Every day we scan news headlines and social media for items of interest to the field of suicide prevention. Here’s what we found last week:
Blue Monday is a Myth – Centre for Suicide Prevention
Jan. 12, 2017
The third January of each year is often reported to be the “most depressing,” but this is a myth. This myth may be harmful because it oversimplifies depression – it’s much more complex than simply feeling “blue.” “Suicide is complex because people are complex, and there is rarely just one reason why a person chooses to end their own life,” says Mara Grunau, Executive Director at the Centre for Suicide Prevention. “We’re hardwired to live, and people will only consider suicide when they see no other options.”
Upcoming Blue Monday contains myths: Experts – Metro Edmonton
Jan. 11, 2017
Mara Grunau, Executive Director of the Centre for Suicide Prevention and psychologist Dr. Ganz Ferrance say that although Blue Monday is a myth, it’s a good opportunity to educate people about the facts surrounding depression and suicide. “Grunau pointed out that one in five Canadians are expected to have a mental health concern at some point in their life. ‘That’s also a message to the four in five to embrace [the person struggling] and reach out to them,’ she said.”
Suicides in Quebec Indigenous communities were avoidable: coroner – Globe and Mail
Jan. 14, 2017
The Quebec Coroner’s Inquiry into five suicides deaths on two Indigenous communities back in 2015 has found that the deaths were avoidable, and suggested that the reserve system in Canada (which the coroner compared to apartheid) was “at the root of many of the communities’ wider struggles.” Among the coroner’s recommendations were that a mental health resource team (of psychologists and caseworkers) take charge of people at risk of suicide, and that existing services focus on suicide prevention in youth with a further focus on social media and the Internet, while adopting more programs to help Indigenous youth “preserve their culture, identity, and health .” Furthermore, it was noted that one of the communities didn’t have a 24-hour police service (due to lack of staff) and also that the local crisis centre wasn’t used much by Indigenous communities because none of the staff spoke Innu or Naskapi.
Indigenous youth suicide crisis solution is ‘not rocket science’: Angus – HuffPost Politics
Jan. 13, 2017
NDP MP and former Indigenous affairs critic Charlie Angus believes that the government should keep track of how many kids aren’t getting the mental health support they need, and said, “Just because you don’t know how many kids are falling through the cracks, doesn’t mean you’re not responsible for them falling through the cracks.” Health Minister Jane Philpott said that the government is “going out of (their) way to identify who has not had care to date, and making sure they all get the care they need.” Angus believes that the government should be applying proactive mental health treatment models to Indigenous communities: “It’s not rocket science. We’ve seen it a long time ago for children of white families, so why can’t we apply the same principles, the same proactive approach the same intervening before a crisis happens and apply to First Nations communities?” said Angus.
Jurors and PTSD – The National
Jan. 12, 2017
PTSD is prevalent in former jurors, a population not often thought to be associated with the disorder. This segment of the National follows former jurors traumatized by the evidence of their trials. A Toronto juror talks about how, after identifying his own trauma, he contacted the court system only to find that they had no supports put in place for jurors. Another juror from Regina describes how the court system simply released him after he completed his civic duty, with no follow-up supports offered: “It’s something that everybody asked when I got home, ‘so did they put you in touch with a counsellor?’ No. People at work asked ‘so whats the support you get?’ Nothing. It was simply, thank you, see ya later.” Support for jurors varies by province; in Alberta, counselling is free and offered to jurors, while Saskatchewan has no counselling options. Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Ontario allows judges to order counselling for jurors, which is rare.
Mental health mayday: fisherman want more support after deaths at sea – CBC
Jan. 10, 2017
Nova Scotia fisherman are seeking more immediate mental health support for themselves and their communities, to help them grieve when a fisherman is lost at sea. Grief counsellors are amongst those professionals the fisherman would like to see brought out to the community after a death, a service that is not currently being provided by the Nova Scotia Health Authority. Neil LeBlanc, fisherman, said “If they had somebody that could travel, if they had one or two persons located in our province, where something like this has happened where somebody could get some counselling … where people can be taught how they can deal with some of their stress … I think it would be a great idea.”
Second suicide in three months at Edmonton junior high prompts calls for investigation – CBC
Jan. 9, 2017
St. Thomas More Catholic Junior High School has seen two suicide deaths in the past few months, and now a petition is being circulated urging the Edmonton Catholic School Board to investigate the deaths. The petition was started by Chloe Dizon, 17, the sister of one of the students who killed himself, Ethan Dizon, 14. Her petition calls for an investigation to “expose the harsh bullying environment and elitist attitude found in the Sports Academy but also the clear favouritism towards major student athletes and the Sports Academy.”
Opinion: Suicide is a national crisis. The law must stop hiding its true extent – The Guardian
Jan. 9, 2017
The number of suicides in the UK is likely under-reported, as coroners must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the cause of death is suicide. This means that many suicide deaths are being recorded as “undetermined.” “Coroners are understandably reluctant to reach a verdict of suicide. Many families who have lost loved ones to suicide, particularly when the deceased are their children, do not want to hear that they ended their own life. Yet the stigma that exists around suicide is still very damaging and not helped by high-profile examples where coroners have concluded that the deceased died because of an accident, or where a narrative verdict has been returned when the evidence clearly shows that the person took their own life,” said Stephen Habgood, opinion-article author and chairman of Papyrus, a suicide prevention charity in the UK.
Opinion: The hidden gun epidemic: Suicides – New York Times
Jan. 9, 2017
Gun shop owner Ralph Demicco was “shocked” when he learned that three of his customers died by suicide in just five days and was so affected by the deaths that he decided to work with other firearm dealers together with mental health workers to develop the Gun Shop Project, a campaign that educates gun dealers on how to recognize the signs of someone who might be suicidal.