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:

How Guyana is trying to combat its high suicide rateBBC
Oct. 16, 2016
Guyana has the highest suicide rate in the world, with 44.2 Guyanese people out of 100,000 taking their lives. This is more than double the global average suicide rate, which is 16 per 100,000. The Guyana Foundation is working to combat the high suicide rate by improving people’s sense of self worth through courses in things like dress-making, catering, and floral arrangement. The Foundation also encourages social connections: “We often find people who come here are isolated and don’t have many strong connections. We encourage students to build friendships with each other; those relationships can help save someone’s life if they’re feeling suicidal,” said Anthony Autar, the managing director of the Sunrise Center, run by the Foundation.

Therapists will counsel youth in aboriginal communities rocked by youth suicidesToronto Star
Oct. 16, 2016
After the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) called for mental health supports in two of their communities, the federal government has said that they will send three therapists as mental health supports to the affected communities weekly, until the end of December.

FSIN wants more mental health support for northern Saskatchewan CBC
Oct. 14, 2016
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) has called for “permanent supports” such as psychiatric help, after the suicides of three young girls, ages 12-14. The deaths happened within the span of four days in the Northern Saskatchewan communities of La Ronge and Stanley Mission. FSIN Vice Chief Bob Merasty believes that while additional resources are helpful, proactive solutions developed by the community need to be implemented “things like educating youth about gangs, healthy lifestyles and spirituality that can help with the mental health of youth.”

Epilepsy and the risk of suicide attemptsSPRC
Oct. 14, 2016
JAMA Psychiatry has published a UK study that found people with epilepsy are at increased risk of suicide both before and after their diagnosis of epilepsy. “The authors suggested that this may provide evidence for a “common underlying susceptibility” to epilepsy and the risk of attempting suicide. Patients who were later diagnosed with epilepsy were 2.4 times more likely to attempt suicide and 1.8 times more likely to attempt suicide on multiple occasions than members of a control group who were never diagnosed with epilepsy.”

Physician suicide still shrouded in secrecyCMAJ
Oct. 12, 2016
According to Dr. Mamta Gautam, a psychiatrist and physician health expert who spoke to delegates of the Canadian Psychiatric Association Conference last week, medicine has the highest rate of suicide of any profession: “Doctors are twice as likely to kill themselves as members of the general public, Gautam said. In particular, female physicians are up to four times as likely as other women to complete suicide.” Dr. Gautam argues that the reason for the prevalence of suicide in the medical profession “is rooted in medical culture and toxic attitudes that prevent doctors from seeking help.”

Refugees struggle with mental health problems caused by war and upheavalScientific American
Oct. 11, 2016
It has been suggested that over half of the migrants who arrived in Germany showed signs of mental illness, and a quarter are thought to have PTSD, anxiety, or depression. There are now several studies looking into the issue, and doctors, researchers, and scientists are hoping their findings can be used in very practical ways. Clinical psychologist Thomas Elbert of the University of Konstanz in Germany says, “It is illusory to think that people can learn a new language and find work when they can’t function properly mentally. If we want quick integration, we need an immediate plan for mental health.”

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