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John Kasaian
26-Jan-2015, 10:52
Morbid, I realize, but the recent thread that brought up Woodman's suicide made me think about this and I wondered what your thoughts might be-----
Is there anything you could recognize in a photographic print which would indicate that the photographer is in need of immediate suicide intervention?
Health professionals on MSM provide us with endless lists of warning signs (heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, depression, cancer, suicide, etc...) that list not only physical warnings but also mental which manifest in verbal communication (denial, as an example.)
Since photographers communicate visually is there anything visually observable in one's photography that might indicate a serious, pressing problem?:confused:

Jody_S
26-Jan-2015, 11:09
Hdr?

John Kasaian
26-Jan-2015, 11:11
Hdr? eh?:confused:

StoneNYC
26-Jan-2015, 11:27
Probably, but you wouldn't be able to prove it and it wouldn't count, you can only speculate. There certainly someone on this form in particular whose work took a very strange shift and you can definitely tell that the personality both by their entry and buy their way of speaking at reacting indicates that they are having some kind of mental breakdown, but there's no way to prove it, you need actual facts to intervene, that's the main problem with suicide prevention is the person has to actually have said point blank that they are planning to harm themselves, but those who really want to do it and aren't just looking to get attention, they are silent about it and you would never know.

This stuff is hard.

Jody_S
26-Jan-2015, 11:55
eh?:confused:

I was making a joke about depression and suicide.

Unless you score high on the psychotic side, most depressed and suicidal photographers stop making photographs, or may continue with some aspects but will stop finishing their work. A person might still shoot thousands of shots but stop developing them or printing them. Whenever I'm personally feeling down, I force myself to go out and shoot, scan and edit a bunch of pics, because that's my therapy. Could you tell from the finished product? I doubt it.

As for those with a strong psychotic side (not a bad thing, in the arts, and no I don't mean mentally ill), I think they don't generally gravitate to photography because it doesn't lend itself well to that kind of work. I've known exceptions, of course (excellent photographers whom I personally knew to be psychotic), but I didn't 'get' their work. And even they (well, the one person I knew well) took a multi-year break from photography in favor of meth when she was at her lowest.

paulr
26-Jan-2015, 12:29
Trying to guess at people's feelings and intentions from their art is dangerous business. A lot of kids, especially, get hit with interventions because they've drawn something someone found disturbing. By the same measures, the writers of half the things in hollywood should be locked up for their violent intentions.

Alan Gales
26-Jan-2015, 12:46
Hdr?

Jody, I think you are getting depression mixed up with schizophrenia. ;)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schizophrenia

Ari
26-Jan-2015, 12:58
Hdr?

:) good one

Jody_S
26-Jan-2015, 12:59
Jody, I think you are getting depression mixed up with schizophrenia. ;)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schizophrenia

No, I don't think so. Psychosis is not an on/off binary construct. You can have a strong psychotic vector to your personality but be a perfectly healthy, happy, well-adjusted person. You can also be bipolar, schizophrenic, substance abuser, religious fanatic, etc. But simply having a psychotic side to your psyche is not sufficient to label someone as mentally ill, much less schizophrenic.

Given the original topic, I should point out though those mental illnesses on the psychotic spectrum do tend to have astronomical suicide rates.

Oren Grad
26-Jan-2015, 13:08
Trying to guess at people's feelings and intentions from their art is dangerous business. A lot of kids, especially, get hit with interventions because they've drawn something someone found disturbing. By the same measures, the writers of half the things in hollywood should be locked up for their violent intentions.

In technical terms: the sensitivity, specificity and predictive value of any of this stuff is very low. In lay terms: you'd place a large number of innocent/basically healthy people under unjustified suspicion for every person you identify who is genuinely on the way to catastrophe.


This stuff is hard.

Yes!

Jac@stafford.net
26-Jan-2015, 13:35
In technical terms: the sensitivity, specificity and predictive value of any of this stuff is very low. In lay terms: you'd place a large number of innocent/basically healthy people under unjustified suspicion for every person you identify who is genuinely on the way to catastrophe.

So true.

I recall a couple studies of schizophrenic suicides. The great majority of such did not give signs of suicide before they ended their lives. A remarkable oversight of the study was the fact that those who did commit suicide and gave no signs had very recently visited their psychiatrist. Tragic irony abounds.

Old-N-Feeble
26-Jan-2015, 13:43
In my uneducated/untrained "opinion", suicide is more often a matter of begging for attention and help (intentionally unsuccessful attempts) and/or an angry lashing out at others who they feel, true or not, are the root of their anger and depression. Others just go quietly in the night and often make their departure look completely like an accident. The latter will never tell anyone of their intentions.

Jody_S
26-Jan-2015, 13:52
Jody, I think you are getting depression mixed up with schizophrenia. ;)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schizophrenia

Sorry, I missed the smiley-face. I guess because I knew the 'multiple-personality' Hollywood schizophrenia doesn't exist, I somehow thought you were being serious. I suppose HDR is a good visual approximation for that type of mental illness. Depression could be more along the lines of obsessing over the zone system for a decade only to completely lose it when Kodak discontinues your favorite film, then stashing $5,000 worth of it in your freezer only to refuse to shoot any of it, because when it's gone, it's gone.

John Kasaian
26-Jan-2015, 13:54
I should clarify my post in that I wasn't asking about what would justify a witch hunt, but what should be evident in the work of people we well know, such as family members, class-mates or neighbors---the same close relations we may have with people exhibiting classic signs of stroke or angina which would indicate the likelihood for needing immediate and responsible diagnosis by a trained professional.
At the risk of dancing on the peripheries of politics, there is always a danger of using an artist's mental health as an excuse for censorship and that's not what this thread is about so lets not go there, OK?
Rather, can someone whom you care about indicate, through their photography, an extraordinarily dangerous depression? And if so, how is it possible to recognize that condition?

John Kasaian
26-Jan-2015, 13:57
In my uneducated/untrained "opinion", suicide is more often a matter of begging for attention and help (intentionally unsuccessful attempts) and/or an angry lashing out at others who they feel, true or not, are the root of their anger and depression. Others just go quietly in the night and often make their departure look completely like an accident. The latter will never tell anyone of their intentions.
Could a photographer beg for that attention through a print? Do some photographers feel more confident in communicating through images rather than words?

John Kasaian
26-Jan-2015, 14:03
Sorry, I missed the smiley-face. I guess because I knew the 'multiple-personality' Hollywood schizophrenia doesn't exist, I somehow thought you were being serious. I suppose HDR is a good visual approximation for that type of mental illness. Depression could be more along the lines of obsessing over the zone system for a decade only to completely lose it when Kodak discontinues your favorite film, then stashing $5,000 worth of it in your freezer only to refuse to shoot any of it, because when it's gone, it's gone.
If I spent $5,000.00 on discontinued film I wouldn't need to kill myself---my family would have obliged my wishes immediately after the American Express statement showed up! :rolleyes:

StoneNYC
26-Jan-2015, 14:08
(snip)... Depression could be more along the lines of obsessing over the zone system for a decade only to completely lose it when Kodak discontinues your favorite film, then stashing $5,000 worth of it in your freezer only to refuse to shoot any of it, because when it's gone, it's gone.

No, no, that's another mental illness most here are afraid to mention because they are probably suffering from it a little bit... they call it hoarding...

Old-N-Feeble
26-Jan-2015, 14:17
Could a photographer beg for that attention through a print? Do some photographers feel more confident in communicating through images rather than words?

Yes, of course... just like any other form of communication. The hard part is recognizing it for what it "might be" while not overreacting and ruining someone's life.

Oren Grad
26-Jan-2015, 14:21
Rather, can someone whom you care about indicate, through their photography, an extraordinarily dangerous depression? And if so, how is it possible to recognize that condition?

Unfortunately it's not possible to do so reliably, just from photographs. Public policy issues aside, that is what we are telling you.

Jac@stafford.net
26-Jan-2015, 14:22
In my uneducated/untrained "opinion", suicide is more often a matter of begging for attention and help (intentionally unsuccessful attempts) and/or an angry lashing out at others who they feel, true or not, are the root of their anger and depression.

I would not point to a lack of education or training. Even some educated people have the same opinion. I consider the opinion arising from a profound lack of empathy, diced with anger.

Drew Wiley
26-Jan-2015, 14:26
I once saw a LF portrait of Curt Kobain (sp?) and had absolutely no idea of who he was, or why someone has gone to the trouble of taking his picture with high end
gear. But just the portrait itself gave me the impression he was someone right on the edge. Schizophrenics are something different, esp off their meds. They're on the streets around here, and apparently on certain web forums.

Richard Wasserman
26-Jan-2015, 14:32
I know this is not exactly what you are discussing, but a photo something like this drawing might be a clue to something being wrong? The poor girl grew up in a Nazi concentration camp and was asked to draw a picture of "Home". Photo by David Seymour— http://tinyurl.com/obnllfj

Old-N-Feeble
26-Jan-2015, 14:40
I would not point to a lack of education or training. Even some educated people have the same opinion. I consider the opinion arising from a profound lack of empathy, diced with anger.

I appreciate your comment. Please don't confuse my post with having lack of empathy or even sympathy. Again, I'm not a trained professional. My comment has to do with observation of others. And you snipped my last sentence, "Others just go quietly in the night and often make their departure look completely like an accident. The latter will never tell anyone of their intentions", which I suppose failed to clearly state that those individuals are probably not lashing out at others and are not asking for help but who have simply given up for some reason... unbearable sadness, poor health, etc.

John Kasaian
26-Jan-2015, 14:49
I know this is not exactly what you are discussing, but a photo something like this drawing might be a clue to something being wrong? The poor girl grew up in a Nazi concentration camp and was asked to draw a picture of "Home". Photo by David Seymour— http://tinyurl.com/obnllfj
What a sad, visual expression of that little girl's reality!
Disturbing images have value but I don't think disturbing images of thier own is indicative of concern (or many photographers would be working in rubber dark rooms!) Sometimes what a photographer wants to say is disturbing.
But what constitutes a visual plea for help? If it even can be seen, I think it would require a deeper than usual personal knowledge on the part of the photographer's family, friends and maybe professional acquaintances.
I know from personal experience that seemingly insignificant changes in words and body language can transmit that something is terribly wrong with a person and acknowledging that fact is sometimes all it takes for more substantial, much needed dialogue. Then sometimes, not.

John Kasaian
26-Jan-2015, 14:55
I appreciate your comment. Please don't confuse my post with having lack of empathy or even sympathy. Again, I'm not a trained professional. My comment has to do with observation of others. And you snipped my last sentence, "Others just go quietly in the night and often make their departure look completely like an accident. The latter will never tell anyone of their intentions", which I suppose failed to clearly state that those individuals are probably not lashing out at others and are not asking for help but who have simply given up for some reason... unbearable sadness, poor health, etc.
I'm certainly not a professional either. Unless we have a Psychiatrist on board we're all probably going off of observation but there is nothing wrong with that. The challenge is to recognize what we observe in real time and if it is a visual plea for help, or not.
I don't have an answer. The problem would make a dandy thesis for a Ph.D though, I wonder.....?

fishbulb
26-Jan-2015, 15:07
If anyone here is seriously looking for signs, it's more about looking for changes than it is looking for specific things.

For example, if your friend has always made lots of vibrant color prints of sun-drenched landscapes, and switches to high-contrast black and whites of churchyards, maybe they are depressed and thinking about death. On the other hand, if they went the opposite way, they may have lost their faith recently and are desperately trying to cheer themselves up.

Another example. Being a hoarder for years then giving stuff away - maybe they are preparing to not be around anymore. Being spartan and clean, and then suddenly a switch to hoarding - maybe they are converting money to items that they plan to leave as bequests. Who knows except them?

The most important part: if you notice a change in someone, ask them about it. Make plans for the future with them. Invite them along. Don't force them to pretend to be happy, just involve them in your life, talk to them, reach out. Be someone to live for.

Drew Wiley
26-Jan-2015, 15:10
... but is there such a thing as a sane psychiatrist?

jnanian
26-Jan-2015, 15:21
well, kurt cobain wanted to name one of his
last albums "mylife sucks and i want to kill myself"
and then .. eventually, he did.. ( probably a coincidence )

maybe it isn't the imagery you want to look at for clues, john but maybe, titles (why i mentioned kurt cobain)
on the same note, i wonder if what the last works sylvia plath, ian curtis, and arshile gorky did before they killed themselves.

Jody_S
26-Jan-2015, 15:25
... but is there such a thing as a sane psychiatrist?

Psychiatrists, yes. That's a medical specialization. Psychologists, no. There will be, in a few years, when clinical bio-psychologists have replaced the new-age cohort that came of age in the 60s-80s. Of course the vast majority of those with psychology degrees do not work in anything related to the field; you can find us pretty much anywhere, from fast food to janitorial jobs and most anything in between.

fishbulb
26-Jan-2015, 15:33
well, kurt cobain wanted to name one of his
last albums "mylife sucks and i want to kill myself"
and then .. eventually, he did.. ( probably a coincidence )

Indeed, he also had numerous references to such things in his lyrics. His song "I hate myself and I want to die" for instance. Awful song but the message was pretty clear. Combine that with a drug problem, a terrible childhood, and a train-wreck girlfriend, well there you go.

Just like Elliott Smith and Mark Linkous (both rock musicians, arguably better than Cobain but less well-known), everyone knew they were suicidal but few thought they had the courage to follow through and actually do it. Smith stabbed himself in the heart, Linkous shot himself in the heart. Their friends and family were surprised, but not that surprised.

The question everyone asks, when it's too late of course: what could have been done to prevent this?

Drew Wiley
26-Jan-2015, 16:22
Some of the most messed up people I've ever met, with the most messed up families, were psychiatrists. Just because they're MD's doesn't sway me, 'cause a lot of them are messed up too - perhaps too a high pressure career for some. Quite a few surgeons are heroin addicts. It's a national scandal, really. But I knew one shrink that raised his son by psychoanalysis, and the poor kid was middle aged before he knew who he was. There's seems to be something behind those TV sitcom
stereotypes about shrinks being worse than their own patients. But again, a stereotype is an observable trend, not a universal truth.

Old-N-Feeble
26-Jan-2015, 16:37
I once worked for a boss with a PHD in psychiatry but he never worked in the field. He was a graphic artist. My guess is he was by nature an artist but I never saw any of his personal works. He was a very nice, funny and intelligent guy but there were a couple times he said things that made me think he was a bit off his rocker... actually those things he said made it very clear he was definitely a bit off his rocker. AFAIK though he wasn't anything like suicidal... certainly a bit warped though.

John Kasaian
26-Jan-2015, 16:58
... but is there such a thing as a sane psychiatrist?Excellent point!

Toyon
26-Jan-2015, 17:09
Trying to guess at people's feelings and intentions from their art is dangerous business. A lot of kids, especially, get hit with interventions because they've drawn something someone found disturbing. By the same measures, the writers of half the things in hollywood should be locked up for their violent intentions.

Well said!

Drew Wiley
26-Jan-2015, 17:30
Yeah... like Dali.... making painting that look like they were done by an abnormal madman, but actually painted by a perfectly normal madman.

bloodhoundbob
26-Jan-2015, 17:33
As someone who worked alongside psychologists and psychiatrists for 27 years while evaluating mental disorders, and having been in a PsyD program myself, please let me weigh in on this. I'm sure the comment that NO psychologists are sane was made with tongue firmly in cheek, as I know a plethora of "sane" psychologists, who are very professional and passionate about their work. As others have pointed out, trying to pick someone's future behavior is problematic, at best, best exemplified by the mass shooters who slip through the cracks. As to another comment on here that someone can be psychotic with having a mental disorder; well, that is just mind-boggling. Mental illness is almost at epidemic proportions in this country, as 60% of people on Social Security Disability have either a primary or secondary diagnosis of a mental disorder.

Mark Stahlke
26-Jan-2015, 17:36
I've suffered periodic bouts of depression, times when I identify strongly with this photograph.
128539

Jody_S
26-Jan-2015, 19:14
...I'm sure the comment that NO psychologists are sane was made with tongue firmly in cheek, as I know a plethora of "sane" psychologists, who are very professional and passionate about their work...

Of course.

bloodhoundbob
26-Jan-2015, 20:32
Of course.

That being said, I must say that not all of my co-workers and colleagues were what we consider "sane". One of the students in my class of 25 in the doctoral program was a female who ended up in jail for stalking one of my co-workers who was also in the program. Scary lady!

John Kasaian
26-Jan-2015, 21:06
I enjoyed the company of a psychiatrist who had graduated from the Hungarian Gymnasium before WW2 and studied under Mortimer Adler at the University of Chicago. He knew about a half dozen different languages and was a much valued member of our little study group which was trying to fathom the Summa Theologica.
He had lots of stories and his greatest irritation was his work with the County Mental Health Dept., which kept the old gent on staff for no other reason than to write prescriptions so the psychologists could drug their "clients" rather than providing (in his view) proper diagnosis and treatment. Drugs being more cost effective.

Leszek Vogt
26-Jan-2015, 21:22
Several years back I was introduced to a fella who was a psychologist in Santa Monica (he could have been a psychiatrist). He would not leave his apartment. He had a cat, who would prance to the end of the counter....and with the door open, he would not leave the apt, as well. Although I experienced this first-hand, I can't paint psychologists with similar "brush".

But, getting back to what John said. I've looked at one website (here) where the photos were quite dark overall....and I'm not talking about the quality of light. Often we are the product of a culture and their influences....and some of us are capable of escaping it...or rather being able to look at it from outside in....perhaps more than others. Anyway, I'm doubting this person quite understands why he perpetuates this view. It made me wonder why the dark shadows are so embraceable....and if there is something more deeper (or even sinister) having to continue on these rails ? Something that we hold onto from our past ? I'm not qualify to answer any of this - just observing.....And I happen to like the B&W.

Les

Richard Wasserman
26-Jan-2015, 21:26
Small world. My great uncle Rudolf Dreikurs, was Alfred Adler's colleague. He founded the Alfred Adler Institute in 1952. His wife Sadie, who was a talented painter, pretty much invented art therapy.


I enjoyed the company of a psychiatrist who had graduated from the Hungarian Gymnasium before WW2 and studied under Mortimer Adler at the University of Chicago. He knew about a half dozen different languages and was a much valued member of our little study group which was trying to fathom the Summa Theologica.
He had lots of stories and his greatest irritation was his work with the County Mental Health Dept., which kept the old gent on staff for no other reason than to write prescriptions so the psychologists could drug their "clients" rather than providing (in his view) proper diagnosis and treatment. Drugs being more cost effective.

bloodhoundbob
26-Jan-2015, 21:45
Small world. My great uncle Rudolf Dreikurs, was Alfred Adler's colleague. He founded the Alfred Adler Institute in 1952. His wife Sadie, who was a talented painter, pretty much invented art therapy.

Small world, indeed......Our doctoral program was with Adler School of Professional Psychology. The professors traveled from Chicago to Springfield each weekend for our classes.

Bill Burk
26-Jan-2015, 22:29
Just to offer a counterpoint... I think talking about suicide prevents it, even if with humor.

So here are some counters to the indications presented so far...

Having a backlog of film developing to-do is one of the surest expressions of hope for the future.

Having a hoarde of film for future shooting is another expression of desire for a long life.

Knowing how to test film is another way to be ready for the future.

John Kasaian
26-Jan-2015, 22:48
I'd doubt the darkness of the subject matter would be indicative. Photographers have the entire world to record and some of it can be quite dark.
I'm tending to agree with what many here have said about unusual changes in "direction" being something more a concern.
It is funny in a way---photographers "speak" with images all the time while curators, Art professors and other experts can claim to know exactly what some famous photographers are saying through their images, and yet there is a peculiar inability to recognize when a photographer (or other Artists) uses their chosen medium--the language in which they feel they are perhaps most eloquent--- to cry for help.

Alan Gales
27-Jan-2015, 10:37
Sorry, I missed the smiley-face. I guess because I knew the 'multiple-personality' Hollywood schizophrenia doesn't exist, I somehow thought you were being serious. I suppose HDR is a good visual approximation for that type of mental illness. Depression could be more along the lines of obsessing over the zone system for a decade only to completely lose it when Kodak discontinues your favorite film, then stashing $5,000 worth of it in your freezer only to refuse to shoot any of it, because when it's gone, it's gone.

I'm just joking around with you. One of the symptoms of schizophrenia is that you don't recognize what is real. HDR is fine when done so you can't tell it's been used but most people make these sickly sweet, unreal looking photos that look nothing like reality. After looking at a few of them in a row, I just want to gag. ;)

bloodhoundbob
27-Jan-2015, 10:54
I'd doubt the darkness of the subject matter would be indicative. Photographers have the entire world to record and some of it can be quite dark.
I'm tending to agree with what many here have said about unusual changes in "direction" being something more a concern.
It is funny in a way---photographers "speak" with images all the time while curators, Art professors and other experts can claim to know exactly what some famous photographers are saying through their images, and yet there is a peculiar inability to recognize when a photographer (or other Artists) uses their chosen medium--the language in which they feel they are perhaps most eloquent--- to cry for help.

John: I think you have summed it up very eloquently.....thank you

dsphotog
29-Jan-2015, 19:36
One warning sign would be quitting LF film photography... To switch to digital.
Or maybe starting, or contributing to threads like this one.

Ironage
30-Jan-2015, 06:58
So true.

I recall a couple studies of schizophrenic suicides. The great majority of such did not give signs of suicide before they ended their lives. A remarkable oversight of the study was the fact that those who did commit suicide and gave no signs had very recently visited their psychiatrist. Tragic irony abounds.

I wouldn't call it tragic, but my experience has been that psychiatrists have no tools in their toolbox to deal with despair. The person contemplating suicide would realize this after their visit, and the despair would be increased. Despair can be exasperated by psychological factors of course, but the source is a loss of meaning, purpose and hope. A visit to a rabbi or pastor would have be the way to go to help deal with the inner issues.

As far as signs in their photography. Pictures taken in high latitudes in the winter, and developed in alcohol. Here in Montana as you go further north you see many more people effected by these darkness, and seeking joy in the bottle of medicine which also takes away your inhibitions against pulling the trigger.

Jody_S
30-Jan-2015, 11:45
I wouldn't call it tragic, but my experience has been that psychiatrists have no tools in their toolbox to deal with despair. The person contemplating suicide would realize this after their visit, and the despair would be increased.

The tool is CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), unfortunately it was developed and tested on college kids, not people with real-world problems. There isn't much the therapist can do for people who have real problems that have no practical solution. So yes, people run up against this fact if they try it in a psychiatrist or psychologist's office, and tend to leave just as, or more, hopeless as they were before. That's if they could afford the trip in the first place.

dsphotog
30-Jan-2015, 11:53
Photography is great therapy, get out & look at the good stuff out there!

MDR
30-Jan-2015, 11:59
The tool is CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), unfortunately it was developed and tested on college kids, not people with real-world problems. There isn't much the therapist can do for people who have real problems that have no practical solution. So yes, people run up against this fact if they try it in a psychiatrist or psychologist's office, and tend to leave just as, or more, hopeless as they were before. That's if they could afford the trip in the first place.

I hope your remark on college kids was tongue in cheek because I would say that many college students do have real world problems looking at the cost of tuition fees in the US and the UK which can amount to the cost of a house and having to work and study means that quiet a lot of them have real world problems, even children of rich parents do have real world problems.

If someone is really desperate and really wants to commit suicide there is no way to stop it. When I worked as a paramedic there was a person who tried to commit suicide several times he just had the bad luck for him that when he tried to hang himself the tree branch broke etc... this didn't stop him though the last time he tried successfully to commit suicide he climbed onto a house attached the rope onto the chimney and jumped the chimney did not break his neck did. The police a psychologist etc.. tried to stop him nothing helped he just wanted to die.

As someone in this thread said the best way to see if someone wants to commit suicide is to look for change which isn't a foolproof indicator, as for seing suicidal tendencies in images I doubt it. Some of the most depressing photographs I know were made by people who are very unlikely to commit suicide.

Old-N-Feeble
30-Jan-2015, 12:05
Change can certainly be an indicator. But if the person doesn't want you to know then he/she will not show any obvious change. In fact, they're likely to make it look like an accident so no one left behind has any feelings of guilt.

Jac@stafford.net
30-Jan-2015, 12:43
The tool is CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), unfortunately it was developed and tested on college kids, not people with real-world problems.[...]

Would you have a citation that shows that CBT was developed and tested on college students? If you are rigorous, you will find that 'it' was formed through a consensus of practitioners through many studies rather than from a single study-constituency.

The scope of its concerns include very much of 'real world' personal issues.

Jac@stafford.net
30-Jan-2015, 12:50
Change can certainly be an indicator. But if the person doesn't want you to know then he/she will not show any obvious change. In fact, they're likely to make it look like an accident so no one left behind has any feelings of guilt.

OK, I call.

Who is 'they', and what percentage of successful suicides fit the profile you just made? Certainly not a significant number as evinced only in part that something like 40% of suicides are done with a firearm. That leaves lots of rooms for other means, such as poisoning or suffocating which are as likely to be obviously intentional as shooting.
.

StoneNYC
30-Jan-2015, 12:51
The tool is CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), unfortunately it was developed and tested on college kids, not people with real-world problems. There isn't much the therapist can do for people who have real problems that have no practical solution. So yes, people run up against this fact if they try it in a psychiatrist or psychologist's office, and tend to leave just as, or more, hopeless as they were before. That's if they could afford the trip in the first place.

I wouldn't discount college kids, especially anyone who doesn't fit in or is anywhere outside of the "norm" with all the suicides of GLBTG high school and college kids, the pressure to succeed if you're going to a high pressure school like MIT with some of the highest rates of suicide etc, school kids have more real world problems that are actually linked to pressure put on them by others than anyone, adults have pressures imposed on them by themselves more than by others. Seems "real world" is a perception of your reality.

That said I wanted to look up the stats, it seems if you're white, male, and in your 50's you're basically screwed... which backs up my statement that self imposed pressures are stronger with older people. Supposedly no one has it better than a white male in his 50's, the epitome of the privileged class...

https://www.afsp.org/understanding-suicide/facts-and-figures

Old-N-Feeble
30-Jan-2015, 12:53
OK, I call.

Who is 'they', and what percentage of successful suicides fit the profile you just made? Certainly not a significant number as evinced only in part that something like 40% of suicides are done with a firearm. That leaves lots of rooms for other means, such as poisoning or suffocating which are as likely to be obviously intentional as shooting.
.

I make no claims of being an "expert". Mine are only observations and via conversations with others.

Jody_S
30-Jan-2015, 16:33
Would you have a citation that shows that CBT was developed and tested on college students? If you are rigorous, you will find that 'it' was formed through a consensus of practitioners through many studies rather than from a single study-constituency.

The scope of its concerns include very much of 'real world' personal issues.

No, I don't have a citation, I no longer have access to a proper library. I agree that the idea of CBT came from practitioners in the field, but the method was validated by academics using their pet subjects, college kids.

My comment about 'real-world problems' amounts to this: a college kid has options in life, and CBT is all about getting people to see their options. Someone who works shifts at McDonalds, shares a shitty apartment with 5 others, is 2 or 3 low-hour weeks away from being homeless, who ends up in an emergency room with a diagnosis of some treatable cancer (if you have insurance + money), does not have options. CBT won't be of much help, even if this hypothetical person could find a doc to give the therapy for free.

But then, my hypothetical person shouldn't be diagnosed with depression to begin with, because the diagnosis is conditional on not having immediate problems like pending homelessness and cancer. Distress and even hopelessness is a normal reaction to both.

MrFujicaman
30-Jan-2015, 17:47
Uhhhh...I hate to ask, but who's Woodman ?


Morbid, I realize, but the recent thread that brought up Woodman's suicide made me think about this and I wondered what your thoughts might be-----
Is there anything you could recognize in a photographic print which would indicate that the photographer is in need of immediate suicide intervention?
Health professionals on MSM provide us with endless lists of warning signs (heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, depression, cancer, suicide, etc...) that list not only physical warnings but also mental which manifest in verbal communication (denial, as an example.)
Since photographers communicate visually is there anything visually observable in one's photography that might indicate a serious, pressing problem?:confused:

Jac@stafford.net
30-Jan-2015, 19:23
No, I don't have a citation, I no longer have access to a proper library. I agree that the idea of CBT came from practitioners in the field, but the method was validated by academics using their pet subjects, college kids.

Hearsay is not peer juried research. I worked in academe for over thirty years and know there are more blowhards than scholars. I must disregard your contribution.

Concerning the availability of good scholarly research, I sympathize. One of the great tragedies today is that so much research supported by public money is being held captive by self-appointed enterprises that insist that we pay again for what we have already paid. Scum of the Earth comes to mind.
.

fishbulb
30-Jan-2015, 20:38
That said I wanted to look up the stats, it seems if you're white, male, and in your 50's you're basically screwed... which backs up my statement that self imposed pressures are stronger with older people. Supposedly no one has it better than a white male in his 50's, the epitome of the privileged class...

That's mostly an age effect I'm sure. Decades of sociology research has shown that (in the U.S. and Europe anyway) being a white male is like playing the game of life on the easiest difficulty setting. Doesn't make you an automatic winner, but it sure makes things easier.

StoneNYC
30-Jan-2015, 21:12
Uhhhh...I hate to ask, but who's Woodman ?

Never mind, I was wrong, I thought the post was actually in this thread but I can't seem to find it... She's a photographer who shot a lot of nude self-portraits and apparently committed suicide...

John Kasaian
30-Jan-2015, 21:38
...by jumping out of a window. She was 22 years old.

StoneNYC
31-Jan-2015, 07:51
...by jumping out of a window. She was 22 years old.

That's rare, statistically women tend not to commit suicide in ways that would disfigure their face/ body, so I've read, really quite sad, I would be interested to know more about her and I guess I should look her up some time and read some more in-depth information.

Toyon
31-Jan-2015, 08:06
As someone who worked alongside psychologists and psychiatrists for 27 years while evaluating mental disorders, and having been in a PsyD program myself, please let me weigh in on this. I'm sure the comment that NO psychologists are sane was made with tongue firmly in cheek, as I know a plethora of "sane" psychologists, who are very professional and passionate about their work. As others have pointed out, trying to pick someone's future behavior is problematic, at best, best exemplified by the mass shooters who slip through the cracks. As to another comment on here that someone can be psychotic with having a mental disorder; well, that is just mind-boggling. Mental illness is almost at epidemic proportions in this country, as 60% of people on Social Security Disability have either a primary or secondary diagnosis of a mental disorder.

Since psychosis can be caused by physiological condition (e.g. severe dehydration, sensory deprivation, etc.). It is correct to say that there need be no underlying disorder.

Jac@stafford.net
31-Jan-2015, 08:50
[...] Mental illness is almost at epidemic proportions in this country, as 60% of people on Social Security Disability have either a primary or secondary diagnosis of a mental disorder.

As of January 2014 it was 35.5 percent. See summary here (http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/ali-meyer/355-disability-beneficiaries-have-mental-disorder-432-dc), and from that page you can find links to the authoritative SS reports.

What is 'secondary diagnosis', and is it meaningful?

...or is this getting into politics? I will stop here and defer to the moderators.

Jody_S
31-Jan-2015, 09:14
Since psychosis can be caused by physiological condition (e.g. severe dehydration, sensory deprivation, etc.). It is correct to say that there need be no underlying disorder.

I'm starting to regret saying anything in this thread; I only jumped in because of personal experience with major depression, using photography as therapy.

My point about psychosis is that it isn't an on/off, you-have-it-or-you-don't, phenomenon. There's a spectrum, and at some arbitrary and (AFAIK) undefined point, someone like a psychiatrist says "You are psychotic". At that point, yes we are usually dealing with a mentally ill person. But that is just the 'tip of the iceberg', so to speak, the extreme cases that rise to the level of clinical psychosis. What about the person who can lie on their back and see animals in the clouds? What about the person who hears their dead grandmother speak to them when they're stressed? What about the people who fast on religious holidays and feel God? These are not just figures of speech; ie, just because I can't do any of these things doesn't mean other people don't experience these (perfectly normal) phenomena. For many, this might be a daily, or at will, fact of life, and these people live healthy, happy, not mentally-ill, lives.

John Kasaian
31-Jan-2015, 09:21
There shouldn't be any need for political discussion nor the merits of different schools of Psychological theory. The issue is the possibility of being able to identify colleagues who indicate, in visual language they could be at risk, and reaching out to them in a timely and appropriate way?
Or at least that's the question I hoped to ask:o

Jac@stafford.net
31-Jan-2015, 09:24
There shouldn't be any need for political discussion nor the merits of different schools of Psychological theory. The issue is the possibility of being able to identify colleagues who indicate, in visual language they could be at risk, and reaching out to them in a timely and appropriate way?
Or at least that's the question I hoped to ask:o

Noted, and properly redirected back to the subject.

bloodhoundbob
31-Jan-2015, 09:25
Since psychosis can be caused by physiological condition (e.g. severe dehydration, sensory deprivation, etc.). It is correct to say that there need be no underlying disorder.

Toyon: You are right, of course, as I was discounting transient psychotic states, e.g., LSD-induced hallucinations, etc. I was relating personal experiences of chronic psychotics, such as those associated with schizophrenia, Major Depression, and the such.

bloodhoundbob
31-Jan-2015, 09:32
As of January 2014 it was 35.5 percent. See summary here (http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/ali-meyer/355-disability-beneficiaries-have-mental-disorder-432-dc), and from that page you can find links to the authoritative SS reports.

What is 'secondary diagnosis', and is it meaningful?

...or is this getting into politics? I will stop here and defer to the moderators.

Jac: Nothing political about this at all. I should have pointed out that the 60% figure was passed down to our Illinois disability office by the Chicago Regional Office or Baltimore HQ of Social Security around 2002, which is the year I retired. All official disability evaluations have blocks for a primary and secondary diagnosis. Most, but not all individuals, would have a secondary diagnosis, be it mental or physical. I could not tell from the link that you provided if they were considering both categories, or just primary.

Jody_S
31-Jan-2015, 10:17
There shouldn't be any need for political discussion nor the merits of different schools of Psychological theory. The issue is the possibility of being able to identify colleagues who indicate, in visual language they could be at risk, and reaching out to them in a timely and appropriate way?
Or at least that's the question I hoped to ask:o

The reason I brought up psychosis and people who live with this every day is that artists with this ability (for lack of a better word) tend to be the ones who express themselves with metaphors, abstracts, surrealist pieces, etc. No I don't have a citation for this, should anyone ask, let's just call that my personal experience. Those of us without any experience of alternate realities or sensations, even in extreme circumstances, tend to view the world much more literally and might struggle to create a visual metaphor. That's why I take pictures of rocks and trees, they're real, but I'm leaving myself open to impressionism. I digress. Those who do express themselves with visual metaphors might very well leave clues in their work about their state of mind, or even intentions of suicide, and you might be able to analyze their subjects and other choices and be able to pick up on that. My initial point is that these people don't gravitate to photography as an artistic medium, much less B&W photography, because as a medium, it does not lend itself well to that sort of expression. You're more likely to find them drawing or painting or creating music.

So, again in my personal experience, a B&W photographer going through a major depression and possibly contemplating suicide, is more likely to stop taking photographs, or might focus on the parts of the craft that bring him satisfaction (in my case, shooting), while neglecting the parts he finds dreary (like darkroom work). So you might find someone who has simply stopped, or shot hundreds of sheets of film, but hasn't developed or printed any in months or years. I would take this as a much more reliable indicator of mood than the content or style of most B&W photographs.

But it is certainly possible that someone has used photography as his primary means of communicating, and therefore uses the medium to express his emotions in this instance. You would need to be close enough to the person to know this to be able to pick up on it. And I do believe that those persons who are communicating their distress and hopelessness are less likely to be planning suicide (due to depression, not necessarily if it's due to real-life circumstances like a terminal illness).