Hello Friends,

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: 

Attawapiskat: Crisis has hallmarks
of possible ‘suicide contagion’
 – Global National
April 13, 2016
Aboriginal communities, like Attawapiskat, the northern Ontario community that
experienced 39 suicide attempts in less than 2 months, are often more
susceptible to suicide contagion than general population communities. Robert
Olson, Librarian and Writer at the Centre for Suicide Prevention, helps explain
the phenomenon of suicidal contagion.

This story, written by the Canadian Press, was picked up by a number of media
 including the Toronto Star and
the Huffington Post

5 more Attawapiskat youth attempt
suicide in ‘spiralling situation’
 – CBC 
April 16, 2016
Chief Bruce Shisheesh confirmed yesterday that 5 more youth have attempted to
take their own lives on the northern Ontario First Nation of Attawapiskat.

Neskantaga First Nation in 3rd year
of state of emergency over suicides
 – CBC
April 16, 2016
Neskatanga First Nation in northern Ontario continues to be in a state of
emergency, precipitated by 4 suicides in 2013. Chief Wayne Moonias says he will
not lift the state of emergency until the root causes of the issue are
addressed. The living conditions in the reserve remain sub-standard, and the
water is undrinkable and generally unclean. 

Eskasoni First Nations frustrated
by suicide line funding lapse
 – CBC
April 15, 2016
Eskasoni, a First Nations community located in Nova Scotia was able to
effectively reduce their suicide rate after implementing programs such as a
toll-free suicide crisis line with help from the federal government. That
funding ended in 2014, and now the Nation funds the $300,000 per year program
out of its own limited resources. They’re frustrated by the inconsistent
support of the federal government in suicide prevention programs.
Related – CB Mi’kmaq community helping
Attawapiskat First Nation overcome suicide attempts
April 16, 2016

Regina-based program takes an
artistic approach to First Nations suicide prevention 
– Global 
April 15, 2016
Saskatchewan’s Peepeekisis First Nation has adopted the “Acting Out! But
in a Good Way” arts program for their youth. The program was implemented
with the goal of having a positive effect on youth mental health, and it seems
to be working. The developers of “Acting Out” are also conducting
research through the program, and as a result of their findings hope to
positively influence policy change in regards to building resiliency for First

The true tragedy of Attawapiskat – Maclean’s 
April 13, 2016
Aboriginal author Joseph Boyden describes visiting Attawapiskat and the
importance of addressing the root causes of suicide in Aboriginal communities:
intergenerational trauma. 

Suicide a silent epidemic on some
Sask. reserves
 – CTV
April 13, 2016
Residents of Peepeekisis First Nation share their experiences with suicide, and
highlight that the suicide crisis is not unique to the Attawapiskat First
Nation. The suicide rate for aboriginal Canadians is 3 to 6 times higher than
the national average.

Attawapiskat: Four things to help
understand the suicide crisis
 – Globe and Mail
April 12, 2016
This feature by the Globe and Mail contextualizes the spike in suicide attempts
in the northern Ontario community of Attawapiskat. The article explains how the
epidemic began, what is being done to prevent further attempts, and why suicide
is such a huge issue for many of Canada’s Aboriginal population both on and off

Here’s what young people in
Attawapiskat say they need to fight the suicide crisis
 – Buzzfeed

April 12, 2016
A group of youth in Attawapiskat gathered last Monday, after the state of
emergency due to a high number of suicide attempts was announced. They came up
with ways of solving the problem, listing what they currently have, what they
need, and what actions need to take place.
Related – Attawapiskat youth ready to fight
for survival after suicide attempts: ‘We are all scared for them’
 – National

April 16, 2016
Attawapiskat youth on their
community in trouble
 – CBC
April 15, 2016

Are all mental illnesses related? – The

April 12, 2016
David Kessler, former FDA Commissioner, questions the commonly held belief that
mental illnesses are caused by chemical imbalances. He argues that all mental
illnesses are very similar in the sense that they are caused by a
“capture,” which is explained as the neurological process that causes
a person to focus on one stimuli in particular, resulting in adverse

Study: Women who fled Holocaust have high suicide rate – Haaretz
April 12, 2016
Researchers are still trying to examine the psychological effects of the
Holocaust, and a group out of the University of Haifa have found that women who
escaped Europe for Israel during the Holocaust were 4.6 times more likely to
kill themselves when compared to women who moved to Israel from Europe before
WWII. Another interesting finding was that between the two groups mentioned,
men had little difference in suicide rate while women, as was found, had very
different rates. 

Crisis workers sent to Attawapiskat
after spike in suicide attempts 
April 11, 2016
In response to Attawapiskat’s declaration of emergency prompted by a huge spike
in suicide attempts, the federal government is sending trained mental health
workers to the community.
Related: Ministers’ statement regarding
 – Government of Canada

Calgary mental health workshop for
the recently laid off
 – Metro
April 11, 2016
The Centre for Suicide Prevention helped to organize a mental health workshop
with Calgary Economic Development, CMHA – Calgary, and the Calgary Counselling
Centre. The workshop focused on helping those who have lost their jobs as a
result of the economic downturn maintain good mental health.

Assembly of First Nations National
Chief calls for immediate action to deal with state of emergency in
Attawapiskat First Nation
 – Assembly of First Nations
April 11, 2016
Over this past weekend, Attawapiskat, a First Nations community in northern
Ontario declared a state of emergency due to a spike in suicide attempts. The
Assembly of First Nations is calling on the government to send resources to the
The crisis is gaining the attention of American media outlets too, including the New York Timesand Time Magazine. 

Suicide among Canada’s First
Nations: Key numbers 
April 11, 2016
The shocking statistics surrounding Aboriginal suicide attempts, ideation, and
deaths are outlined in this fact-sheet style article by CTV News. Almost ¼ of
First Nations adults reported suicide ideation, and First Nations youth experience
rates of suicide 6 times higher than in the general population. Centre for
Suicide Prevention is noted as a resource for information. 

‘Limited programs’ in criminal
justice system for aboriginal people, mentally ill: report 
April 11, 2016
A study done by the Public Safety branch of the government of Canada has found
that there are limited services and programs in the Canadian justice system
that focus on aboriginal people and the mentally ill; two groups that are
over-represented in the prison system. Prime Minister Trudeau asked Justice
Minister Wilson-Raybould to review the justice system and to address gaps such
as these.

Lifting the veil on mental illness – Dividends
Spring 2016
Dividends, the Canadian Professional Accountants Alberta members magazine, has
profiled mental illness in their latest issue. The article follows the story of
a woman, an accountant and lawyer, who experienced depression and found herself
faced with insensitivity from others. She decided to collect the stories of
others experiencing mental illness to start a conversation and break down the

Workshop – Mental health promotion, suicide
prevention and strengthening resilience among Indigenous youth
 – Alberta
Centre for Child, Family, and Community Research

May 9, 2016
This free workshop is for community leaders and mental health workers,
front-line service providers, academics and policy makers and will discuss
taking people from historical trauma to resilience and the implications for
suicide prevention and mental health promotion.

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