other means allow a person to stop mid-attempt or for another person to intervene.

While we're addressing how to prevent suicidal ideation, we need to consider easy access to the most lethal means of suicide.

Research shows that having access to a gun drastically increases the likelihood of a successful suicide attempt.

According to a Harvard University analysis, states with the highest rates of gun ownership had rates of gun suicide 3.7 times higher for men and 7.9 times higher for women than those with lowest gun ownership. Other methods of suicide were about equal.

For all demographics, the easier guns are to access, the higher the risk of completed suicide.

And it's not because gun owners are more suicidal. Catherine Barber, director of the suicide prevention effort Means Matter, said:

"When we compared people in gun-owning households to people not in gun-owning households, there was no difference in terms of rates of mental illness or in terms of the proportion saying that they had seriously considered suicide. Actually, among gun owners, a smaller proportion say that they had attempted suicide. So it's not that gun owners are more suicidal. It's that they're more likely to die in the event that they become suicidal, because they are using a gun."

In light of the facts, we clearly need to do more to curb access to guns for people at risk for suicide.

If we're serious about suicide prevention in the U.S., we have to include gun control in the conversation.

And conversely, if we're serious about reducing our gun death rate, we need to include suicide in our discussions. In the U.S., the statistics are strongly linked, a fact we shouldn't overlook.  

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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Architectural Digest/Youtube

This house was made with love.

Celebrity home tours are usually a divisive topic. Some find them fun and inspirational. Others find them tacky or out of touch. But this home tour has seemingly brought unanimous joy to all.

“Stranger Things” actor David Harbour and British singer-songwriter Lily Allen, whose Vegas wedding in 2020 came with an Elvis impersonator, gave a tour of their delightfully quirky Brooklyn townhouse for Architectural Digest, and people were absolutely loving it.

For one thing, the house just looks cool. There’s nothing monotone or minimalist about it. No beige to be seen.

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Finally, someone explains why we all need subtitles

It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.

So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.

They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.

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Health

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to run their YouthLine teen crisis hotline

“Each volunteer gets more than 60 hours of training, and master’s level supervisors are constantly on standby in the room.”

Oregon utilizes teen volunteers to man YouthLine teen crisis hotline

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

Mental health is a top-of-mind issue for a lot of people. Thanks to social media and people being more open about their struggles, the stigma surrounding seeking mental health treatment appears to be diminishing. But after the social and emotional interruption of teens due the pandemic, the mental health crises among adolescents seem to have jumped to record numbers.

PBS reports that Oregon is "ranked as the worst state for youth mental illness and access to care." But they're attempting to do something about it with a program that trains teenagers to answer crisis calls from other teens. They aren't alone though, as there's a master's level supervisor at the ready to jump in if the call requires a mental health professional.

The calls coming into the Oregon YouthLine can vary drastically, anywhere from relationship problems to family struggles, all the way to thoughts of self-harm and suicide. Teens manning the phones are provided with 60 hours of training and are taught to recognize when the call needs to be taken over by the adult supervisor.

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Family

Mom shares her brutal experience with 'hyperemesis gravidarum' and other moms can relate

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a severe case of morning sickness that can last up until the baby is born and might require medical attention.

@emilyboazman/TikTok

Hyperemesis gravidarum isn't as common as regular morning sickness, but it's much more severe.

Morning sickness is one of the most commonly known and most joked about pregnancy symptoms, second only to peculiar food cravings. While unpleasant, it can often be alleviated to a certain extent with plain foods, plenty of fluids, maybe some ginger—your typical nausea remedies. And usually, it clears up on its own by the 20-week mark. Usually.

But sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes moms experience stomach sickness and vomiting, right up until the baby is born, on a much more severe level.

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), isn’t as widely talked about as regular morning sickness, but those who go through it are likely to never forget it. Persistent, extreme nausea and vomiting lead to other symptoms like dehydration, fainting, low blood pressure and even jaundice, to name a few.

Emily Boazman, a mom who had HG while pregnant with her third child, showed just how big of an impact it can make in a viral TikTok.

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The cast of TLC's "Sister Wives."

Dating is hard for just about anyone. But it gets harder as people age because the dating pool shrinks and older people are more selective. Plus, changes in dating trends, online etiquette and fashion can complicate things as well.

“Sister Wives” star Christine Brown is back in the dating pool after ending her “spiritual union” with polygamist Kody Brown and she needs a little help to get back in the swing of things. Christine and Kody were together for more than 25 years and she shared him with three other women, Janelle, Meri and Robyn.

Janelle and Meri have recently announced they’ve separated from Kody. Christine publicly admitted that things were over with Kody in November 2021.

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