Existential roundup

Welcome to the Existential Roundup, where we bring you links to some articles currently trending that may be of interest to those in the existential-humanistic psychology community.

The New York Times article “When Grief Won’t Relent” discusses the difference between typical grief from the loss of a loved one and when it crosses the line into complicated grief. While it may be controversial to suggest there is a point when grieving becomes a mental illness, the article examines the equally controversial idea that anti-depressants are not the best way to treat complicated grief.

Grief can be augmented for the clinicians who lose a client to suicide. Stigma not only affects the manner in which clinicians seek support, but it can also alter the clients they choose to assist. When a client is lost, grief is only one emotion that affects clinicians. Fear of litigation can result in isolation, complicating the process.

Prevention of suicide may seem insurmountable in some cases, but Mad In America examines a recent study that suggests that austerity measures in Greece increased suicide by 30 percent. The simple fact remains that some events in our everyday lives may influence some people to view life’s trouble as insurmountable, making suicide appear a reasonable solution.

In some cases, the guilt a child feels that appears to be inconsistent with the offense may be linked to adult depression later in life. The Atlantic highlights the neurological connection found between a smaller anterior insula volume in the brain of a child and the positively correlated high level of guilt in the young participants of the study. It suggests that early feelings of guilt may contribute to the brain development differences, which have already been associated with depression.

Countering such early influences may be as simple as learning mindfulness, as Donna Rockwell, a New Existentialists contributor, offers. In an article for the Huffington Post, she posits that we can learn to “mindfully attend to life, rather than emotionally react to it” through meditation. Meditation can increase oxytocin and reduce cortisol, which aggravates an already depressed attitude.

Mindfulness has been proven successful in correcting insomnia, which is commonly associated with suicide. A New York Times article reports the results of a study that compared the use of sleep aids to mindfulness and meditation to improve sleep issues in adults over the age of 50. Not surprisingly, mindfulness meditation produced better results, even better than caffeine avoidance.

Some suicide prevention programs may be as simple as posting a Facebook status. Facebook is implementing a new program that will read a status, screen for suicidal potential, and offer the individual a series of options, such as contacting a professional or a number to call for the user. It may provide a quicker response to those struggling with despair and hopelessness.

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