So many students report feeling hopeless and empty. Suicides among young people are rising. Young people are desperate for help, but a frayed system keeps failing them despite its best efforts. I am Ramon Solhkhah, the chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall. I’ve seen the tragic effects of mental illness firsthand. Ask me anything.


Suicidal thoughts and behaviors can be reduced. If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text TALK to 741741.

Comments: 1470 • Responses: 16  • Date: 

Germanistic815 karma

Is there any difference in the amounts of suicide and depression based on medical issues? Like ADHD or say dyslexia? Compared to the normal average students?

njdotcom845 karma

ADHD and Dyslexia are psychiatric conditions that can increase the risk of depression and anxiety. You can imagine that difficulty students would face as it relates to school and socialization. These stressors are significant but with proper treatment of ADHD and Dyslexia, will certainly minimize the risk of depression and ultimately the risk of suicide. - Dr. Solhkhah

BloodKingX397 karma

What are some of the biggest factors in suicide do you think, and this one is important to me personally, what do you think directionless young adults should do to get over the existentialism of not feeling that could ever succeed in more traditional careers? (Me personally, I’m 18, and the only path I see going forward is to become a writer, or join the military, which the outlook on me doing is not good)

njdotcom153 karma

I'm sorry to hear that you're struggling but I'm so glad you reached out and asked me the question. Please know that you're not alone - many adults have difficulty in deciding a career choice and these decisions can be daunting at times. Talking to a someone is a good first step to help sort through these issues. School guidance, mental health therapist, or vocational therapist are available in most community organizations. Also you can also speak to someone on a hotline (1-800-273-8255) or if you need immediate attention or go to you local emergency room where you can get immediate attention to your needs. - Dr. Solhkhah

Telescope_Horizon265 karma

How big of a role does social media, like Reddit, play in the massive uptick in depression among users?

njdotcom320 karma

Social Media is certainly an outlet for many people that suffer from depression utilize. Just like most things, there are "pluses and minuses" in have an social media account. Social media can provide necessary support and understanding, by connecting them to groups of people with similar issues. This can be very beneficial if done in a thoughtful manner. It can also be not be so beneficial if the interaction leads to feeling more isolated and not finding the support that is needed. If you use the AMA on Reddit today, this is a great venue to seek information and provide the necessary information needed in helping those that are feeling depressed. Thanks for a great question! - Dr. Solhkhah

whhe1194 karma

What do you think about the current research on psycadelic assisted therapy specifically psilocybin? Does the idea that set and setting could be more important then the specific psycadelic being used suggest that we may be coming at drug based therapies wrong by prescribing drugs and not including behavioral changes and life situation adjustments to go along with them?

njdotcom128 karma

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 17.3 M (7.1%) of adults suffer from depression in the United States. Of those, some will be resistant to classical treatment of depression. There are some studies involving drugs such as Ketamine that have proven to be effective. Psylocibin research is ongoing but still too early to determine if it would be an effective intervention for the treatment of depression. Antidepressant treatment alone is beneficial in some forms of depression, but a combination of medications and therapy are by far the best treatment modality for depression. Whether Psylocibin will contribute to being a beneficial drug is too early to tell. - Dr. Solhkhah

njdotcom49 karma

Good morning ... thank you for joining us for this very important topic. Please post your questions. Ramon will be online to respond to your questions beginning at noon eastern.

Hippokrates45 karma

In your opinion, why do you think anxiety in particular is so high in young people? Is there a particular experience or central factor that plays in high anxiety?

My brother and sister (23 - 25) were diagnosed with moderate / severe anxiety and were given meds to help them cope. I have no idea why they have anxiety issues as we were all brought up in the same house and experienced almost everything together. The only difference between our upbringing was that they went to live on dorms for college while I commuted from home. I do not know why they have anxiety issues and they don't either.

njdotcom77 karma

I agree that young people have unique stressors that contribute to increasing levels of anxiety. In particularly, internet access. In a world of immediate gratification like having items coming to your home in 2 days or less, not having to leave your house to get food, etc young people struggle with regulating their distress and tolerance. The need for an "immediate fix", if not obtained, may lead to increase anxiety. If supports systems, such as friends and family, are not ample enough to help mitigate this, anxiety can certainly increase. - R.S.

bing60334 karma

How can third world young people address this where mental health is a topic of stigma and no one really bothers about it?

njdotcom27 karma

Stigma is a significant concern when trying to address mental illness. Education is key and needs to be tailored to the cultures and customs of your area. Here is a great article that can help give you some insight to your question. - R.S.

TwentyOneIsles22 karma

What are your thoughts on Michelle Carter and the more recent case of Inyoung You where people are being charged for pressuring their “loved” ones into suicide? Does the psychology back the idea that a person can be forced into killing themselves because of their significant other’s wishes? How do these cases differ from typical cases of bullying into suicide and how are they the same?

njdotcom30 karma

These are very unfortunate cases where someone suffering from depression reached out to someone that thought they could confide in. Depressed patients are vulnerable and should be treated as such. Suggesting or telling them to do something that is harmful is an act of maleficence. In these cases, the depressed person was willing and open to hear the other person thoughts and opinions whereas in bullying is the complete opposite of that. - R.S.

samcat1117 karma

How do you feel about weed for depression and anxiety?

njdotcom71 karma

The research shows no clinical evidence that cannabis is beneficial as a treatment for depression or anxiety at this time. - R.S.

likechoklit4choklit16 karma

have you looked at atmospheric deposition of elemental mercury? Some places like Utah have a yearly deposition of enough mercury to cause hand tremors in dentists, who, in their golden days, had a disproportionately high amount of suicides, possibly due to mercury exposure

njdotcom14 karma

I have not, but I'm interested in learning more - following. R.S.

thelandsofnod2 karma

Why is there not a more concerted effort to ban vapes/cigarettes/nicotine when it’s so obviously harmful to mental health, especially for young people?

The loss of taste/smell when smoking contributes to memory loss, malnutrition & exacerbates mental illness. Anecdotally, I’ve observed most psych in patient’s are heavy smokers.

njdotcom3 karma

I can't agree more! Vaping in particularly is becoming a huge concern for teens and we all need to create a sense of urgency in addressing it. All nicotine products are detrimental for both physical and mental overall health. The FDA, in particular, has fallen short in implement rules and regulations to vaping products, in particularly advertisement and warning labels. Their is a misconception that vaping products are "safer" than cigarettes which is just not true. Communities, School and healthcare providers need to educate parents and teens about the risks of vaping and other nicotine products. It starts with education at home, making sure parents talk to there kids about the risks, as well as advocating to our local and government officials to pass laws that regulating the sale and use of these products. - Dr. Solhkhah

Sixunderground002 karma

In your opinion, what's the best clinical/therapeutic method of counselling people with anxiety/depression?

njdotcom4 karma

The best clinical intervention in regards to counseling is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It is the most studied type of psychotherapy that has proven effective in improving symptoms. That said the best overall treatment for depression is combined treatment of CBT and medications, which is superior to drugs and psychotherapy alone. - R.S.

njdotcom1 karma

Thank you for all your thought provoking questions. Please remember you're not alone and that there is help in addressing your needs. Please note the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text TALK to 741741 for yourself or if you're trying to assist someone in seeking help. Thank you all for participating and the AMA is now complete. - Dr. Solhkhah