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:

Memories of grief: Filmmaker explores 1990s suicide waves at Dieppe high schoolCBC
July 30, 2017
Samara Chadwick, who attended Dieppe High School in Moncton, New Brunswick at a time when there were numerous student suicides, is now making a documentary about the phenomenon. In three separate time periods in 1995, 1999 and 2001, around 15 students died by suicide. “There’s a truth in it that is maybe greater than the objective fact about how many children died and when exactly it happened,” said Chadwick. “And it remains more about how people carried those stories on in their lives — all of us who survived the deaths.”

First Afghan-mission soldier to die by suicide will be honoured with Memorial CrossGlobe and Mail
July 27, 2017
After 13 years, the family of Private Thomas Welch will receive the Memorial Cross medal, which acknowledges that his suicide death was a result of serving in the military.

‘At least 20 suicide attempts’ after Grenfell Tower fire, faith leader claimsIndependent
July 26, 2017
After the major apartment fire that took place in West London, UK, on June 14, local spiritual leaders are calling for more mental health services to survivors of the fire. Sikh leader Bhupinder Singh said at least 20 people have attempted suicide since the incident.

Japan aims to cut suicide rate by 30%Bangkok Post
July 25, 2017
Last Tuesday the Japanese government approved a national guideline for suicide prevention, a guideline which has the goal of reducing the suicide rate from 18.5 per 100,000 to 13 by 2025. “The guidelines call for addressing such issues as excessive working hours, postpartum depression and prejudice against sexual minorities.”

Suicide-crisis teams in northern Manitoba at their limitWinnipeg Free Press
July 25, 2017
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Grand Chief Sheila North Wilson says that northern Manitoba suicide-crisis teams are unable to keep up with the demand for services in that region. MKO is a group of 30 First Nations communities in northern Manitoba, which has faced many struggles with mental health and suicide. “The legacy of colonialism is that we’ve ended up with extreme poverty and hardship in our communities, and it’s the young people that are feeling it the most,” says Grand Chief North Wilson.

New Mental Health Ministry is nothing short of a miracle for BCHuffPost
July 25, 2017
BC’s new NDP Premier, John Horgan, created a ministry responsible for mental health and addictions in the BC legislature, which is the first of its kind. The province’s opioid crisis is the root of the decision, which may well influence other provinces to establish their own stand-alone mental health and addictions ministries. Judy Darcy has been appointed as Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. Prior to becoming a government minister, Darcy was president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

Globe editorial: The unspoken problem in PikangikumGlobe and Mail
July 25, 2017
This Globe Editorial argues that one of the main causes for distress and hopelessness in the youth of Pikangikum First Nation in northern Ontario is the lack of growth in the economy, and the subsequently high unemployment rate. “If the community can find a way to exploit the timber resources and create jobs, that might make all the difference. Barring that, though, change will be hard to bring. The people who live there are resilient. They want to fix the home they love, and Ottawa and Ontario must do more to help. But no community can flourish when almost every one of its residents can’t find work.”

Government, Indigenous leaders herald health agreement that will dismantle ‘colonial’ systemCBC
July 24, 2017
The federal government, Government of Ontario, and Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) have signed an agreement meant to ‘decolonize’ the NAN health care system. The governments will pool money to “better address poor health outcomes;” the first step in an agreement that will ultimately turn First Nations healthcare over to the First Nations communities themselves. “Despite the many tragic events that you hear about almost on a daily basis, there’s still a lot of good things in our communities that we can build upon,” said Alvin Fiddler, NAN Grand Chief. This agreement was prompted by northern Ontario First Nations being unable to access their own health care funding in a timely manner during a suicide crisis, when the funds were desperately needed.

Protecting interns and other physicians from depression and suicideSTAT
July 24, 2017
The findings of a recent study published in Academic Medicine, looking at suicide and mental health in medical students, are examined in this article. Findings include the fact that suicide risk is highest for medical school interns at the beginning of their training. Physician training programs that begin in the US after July 1, 2017 must now follow updated “core” requirements that include the provision of access to confidential and affordable 24/7 health care including counselling and urgent care.

Let’s talk about suicideNew York Times
July 24, 2017
This opinion piece, prompted by the death of Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington, touches on the sensational and glamorous nature of suicide as portrayed in the media, which often happens “rather than taking it seriously.” The author goes on to talk about his own struggles with mental health, and the fact that education can play a huge role in the reduction of stigma, and ultimate treatment, of mental health. “We must push the conversation about mental illness forward whether it be in the classrooms of public schools or with our families and friends. These issues are real and lethal, and the first means of prevention is acknowledging their existence.”

‘There was absolutely no reason for him to die’: Winnipeg man takes own life hours after discharge from ERCBC
July 24, 2017
Terrance Van Dyke, 49, died by suicide last week, after being admitted to a Winnipeg hospital following a suicide attempt, then promptly released after waiting 8 hours to be seen.

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