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:
Men are in crisis – Centre for Suicide Prevention
May 23, 2017
This past week, June 12 – 18, was Canadian Men’s Health Week. Centre for Suicide Prevention brought to attention the fact that men are dying by suicide in huge numbers. Of the 4,054 Canadians that died by suicide in 2013, 3,041 of those were men. But men’s suicide can be prevented. Everyone has a role to play in ensuring the men in our lives are healthy. Educate yourself, learn the warning signs, and don’t be afraid to reach out to someone you think may be struggling.
What’s behind New Zealand’s shocking youth suicide rate? – BBC
June 15, 2017
A report by Unicef has found that New Zealand has the highest youth (ages 15-19) suicide rate in the developed world – 15.6 per 100,000, almost double that of Canada; our rate is 8.5. The reasons for their high suicide rate ties into other high rates exposed in the data, like high rates of teen pregnancy, child poverty, domestic violence, and child abuse. The highest rates of youth suicide are found in Maori males, who also deal with the lasting impacts of colonization and struggle with cultural identity. “There is a tradition of the hardened-up mate culture within New Zealand,” Dr. Prudence Stone of Unicef New Zealand, “It puts pressure on men to be of a particular mould, pressure on boys to harden up to become these tough beer-drinking hard men. ”
Talking to boys the way we talk to girls – New York Times
June 15, 2017
We know that men are at a much higher risk for suicide than women, and that much of their risk can be attributed to the fact that they do not seek help as readily as women, in part due to societal expectations that they be “stoic” and “suck it up.” This article examines just how early on these expectations are placed on boys. “The ‘manning up’ of infant boys begins early on in their typical interactions, and long before language plays its role.” said Edward Tronick, a researcher with Harvard Medical School who conducted more than 30 years of research into the subject.
3rd girl involved in suicide pact dies in remote Ontario First Nation – CBC
June 14, 2017
Wapekaka First Nation has experienced its third suicide in just 6 months; the result of a tragic suicide pact. Three girls, all 12 years old, died: two in January and one this past week. Janera Roundsky, the girl who died last week, was in mental health treatment, but had just been released back into the community, against the wishes of the chief and council: “We don’t have enough personnel to keep watching people on a 24/7 basis that are at high risk, we try, but we just don’t have the resources,” said band manager Joshua Frogg.
Related – Two vulnerable kids released from care in midst of suicide crisis in Wapekeka First Nation – CBC
Related – ‘It’s been pretty hard’: In the grips of suicide crisis, Fort Simpson looks for support – CBC
Suicide attempts on High Level Bridge down 50% since barriers installed: city – Global
June 13, 2017
Almost one year ago, as part of Edmonton’s city-wide suicide prevention strategy, suicide barriers were installed on the the High Level Bridge, a spot known for its high number of suicide deaths. Already the city has seen a 50% decrease in deaths from the bridge: EMS responded to 5 suicide attempts in 2016, half of the 10 attempts in 2015. “That’s obviously good for those people who now are not making that choice in that location. But it’s also good for our first responders who are now available to respond to other calls for service because the bridge is a very complicated place to respond to that kind of call and it’s very resource intensive,” said Kris Andreychuk, supervisor of Community Safety with the City of Edmonton.
Opinion: Men and mental health – seeking help is the new strong – Montreal Gazette
June 13, 2017
Tuesday, June 13 was Men’s Mental Health Awareness Day, part of Men’s Mental Health Week. Former Montreal Alouette Shea Emry wrote this opinion piece, which discusses his own struggles with depression, and the courage he needed to seek help. “As men, we need to take stock of our mental health before there is an issue. We have to be proactive in taking care of ourselves. It can be something as small as choosing one thing you’re passionate about and finding time for it every day,” writes Emry.
Good genes are nice, but joy is better – Harvard Gazette
April 11, 2017
A Harvard study has tracked 268 men over 80 years, beginning when they were Harvard sophomores in 1938 until now, with 19 men left. This study of adult life is one of the world’s longest, and has managed to collect data on the physical and mental health and the individuals involved. “The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health,” said Robert Waldinger, director of the study, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too. That, I think, is the revelation… “Loneliness kills. It’s as powerful as smoking or alcoholism.”
For more information on the importance of social connection and its relationship to suicide, check out our article on the subject.