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: 

‘It’s okay not to be okay’: University of Alberta bike-a-thon raises awareness for mental healthGlobal
Mar. 4, 2016
Mara Grunau talks about how difficult, yet important, it is for athletes to open up about their mental health. This story features a mental health awareness campaign by U of A Golden Bears soccer team, precipitated by player Tim Hickson’s own struggles with mental illness.  

Calgary teen puts pressure on Amazon to pull controversial productCTV
Mar. 1, 2016
CSP’s Mara Grunau is interviewed in response to news that a Calgary teen, Maggie Harder, was successful in her goal to have offensive suicide-related t-shirts removed from their site. Harder was invited to the Jack Summit last week. Grunau commends Harder for being an advocate for suicide prevention. 

Cry for help after four teens take their own lives on Manitoba First NationCBC
Mar. 4, 2016
In less than three months, four teenagers from Pimicikamak Cree Nation have died by suicide, while two others attempted suicide. In the community, there is little for youth to do in their spare time, and this is a problem, according to teenager Amber Muskego, as teens will turn to drugs and alcohol as a means of entertainment. 

Related – Niki Ashton sends plea to federal government following rash of suicides on Pimicikamak Cree NationCBC
Mar. 6, 2016
MP Niki Ashton is calling for the federal government to help support First Nations youth after four teen suicides took place in Pimicikamak Cree Nation over the past three months. 

Paul Okalik resigns over Nunavut alcohol-sale planCBC
Mar. 4, 2016
Paul Okalik, who was the minister responsible for suicide prevention in Nunavut, has resigned. Okalik told parliament that he was unable to continue in his position due to the decision to open a liquor store in Iqaluit, a community that does not currently have one. Okalik also told parliament that, as a recovering alcoholic, he would like to see the proper addictions supports put in place before the store is opened. 

Half of all hospital beds in Canada for kids and youth filled to treat mental healthCBC
Mar. 3, 2016
Children and youth are visiting the ER for mental health issues more and more frequently as access to basic mental health services is becoming more scarce as wait lists lengthen. The rate for children and youth in the ER for mental health issues has risen by 45% from 2007 to 2014. 

This new app is unlike anything else on your iPhoneTeen Vogue
Mar. 2, 2016
Mind Me” is a new app that seeks to connect people to mental health resources. What is new about the app, according to developers, is that it is specifically tailored to each user, giving tips and tricks that have proven helpful to that user in the past while using the app.  

Death by textThe Cut
Mar. 1, 2016
This feature article covers the tragic and incomprehensible story of Conrad Roy, a 17 year old boy who was considering suicide, and, via text, was pressured by his girlfriend (16) to kill himself. Roy did die by suicide, and now his former girlfriend, Michelle Carter, is facing involuntary manslaughter charges. 

How America’s criminal justice system became the country’s mental health systemVox
Mar. 1, 2016
This article discusses what can happen when police improperly deal with people who have mental health issues, arguing that mental health issues are usually dealt with once the person experiencing them has already reached a crisis point. 

How many drug overdoses are actually suicides?VICE
Feb. 29, 2016
While acknowledging that some drug overdoses are accidental, this article delves into the question of how many deaths, reported as drug overdoses, are intentional and therefore suicide. Several studies (primarily American) examining the issue are also cited. 
Insurance companies reconsider ‘dated’ policies for suicide attemptsCBC
Feb. 29, 2016
In their investigation into the practices of leading insurance companies, CBC found that many insurers still have very outdated policy stipulations in regards to suicide attempts, suicide deaths, and self-inflicted injuries. In response to the investigation, the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) said that some insurance companies have begun to phase out the exclusionary clauses surrounding these issues. 

Aboriginal leaders are warning of the mental health cost of climate change in the NorthToronto Star
Feb. 29, 2016
Climate change has begun to affect northern communities that rely upon ice roads for transportation. These ice roads are only available in the winter time, and now, in March, they are not “reliable enough” to open yet. This has created anxiety and a feeling of isolation in some Aboriginal communities. Leaders are concerned that “despair over climate change” has started to affect the mental health of people living up north. This story comes after another last week about concerns of mental health problems related to climate change from the maritimes

Manitoba photo project aims lens at mental health barriers faced by newcomersCBC
Feb. 29, 2016
University of Manitoba student Ogai Sherzoi is researching refugee mental health in a project called “Photovoice: Exploring Immigrants and Refugees’ Perceptions and Access to Mental Health Services in Winnipeg.”