“Can An Algorithm Stop Suicides?” AND More on Best 5 Thursday Reads

Hello and welcome to another edition of Best 5 Reads. Lets begin!

1) Can an algorithm stop suicides by spotting the signs of despair?

Predicting whether people plan to kill themselves is a complicated science still in its infancy – but some researchers say machines can do it better than we can.

2) Is mental malaise the psychological equivalent of obesity?

Concerns about the mental health status of young people are increasing with some epidemiological research purporting to suggest heretofore unheard of and skyrocketing rates of Depression and Anxiety Disorders. The response to this information has often been to call for more specialty mental health services and to create social interventions that are designed to lessen what much commentary calls “huge pressures” supposedly facing young people. Media headlines featuring the words “epidemic” and “crisis” linked to terms “mental health” and “mental illness” are becoming increasingly common.

Unfortunately, all this attention is not likely to help us understand what social phenomenon we may be witnessing nor whether many of the proposed interventions are likely to help. A new mental health briefing paper published last week well illustrates this point (Patalay & Fitzsimons, 2017).

3) Was This Agitation Just Part of Her Postpartum Anxiety, or Something Much More Serious?

“Something’s wrong,” the 27-year-old woman said to her new husband. “I think you need to take me to the hospital.” It was the day after their wedding. The woman’s husband and her best friend were car fanatics, and so the newlyweds had wanted to commemorate their union with pictures at a drift track in rural Toutle, Wash. The best friend would “drift cookies,” circling the couple in a tight, controlled skid. As another friend took pictures, the two embraced, wreathed by smoke and dust and barely contained chaos as the red Mustang fishtailed around them. In the photos, the couple look happy.

4) The most wonderful time of the year

The holiday season is almost upon us: a time of year that, for most people, brings happiness. Worries forgotten, many curl up in front of the TV to watch It’s a Wonderful Life (or the arguably superior Muppet Christmas Carol), surround themselves with family and food, and head out for fireworks to see in the New Year. However, for others, the holiday season can be the loneliest—rather than the most wonderful—time of year, amplified by societal expectations of happiness and company.

5) A Memory From Out of the Blue

People sometimes experience random recollections during routine tasks such as housekeeping. Scientists call them “mind-pops.”

Thank you and see you tomorrow for more articles.

Best Regards,

Vikram


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