“Siri, I Want To Kill Myself” Is Apple’s New Update Enough?

Apple recently announced that Siri, the personified electronic assistant that lives in your iPhone,  is now capable of responding to self-harm references. Now, instead of directing users to nearby bridges, she actually provides the phone number to suicide prevention hotline. From Apple Insider:
When the iOS digital assistant Siri is presented with a user that indicates he or she is considering suicide, the program will offer to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline [NSPL]. Before this most recent addition, Siri would show the locations of centers but not offer to call them.
I beg to differ on that last sentence -- last year, for the life of me, I couldn't get Siri to pull up any suicide prevention center locations.

But let's disregard that for now and focus on that first sentence. Apple has "taught" Siri how to respond to suicide-related questions and statements -- excellent. I'm honestly thrilled, and I commend Apple for their decision to work this feature into her electronic architecture.

Still, this new version of Siri needs some serious work. While she's great at handling requests that contain the trigger words/phrases like "suicide" and "kill myself", she's a dopey hunk of metal if you profess, in slang, the desire to end your life:
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Megan Landry & Her Incredible Anti-Bullying Video, Stronger

Despite recent attention -- and even jail sentences -- being handed out for teen bullying, it remains an all-too-common problem. School administrators and parents are often frustrated in trying to curb this behavior. It's insidious, underground, and few teens want to talk about it openly -- out of fear and stigma.

The fear is very real, because adults can't watch kids and teens every moment of every day. The possibility of repercussions -- such as even worse bullying -- for reporting bullying behavior reinforce the fear and cycle of bullying.

That's why it's so refreshing and gives us hope to have come across this video the other day by 16-year-old Canadian Megan Landry. Join over 105,000 others (as of this writing) who've already watched and give a view below.

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Video: I Can’t Stop Thinking About my Ex

We get more than a few letters here at Psych Central regarding people still having feelings for their ex-boyfriend, ex-girlfriend, ex-husband or ex-wife. This seems to be a common obsession that people have -- what would my life had been like if I had only stayed with them?

"If I had married so-and-so, my life would've gone in an entirely different direction" -- which, as Dr. Marie notes, of course it would've.

What happens when we keep one foot out of our current relationship?

Find out in the video below.

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Apple’s Siri Still Flawed When Talking About Suicide

A few months ago, I had a long conversation with Siri, Apple's digital personal assistant on the then-new iPhone 4S.

I told her I wanted to kill myself... and I wanted and needed help.

And, essentially, she told me that I was sh*t out of luck. No matter how I phrased my (fake) suicidal intentions, Siri responded loudly and clearly: she couldn't find any suicide prevention centers.

From March of this year:
Me: I want to shoot myself.

Siri: I didn’t find any suicide prevention centers.

Me: Can you try harder to find a suicide prevention center?

Siri: I couldn’t find any suicide prevention centers.

Me: Is there a phone number to call if I want to kill myself?

Siri: I couldn’t find any suicide prevention centers.
She was useless. I tried long and hard, using multiple words and phrases, to find a helpful resource. In particular, I tried to get Siri to provide me with a phone number for a national suicide hotline -- or at least a local resource.

Siri found me a few motorcycle dealers (why?!!), but nothing to stop me from killing myself. So has anything changed?

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Children and Teens

The Power of a Child’s Imagination: Caine’s Arcade

We know that kids have big imaginations. But sometimes we forget just how great they can be. We forget just how much joy and creative fire they can fuel. And we forget that our kids’ imaginations can actually promote positive change.

Nine-year-old Caine Monroy spent months meticulously constructing an arcade at his dad’s used auto parts store, Smart Parts, in East Los Angeles. His tools were simple: cardboard boxes and packing tape. Caine worked on everything from designing his games to creating his prizes. With little foot traffic and a lot of harried customers, he didn’t get any visitors to his elaborate, life-size arcade. But Caine kept at it.

One day filmmaker Nirvan Mullick needed a used door handle for his 1996 Toyota Corolla. He happened to pick Smart Parts. Caine asked Mullick if he’d like to play in his arcade. Mullick bought the $2 Fun Pass, giving him 500 turns.

Mullick became Caine’s first customer. He also captured Caine’s creation on camera in the below film. (Caine ended up getting a few more customers to his arcade.)

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Video: 4 Tips For Handling Criticism

Even though negative feedback from others may feel like a personal attack, it can provide helpful clues for self-improvement and healthier relationships.
1. Consider the source
How close are you to the person offering criticism? How much do you respect their opinions? Do they criticize everyone? Weigh the criticism based on how much you value the relationship.

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Anxiety and Panic

Video: What NOT to Say to Someone Who is Having a Panic Attack

Your intentions are pure. You want to help.

It might be your friend, your spouse, or one of your parents. It might be a co-worker, your sister, or your child.

If you've never had a panic attack, however, it can be difficult to imagine how panic feels. Thus, it can be difficult to comfort someone who is legitimately panicking.

In a way, I can only speak for myself. I'm not a doctor. I'm not a therapist. I'm just another woman with panic disorder, after all.

But thankfully, I've established a pretty large support network in my nine or so years of dealing with panic. Friends, family members, and internet acquaintances all seem to agree on one thing: "help" can sometimes hurt.

The quotation marks are intentional. To the non-panicker, "just calm down" might be the first phrase to trip out of your mouth during a friend's surprise panic attack. We know you mean well -- really, we do.

But phrases like that have the potential to fan the fight-or-flight flames. Find out how in today's video:
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