Schools face rise in suicides during pandemic: “So many kids are hurting”CBS
April 7, 2022
Clark Country School District in Las Vegas, Nevada, has experienced many student suicides since the beginning of the pandemic. High school teacher Nick Orr says, “I’ve had to work with our social workers more times than I can even count just because so many kids are hurting.” Orr lost broth Anthony Orr, 18, to suicide in August of 2020. Anthony had just graduated. “If I didn’t see this in my own brother, someone with whom I was living, how am I gonna see it in someone that I see for 84 minutes every other day?” According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 44% of high school students reported persistently feeling sad or hopeless during the pandemic, and 1 in 5 have considered suicide. The school district launched a weekly social and emotional learning lesson to promote mental health: “Honestly, it does help — that moment of five minutes of talking about, ‘Oh today was not the best day,'” said high school student Maurice.

‘When you stop fighting, that’s when you start grieving’: the parents battling to prevent student suicide
April 6, 2022
Natasha Abrahart, 20, died by suicide in 2018. Abrahart was a gifted student who experienced social anxiety. She died while attending the University of Bristol. Since her death, parents Robert and Margaret Abrahart have been in a legal battle with the university, arguing that the institution breached their legal duties to Natasha by discriminating against her because of her mental disabilities which prevented her from completing oral assessments. Natasha died on the day she was due to give a presentation. She was also not connected to help after expressing suicidality to school staff. “Every big life event will be noticed by the fact that Natasha is not there,” says Margaret. “We’re looking at how this could have been prevented, and somehow your mind moves out from the fact that it’s actually too late. The emotional side, we’ve shelved it; we’ve focused instead on the practical things, because it’s easier.” The four-year legal battle has become, she says, “our new job, so when this goes, it’s going to be back to when she died and having to cope with that. When you stop fighting, that’s when you start grieving. So it’s quite mixed feelings.” Natasha was one of 11 suicides that took place at the university between 2016 and 2018.

Why have deaths by suicide declined during the pandemic? CTV
April 5, 2022
A new study suggests that, in Canada, suicides decreased during the pandemic. Researcher Simon Hatcher says, “At the beginning of the pandemic there were predictions that suicides would increase by 30 per cent, yet here we are in 2022 and suicides have not increased. If anything, they’ve probably decreased in Canada and many other countries around the world, which is a real paradox. Maybe all of the original studies which had predicted an increase in mental health burden were really just looking at self-selected populations who were unwell and were more likely to fill in questionnaires anyway, so you get a false picture of the burden of mental health care.” Hatcher added that it’s possible technology helped people access mental health care, however, it’s also possible that some suicides are being misclassified as opioid overdose deaths. “The number of opioid deaths due to overdoses has increased enormously over the pandemic and it could be that some of the suicide deaths have moved into the opioid deaths,” he said.

Preventing Suicide Among Young Children: 5 Takeaways for EducatorsEducation Week
April 5, 2022
Schools in 22 US states are mandated to have suicide prevention policies, which usually include training for teachers. However, these suicide prevention efforts have largely focused on high school students, overlooking younger students. Though adolescents are more likely to consider suicide, younger students also have thoughts of suicide – one study found that over 8% of children ages 9 and 10 have thought about suicide and more than 1% had attempted. “[Kids as young as 5] understand killing themselves better than the word suicide,” said John Ackerman, a child clinical psychologist and the suicide prevention coordinator at the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. But they may not grasp the finality of death. “Often they know that they would be dead, but they don’t understand the permanence of that in the same way. They don’t understand that doesn’t mean they’re coming back or they’re not having conversations with loved ones.” Developmentally appropriate conversations with children about suicide are needed, says Ackerman. “Those conversations should be direct, concrete, and done in a way that’s really compassionate and curious, rather than sort of born out of fear or anger or pushing them away and picking up a punishing approach.”

COVID-19 pandemic linked to increased suicide rate in JapanHealio
April 4, 2022
A new study analyzing data from January 2020 to September 2021 has found that during the COVID-19 pandemic, suicides in Japan increased. Female suicides increased by 31% and male suicides by 17%. The upward trend began in July 2020. “During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, there were concerns that suicides would increase due to changes in lifestyle that restricted human contact in schooling, employment and social activities,” write authors Nobuyuki Horita, Yokohama City University in Japan, and Sho Moriguchi, Keio University School of Medicine in Japan. “Although several studies reported little or no increase in suicide rates in the early phase of the pandemic, to our knowledge there is no detailed report for the entire first year of the pandemic or longer.”

Deaf* LGBTQ+ Youth Face Alarmingly High Risk of Suicide, New Research Finds Them
March 28, 2022
New research from LGBTQ suicide prevention organization Trevor Project has found that deaf LGBTQ young people were two times more likely to attempt suicide than hearing LGBTQ youth. They also reported depression at a 16% higher rate. Deaf LGBTQ youth who had supportive families were 50% less likely to have reported a suicide attempt. “Deaf* LGBTQ youth in our sample were more likely to report both struggling to meet their basic needs and discrimination due to their LGBTQ identity compared to their hearing LGBTQ peers,” said Jonah DeChants, a research scientist at The Trevor Project. “Both economic stress and discrimination could contribute to Deaf* LGBTQ youth’s minority stress and their increased risk of recent depression and attempting suicide.”

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