San Diego Red/San Diego Union-Tribune: “Mental health professionals analyze murder-suicide cases that claim eight lives in San Diego area in little more than a week, including four children”

San Diego recently experienced back to back murder suicides involving Hispanic families. Looking for insight, San Diego Red, the bilingual partner of the San Diego Union-Tribune, reached out to Pace’s Dr. Richard Shadick, asking him to shed light on these tragedies, put them into context of economic times and address cultural factors.

What are the warning signs of potential murder suicide; how rare is it and what resources are typically available?

Dr. Richard Shadick, director of the Counseling Center at Pace University in New York, said people who want to kill themselves usually give warning signs.

“Most notably, if someone has a history of violence they report feelings of depression, anger management difficulties, a sense of hopelessness and helplessness,” Shadick said. “There is social withdrawal from the family, community and friends. Substances can be involved.”

“Typically there are some difficulties that have occurred prior to a murder-suicide, financial difficulties, perhaps domestic violence,” he said.

The SanDiegoRed, the bilingual partner of the San Diego Union-Tribune, reported that according to health experts, Latinos suffer from mental illness about the same rate as the rest of the population but are less likely to seek help. In San Diego County, Latinos make up one-third of the region’s population but are just 20 percent of the adults who seek help at county mental health facilities.

“There is some shame associated with it,” Shadick said, echoing a well-known cultural barrier. There is an expectation among Latinos, he said, that “men should be able to handle their problems on their own, that they should be able to make money for the family and handle marital or relationship difficulties without relying on others.”

Forbes: “The Five Stages Of Public Grieving”

In the wake of a national tragedy like the Tucson shooting last week, an entire country mourns.

“When there is a national tragedy, the emotions of dealing with it can often set off or remind people of personal tragedies, which can lead to depression,” says Richard Shadick, Ph.D., director of Pace University’s Counseling Center in New York City. “Public mourning of a national event can help people to deal with the personal feelings, but can also bring depressive emotions to the surface.”

Grieving through a national tragedy can be incredibly complex. Experts say the public deals with survivor’s guilt immediately following a trauma, and these feelings can be exacerbated by 24-7 news coverage. In the aftermath of the violent attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Ariz., which left six people dead, including a 9-year-old girl, the country is mourning collectively as we try to pick up the pieces.

Here’s how to work your way through the Five Stages of Grief — Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.