An interview with Dr Marisa Marraccini

CW: This put up references suicide

The MQ Basis could be very proud to be working with the American Basis for Suicide Prevention to help the work of latest MQ Fellow and researcher Dr. Marisa Marraccini from the College of North Carolina. 

We caught up with Marisa to ask her 9 questions on her life and work.


What made you need to work in suicide/psychological well being analysis?

I’ve all the time been amazed by youngsters – particularly their strengths as they face such a tough time in growth. They’re navigating the strain between societal and household expectations, with their want for independence; they’re creating extra intense relationships with their friends, that are extremely significant and might depart them feeling extremely weak; in the meantime, their brains and our bodies are quickly creating, making them liable to dangerous selections and behaviours. All of this factors to the urgency for bettering the way in which we help teen psychological well being.

As soon as I started coaching as a college psychologist, it grew to become actually clear to me that we have to do higher for our teenagers scuffling with suicide-related crises. Adults can really feel unsettled and nervous as soon as a teen experiences having suicidal ideas, and this could lead adults to deal with them otherwise. We might overlook that teenagers having suicidal ideas are nonetheless going through all the identical points as earlier than. And there’s one thing about this specific pressure – that when teenagers battle essentially the most, adults might reply poorly or draw back, as an alternative of leaning in holistically to care for college students – that basically drew me to this challenge.


Are there any frequent misconceptions about suicide?

There are various misconceptions about suicide.

A typical one is the false perception that speaking to youth about suicide or suicide-related behaviours will enhance their probability of participating in suicide-related behaviours. There are experimental research refuting this. In case you are anxious about the potential for somebody being in danger for suicide, it’s actually essential to ask them if they’re contemplating suicide immediately. This may be step one to getting that individual assist.

Alternatively, communications a few demise resulting from suicide which might be over simplified (suggesting just one factor precipitated a suicide), glamourised, or romanticised can encourage suicidal ideas and behaviours in youth. It’s simple to get these two points mixed-up, leaving folks afraid to speak about suicide with youth – however it’s actually essential that we do.

One other false impression is the concept means restriction (limiting entry to means for hurt) doesn’t work, and that children who need to try suicide will merely discover one other approach. However truly, means restriction is linked to reductions in suicide, and is a extremely essential method to take after we are involved a few teen in disaster.


Why are some teams of younger folks at larger threat of suicide than others?

There is no such thing as a single issue that may be attributed to threat for suicide. Reasonably, there are a lot of converging elements that may result in a state of hopelessness or despair which will result in suicide. Though threat for suicide is exclusive to every particular person, youth with shared identities might face some overlapping environmental threat elements. For instance, LGBTQIA+ and Black and brown youth might face obstructions to well being and psychological well being care, in addition to pervasive discrimination, together with homonegativity and racism. Sadly, household and parental rejection of LGBTQIA+ youth is frequent; and, in the US, Black and brown youth usually tend to obtain harsh disciplinary procedures in class. These are examples of a number of the tense experiences youth might have that may confer threat for suicide, which can present some perception into why sure teams of younger folks might have heightened threat for suicide.


Why is it essential that younger individuals are in a position to follow coping abilities earlier than being discharged from hospital/returning to high school?

Practising coping methods, earlier than they’re wanted, is the easiest way to be taught them. This manner, when a tough scenario or stressor does come up, it’s simpler to make use of the technique. Though we have to do extra so help youth restoration from psychological well being crises than merely reinforce their coping methods (for instance, they want ongoing evidence-based interventions, and a supportive, caring and secure setting to return to), serving to to show and reinforce the usage of coping methods is a crucial element of restoration and well being and well-being.


What sparked the thought to make use of a Digital actuality programme?

This concept got here from my analysis and scientific conversations with teenagers and college professionals, and my pleasure in regards to the potential of immersive digital actuality and its effectiveness for publicity remedy. Our qualitative analysis was targeted on serving to enhance college reintegration experiences for youth following a psychiatric disaster. Along with contemplating tips on how to enhance communication between colleges, households, and hospitals, we began excited about tips on how to enhance therapeutic interventions throughout hospitalization. Given how not like the hospital setting is to actual life, the thought of digital actuality follow alternatives for talent studying emerged.


How can we higher help younger people who find themselves experiencing suicidal ideas?

Though they’re scuffling with suicidal ideas, do not forget that they’re nonetheless youngsters. This implies contemplating steps to maintain them secure, like connecting them to care and, in some instances, limiting their entry to means. This additionally means listening to them, and asking them about what they want and wish. Typically we will overlook how a lot knowledge and perception younger folks have, so actually listening can go a good distance.


Is there something you’ve gotten present in your analysis that has modified the way you take care of your individual psychological well being?

As a mum or dad, I can’t assist however see my very own youngsters within the knowledge I pour over. My youngsters aren’t but adolescents (I’ve a 6 year-old and a virtually 10 year-old), however I attempt to discuss overtly with them about their psychological well being, reinforce optimistic coping methods, and discover points which may be troubling them. I can’t say I’ve essentially gotten it proper, however listening to from so many teenagers about what’s essential to them is steering a few of these conversations – and that’s been superb. In fact, I think I’m in for loads of surprises as soon as they really step into adolescence.


What does having this MQ Fellowship imply to you?

I’m thrilled to have this fellowship. It’s pushing me out of the US to suppose extra globally, and it’s permitting me to maneuver in direction of a extra artistic and human centred method on this work. It’s extremely humbling to learn in regards to the different awardees who’re clearly making a mark on the sphere. I’m wanting ahead to studying – each from the opposite awardees’ analysis, and the co-designers contributing this venture.


What are the massive questions you hope that analysis can someday reply?

How can we enhance the quality-of-care younger folks obtain after they expertise a psychological well being disaster? It’s my hope that partnering with youth to co-design interventions will lead to interventions which might be each efficacious and fascinating for youth, to allow them to obtain top quality care that’s significant to them.

How can we enhance youth entry to psychological well being care? Sooner or later, I hope to determine and consider options to the obstacles stopping youth from accessing care of their communities – by means of community-school partnerships and inventive methods, similar to social media.


In case you are struggling along with your psychological well being and wish somebody to speak to please attain out to the Samaritans by calling 116 123 or e-mailing [email protected] 


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