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:
Truth and consequences when judgment takes months in court and minutes online – CBC
April 16, 2018
Jeremy Quaile died by suicide after a struggle with addiction and mental health issues and extensive bullying on social media. Quaile, a middle-aged man, whose substance use was increasing and who was withdrawing from family and friends, was already at risk of suicide when he was publicly accused of bringing harm to an animal. Quaile’s dog died in his car, and after the accusation was made public in an article posted online, readers harshly criticized him and some even tried to find out personal details about where he lived and worked. “He was so distraught,” said Jim Gountounas, one of Quaile’s closest friends. “He felt shame because his name was in the news. And they made him sound like he was the worst person, ever.” Robert Olson, Librarian at the Centre for Suicide Prevention, said it’s important to remember that real people are behind their digital representations. It’s easy to forget, especially when hurling vitriol from behind a cloak of online anonymity, that those on the receiving end are complex human beings. In general, he advised treating people online the same way you would, face-to-face. “We call it digital citizenship,” he said. “To be a good digital citizen, that’s the ideal.”
Mentally ill inmate freed from Ottawa jail three weeks after suicide attempt – Ottawa Citizen
April 20, 2018
James Rush was released from the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre (OCDC) after pleading guilty and being sentenced to time-served awaiting trial, 7.5 months. Rush had, earlier this month, attempted suicide in the jail, having been placed in segregation as punishment for a fight, despite the fact that he was known to have a long history of mental illness and was on medication. Instead of jailing Rush further, Ontario Court Justice Heather Perkins-McVey heavily took into consideration Rush’s mental health concerns, acknowledged that OCDC was not meeting his mental health needs, and released him on probation on orders that he see a psychiatrist, with whom he had an appointment already.
Cyberbullies are also victims – they need help too – The Conversation
April 19, 2018
A systemic review study has looked at data of over 150,000 young people across 30 countries and 21 years to find that young victims of cyberbullying are twice as likely to self-harm and enact suicidal behaviour. Perpetrators of cyberbullying are at a higher risk for suicidal behaviours, too. Researcher and Clinical Professor Ann John suggests supporting not only victims of cyberbullying, but also the perpetrators. “Dealing with any form of bullying is not easy, but it can make all the difference to an isolated person. It can be difficult to have sympathy for a bully, but if we can all keep in mind that victims and bullies are sometimes one and the same – they are all vulnerable children and young people – we can start to give them the support they really need,” said John.
Related – Young victims of cyberbullying twice as likely to attempt suicide and self-harm, study finds – ScienceDaily
April 19, 2018
Edmonton teen’s group-home suicide came decade after changes recommended, fatality inquiry finds – CBC
April 19, 2018
Kyleigh Crier, 15, died by suicide in an Edmonton group home in April of 2014, 13 years after a judge recommended measures that would have prevented her death. The recommendation made was that all group homes are equipped with breakaway bars in showers and closets to reduce the ligature points that make death by hanging possible. The judge of the fatality inquiry did find that Crier’s mental health was stabilizing in her time at the group home, and that the previous recommendation “disappeared into a bureaucratic black home, only to reappear in the aftermath of (Crier’s) death.”
‘My teacher saved me from suicide’ – BBC
April 19, 2018
Hati Sparey-South, 26, says she owes her life to her teacher. At 16, she was contemplating taking her life, and had already attempted once. Her teacher noticed how unhappy she was and just asked, “Hey, are you all right? How’s it going?” That was enough for Sparey-South to open up about her struggles, and knowing someone cared helped her persevere through her depression.
Jury for inmate’s suicide inquest recommends better mental health support – CBC
April 17, 2018
Recommendations have been made after the suicide inquest into the death of Yousef Mohamed Hussein, 27, at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre (OCDC) in April 2016. Recommendations include creating a “care map” for inmates transitioning out of suicide watch, means restriction, the use of tele-health for access to psychiatric assessments and ensuring there is effective recruitment of mental health care professionals at OCDC.
Couchsurfers at greater risk of suicide and self-harm than those on the street, study suggests – Guardian
April 17, 2018
A research project in Brisbane, Australia has found that people who “couchsurf” are twice as likely to rate their mental health as “poor” than those sleeping on the streets, and reported higher instances of suicide ideation and self-harming behaviour. Over 21,000 Australians couchsurf while applying for homeless benefits. “Katie Hail-Jares, a post-doctorate researcher from Griffith Criminology Unit, said couchsurfers lived in environments of vulnerability and with insecurity of housing. ‘I think that does then contribute to feelings of anxiety, it exacerbates all those kind of mental health concerns that are tied into those self-assessments,’ she said.”
After a suicide: A toolkit for schools, second edition – American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)
The AFSP and SPRC have released the second edition of After a suicide: A toolkit for schools. This 68-page document has a wealth of information about how schools can cope after the suicide of a student. It includes guidelines for using social media and how a suicide death should be memorialized. The toolkit also provides several templates for schools to use, such as sample death notification statements.