This is a summary of the latest significant Canadian () and international suicide research we collected in the past month:
Barcelos, A., Kargas, N., Packham, C., & Mills, D. (2021). Understanding the impact of dog ownership on autistic adults: Implications for mental health and suicide prevention. Scientific Reports. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-02504-8
Those experiencing autism are at a greater risk for suicidal ideation and attempted suicide. This study looks at dog ownership and the positive impacts this may have on the mental health of someone with autism.
Abstract – Mental health problems and suicide are more frequent in autistic adults than general population. Dog ownership can improve human well-being. This study aimed to generate a framework of well-being outcomes for dog-related activities in autistic adults and compare it to the framework generated for a general adult population. Thirty-six autistic dog owners (18–74 years old, 18 males) from diverse UK regions were interviewed and transcripts thematically analysed. 16.7% reported that their dogs prevented them from taking their own lives, mainly due to the dog’s affection and the need to care for the animal. Close dog-owner interactions (e.g., cuddling, walking, dog’s presence) were the most frequent activities improving emotions/moods and life functioning, whereas routine-like activities (e.g., feeding the animal) particularly enhanced life functioning. Well-being worsening was mainly linked to dog behaviour problems, dog poor health/death and obligations to the dog. Despite some negatives associated with ownership, having a dog could improve the well-being of many autistic adults and assist suicide prevention strategies in this high-risk group. The framework was consistent with that generated previously, indicating its robustness and the potential opportunity to focus on dog-related activities rather than the vague concept of “ownership” when considering the impact of ownership on well-being.
Ngu, F., Kelman, I., Chambers, J., & Ayeb-Karlsson, S. (2021). Correlating heatwaves and relative humidity with suicide (fatal intentional self‑harm). Scientific Reports. 11, 22175. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-01448-3
This paper looks at the rarely explored area of suicide and heat waves and/or relative humidity.
Abstract – Empirical evidence suggests that the effects of anthropogenic climate change, and heat in particular, could have a significant impact on mental health. This article investigates the correlation between heatwaves and/or relative humidity and suicide (fatal intentional self-harm) on a global scale. The covariance between heat/humidity and suicide was modelled using a negative binomial Poisson regression with data from 60 countries between 1979–2016. Statistically significant increases and decreases in suicide were found, as well as many cases with no significant correlation. We found that relative humidity showed a more significant correlation with suicide compared to heatwaves and that both younger age groups and women seemed to be more significantly affected by changes in humidity and heatwave counts in comparison with the rest of the population. Further research is needed to provide a larger and more consistent basis for epidemiological studies; to understand better the connections among heat, humidity and mental health; and to explore in more detail which population groups are particularly impacted and why.
Kim, W., Park, H., Park, J., & Kook, W. (2021). Effects of catastrophic financial loss on suicide risk: Evidence from Korean stock market crash in October 2008. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. 57, 47–56. DOI: 10.1007/s00127-021-02109-6
The authors culled investor data from Korea Exchanges and mortality data from Microdata Integrated Service in South Korea to see if there is a correlation between the Korean stock market crash of 2008 and rates of suicide.
Abstract – Purpose: The negative effect of catastrophic financial loss on suicide risk is widely perceived but hardly studied in-depth because of various difficulties in designing studies. We empirically investigated the effect utilizing the stock market crash event in October 2008 in South Korea. Methods: We extracted stock market investor data from Korea Exchanges, and mortality data from Microdata Integrated Service of individuals aged 30–60 years. We calculated age-standardized monthly suicide rate per 100,000 persons according to sex and age, and developed intervention analysis with multiplicative seasonal ARIMA model to isolate the effect of the stock market crash on suicide rate. Results: More than 11% of people aged 30–60 years were directly investing in stocks during stock market crash. In October 2008, both KOSPI and KOSDAQ indexes dropped by 22.67% and 30.14%, respectively. In November 2008, the suicide rate in males 30–60 years increased by>40% compared to the expected levels if there had been no market crash, and in females aged 30–40 and 40–50 years, it increased by 101.84% and 74.81%, respectively. The effect appeared to persist in males, whereas it degenerated with time in females during our sampling period. Suicide was more pronounced in younger age groups and females. Conclusion: In this first in-depth study, the effect of catastrophic financial loss negatively affects suicide risk for an extended period, indicating health and financial authorities should provide a long-term financial and psychological support for people with extreme financial loss.
Gomboc, V., Gomboc, V., Krohne, N., Lavric, M., Podlogar, T., Postuvan, V., Zadravec Sedivy, N., & De Leo, D. (2022). Emotional and social loneliness as predictors of suicidal ideation in different age groups. Community Mental Health Journal. 58, 311–320. DOI: 10.1007/s10597-021-00823-8
This study looks at the potential relationship between emotional and social loneliness and suicidal ideation.
Abstract – Loneliness and suicidal ideation (SI) are relevant issues. This study aimed to examine the prevalence of death ideation (DI) and SI in the general population across four age groups and to determine the extent to which emotional and social loneliness are associated with SI. Data were collected via an online panel in Slovenia in February 2019 on a representative sample of 991 participants (50.5% men) aged 18 years and over. Participants completed a series of questionnaires on loneliness, suicidality, stress, and well-being. DI, SI, and previous suicide attempts were most common among younger participants. In each age group, several factors appeared as important predictors of SI, with emotional loneliness being a significant factor in all groups. Given the role of emotional loneliness in SI, prevention programs should address loneliness and its correlates across age groups.
Yasdiman, M., Townsend, E., & Blackie, L. (2022). Examining the protective function of perceptions of post-traumatic growth against entrapment and suicidal ideation. Journal of Affective Disorders, 300, 474-480. DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2021.12.118
The Integrated Motivational-Volitional (IMV) model of suicidal behaviour is applied to gauge post-traumatic growth (PTG) and suicidal ideation.
Abstract – Background: Recent evidence has found that reporting post-traumatic growth (PTG) from a past stressful life event is associated with lower reports of suicidal ideation. Perceptions of PTG measure the extent to which an individual reports positive changes in their identity, relationships, and worldviews after a stressful event. However, little is known about how perceptions of PTG interact with feelings of defeat and entrapment to influence suicidal ideation. The current study examined this question through the Integrated Motivational Volitional (IMV) Model of Suicidal Behavior. Methods: 521 adult participants (315 females with age range of 18–82, M = 30.4 years, SD = 13.6) completed an online cross-sectional questionnaire with defeat, entrapment, suicidal ideation, PTG, depression and anxiety measures. Hypotheses and data analysis plans were pre-registered prior to data collection. Results: PTG negatively correlated with defeat, entrapment and suicidal ideation. PTG predicted lower suicidal ideation when controlling for entrapment, depression and anxiety. PTG did not moderate the relationship between defeat on entrapment or the relationship between entrapment on suicidal ideation. Limitations: The findings were based on cross-sectional data where participants recalled experiences of defeat, entrapment and suicidal ideation from the past year. The sample was a large community (non-clinical) sample, and most of the participants identified as white (85%). Conclusion: Although PTG did not function as a moderator within the IMV model of suicidality, it predicted lower suicidal ideation while controlling for other known predictors of suicidal ideation. Future research could explore the function of PTG in appraisal-based models of suicidality.
🇨🇦 Lam, J., Links, P., Eynan, R., Shera, W., Ka Tat Tsang, A., Law, S., Lun, W., Fung, A., Zhang, X., Liu, P., & Zaheer, J. (2022). “I thought that I had to be alive to repay my parents”: Filial piety as a risk and protective factor for suicidal behavior in a qualitative study of Chinese women. Transcultural Psychiatry. 59(1), 13–27. DOI: 10.1177/13634615211059708
This is a cross-national qualitative study by Canadian and Chinese researchers looking at the suicidal behaviours of Chinese-born women living in both China and Canada. This is the first part of the study examining the Chinese data.
Abstract – Filial piety involves the Confucian view that children always have a duty to be obedient and to provide care for their parents. Filial piety has been described as both a risk and a protective factor in depression and suicide. This qualitative study aimed to explore the role of filial piety in the suicidal behavior of Chinese women. Qualitative interviews were conducted with Chinese women with a history of suicidal behavior living in the Beijing area (n=29). Filial piety data were extracted and analyzed in accordance with constructivist grounded theory. The women described five specific family and filial piety factors and how they influenced their ability to fulfill family role obligations, which was described as a nexus connecting these factors to depression, suicidal behavior, and recovery. The five factors were: 1) rigidity of parental filial expectations, 2) perception of family relationships as positive/supportive or negative/harsh, 3) whether filial piety is of high or low personal value in the woman’s life, 4) any experiences of rebellion leading to punitive consequences, and 5) how much filial piety she receives from her children. These factors could inform suicide risk assessments in this population. They can be harnessed as part of recovery and protect against future suicidal behavior.
🇨🇦 Affleck, W., Oliffe, J., Inukpuk, M., Tempier, R., Crawford, A., & Seguin, M. (2022). Suicide amongst young Inuit Males: The perspectives of Inuit Health and wellness workers in Nunavik. SSM-Qualitative Research in Health. DOI: 10.1016/j.ssmqr.2022.100069
The rate of suicide among Inuit male youth is 40 times greater than for male youth in the rest of Canada. This is a qualitative study of 18 interviews with Inuit health and wellness workers which examines this phenomenon.
Abstract – The rate of suicide amongst Inuit boys and men in Nunavik has risen since the 1980s. Despite this, little is known about the strengths and protective factors, and the unique risks, that contribute to suicidality amongst Inuit males. This article presents the findings of a qualitative interview study conducted with Inuit health and wellness workers in Nunavik to better understand the gendered nature of suicide for young Inuit males. Discussed within a critical masculinities framework, findings highlight the need to consider the gendered nature of intergenerational trauma, the changing nature of the Northern economy and its impact on gender dynamics, and the inequities that some men face within institutional structures. Also offered are culturally meaningful and strength-based strategies for attracting and engaging young males to mental health services. Findings provide important insights into the social determinants of Inuit males’ mental health, and advocate for targeted suicide prevention programs for Inuit boys and young men.
🇨🇦 Mitchell, R., Ani, C., Cyr, C., Irvine, J., Joffe, A., Skinner, R., Wong, S., Stang, A., Laffin, M., & Korczak, D. (2021). Near-fatal self-harm among Canadian adolescents. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1177/07067437211058602
This is a study based on a survey of Canadian pediatricians utilizing the Canadian Pediatric Surveillance Program (CPSP). Data from 93 cases of adolescents admitted to the ICU for serious self-harm were analyzed for common features.
Abstract – Objective: To evaluate the clinical features of Canadian adolescents admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) for medically serious self-harm. Methods: 2700 Canadian paediatricians were surveyed monthly over two years (January 2017 to December 2018) through the Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program to ascertain data from eligible cases. Results: Ninety-three cases (73 female; age 15.2 ± 1.5) met the case definition. Four provinces reported the majority of cases: Quebec (n = 27), Ontario (n = 26), Alberta (n = 21), and British Columbia (n = 8). There were 10 deaths, 9 by hanging. Overdose and hanging were the most frequently reported methods of self-harm (74.2% and 19.4%, respectively). Overdose was more common in females (80.8% females vs. 50% males; χ2 = 7.8 (1), p = .005), whereas hanging was more common in males (35% males vs. 15.1% females, χ2 = 3.9 (1), p = .04). More females than males had a past psychiatric diagnosis (79% vs. 58%; χ2 = 4.1 (1), p = .06), a previous suicide attempt (55.9% vs. 29.4%, χ2 = 3.8 (1), p = .05), and prior use of mental health service (69.7% vs. 27.8%, χ2 = 10.4 (1), p = .001). Family conflict was the most commonly identified precipitating factor (43%) of self-harm. Conclusions: Among Canadian adolescents admitted to the ICU with medically serious self-harm, females demonstrate a higher rate of suicide attempts and prior mental health care engagement, whereas males are more likely to die by suicide. These findings are consistent with data from other adolescent samples, as well as data from working-age and older adults. Therefore, a sex-specific approach to suicide prevention is warranted as part of a national suicide prevention strategy; family conflict may be a specific target for suicide prevention interventions among adolescents.
Giordano, A., Lundeen, L., Wester, K., Lee, J., Vickers, S., Schmit, M., & Kim, I. (2021). Nonsuicidal self‑injury on Instagram: Examining hashtag trends. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling. 44, 1–16. DOI: 10.1007/s10447-021-09451-z
Hashtags on Instagram by individuals who upload Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI) content on this platform were examined. Researchers tried to gauge whether there is a relationship between the individual’s uploaded content and their ensuing posts.
Abstract – We sought to investigate how individuals who upload nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) content on Instagram conceptualize self-injury by examining associated hashtags. Additionally, we explored NSSI hashtag usage trends over time. Using a web-based crawler and data analysis system, we downloaded 1,217,208 Instagram posts containing one of five popular NSSI hashtags (#cutting, #selfharm, #selfharmmm, #hatemyself, and #selfharmawareness) and categorized them based on psychological constructs (suicide, depression, anxiety/panic, eating disorders, addiction, general mental distress, other specific mental illnesses, and self-injury). Results show that NSSI hashtags were most associated with suicide, depression, general mental distress, anxiety/panic, and eating disorders, and, to a lesser extent, other specific mental illnesses, borderline personality disorder, and addiction. We determined that three of the five hashtags demonstrated an increase in usage over time, one remained relatively stable, and one decreased in usage. We discuss implications for mental health professionals regarding how to discuss social media use with clients who self-injure and consider clients’ technology use in treatment plans.
🇨🇦 Pandey, M., Kamrul, R., Rocha Michaels, C., & McCarron, M. (2022). Perceptions of mental health and utilization of mental health services among new immigrants in Canada: A qualitative study. Community Mental Health Journal,58(2), 394-404. DOI: 10.1007/s10597-021-00836-3
A series of focus groups in Regina, Saskatchewan were conducted to solicit the opinions on mental health and mental health services by new immigrants to Canada.
Abstract – The impact of immigration on individuals’ overall health, including mental health, is complex. New immigrants’ concepts of mental health, mental healthcare utilization, and their knowledge of existing services in Regina, Canada were explored using a hermeneutic phenomenological approach. Three focus groups were conducted with 37 participants recruited from English language classes provided by a non-governmental organization in the city. Irrespective of country of origin, participants recognized the impact of mental health on general wellbeing. Access to existing mental healthcare was hindered by language barriers, inadequate information about existing healthcare services, and individuals’ perceptions about what and when services should be accessed. Despite challenges, participants viewed relocation positively and exhibited resilience when dealing with daily stress. Participants had knowledge gaps surrounding the role of family physicians in managing mental health conditions. Information on ways to access existing healthcare services should be delivered in collaboration with community organizations serving new immigrants.