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After daughter’s suicide, this mom wants caregivers notified when loved ones get psychotropic medsCBC
April 27, 2023
Louise Carter lost daughter Madisyn Solomon, 27, to suicide, following the increase in dosage of a psychotropic drug and now Carter is calling for a formal policy that would alert family members when a loved one is prescribed a new psychotropic drug or when dosage is increased. Solomon had been prescribed various psychotropic drugs, many of which warn that suicidal thoughts and suicide risk can increase as a side effect when the medication is first started, or when dosage is increased. Carter says of Solomon, “She had an adverse reaction to the drugs her family doctor put her on that landed her in the hospital. Then she was put on more drugs in the hospital.” Solomon had been hospitalized for suicidality and prescribed new drugs while she was in the hospital, which the family was not aware of, and she died by suicide less than two weeks after her release from hospital.  “(Solomon’s father) had no idea,” said Carter. “Otherwise he would have checked in on her. We would have [taken] her back to the hospital.” Dr. Carlos Lalonde, psychiatrist and chief of staff at Homewood Health Centre, says that there are concerns around consent when considering disclosure of treatment, however, he acknowledges that, if a patient did give consent to alert family members to changes in treatment, that, “Any opportunity to enhance awareness and involvement is a positive thing and could potentially improve outcomes.”

Suicides abroad prompt Peel Police to investigate website that sold lethal substanceCBC
April 27, 2023
**Method warning** Peel Regional Police are investigating a Toronto-area man after receiving reports of multiple suicides using a substance obtained from the man’s website. David Parfett lost son Tom Parfett, 22, to suicide. Parfett found out his son purchased the substance from the Canadian website, and says, “I am 99 per cent certain that if my son was unable to source this drug, he’d still be here.” Dr. Tyler Hickey, who co-authored a study about the substance and suicide, said, “In an unfortunate way, this is a very lethal product. I do know that people are continuing to die from ingesting these substances.”

Chief pledges to banish drug dealers as Fort Chipewyan grapples with suicide crisis CBC
April 27, 2023
Mikisew Cree First Nation (MCFN) Chief Billy-Joe Tuccaro says that a coordinated response is needed to address the complex social issues, including isolation, intergenerational trauma, and addiction, that are underlying the community’s suicide crisis. The community is also still reeling from the discovery of a leaking tailing pond at an Imperial mine that has caused environmental contamination, and was not disclosed to the public for months. MCFN has been working with the RCMP to implement a zero-tolerance drug policy. “We’re done talking. It’s time to put words into action,” said Tuccaro. “If we allow this to happen as a community, we are just part of the problem.” Tuccaro is calling on the federal and provincial governments to help. Following a statement by Rick WIlson, Alberta’s minister of Indigenous relations, Indigenous Services Canada said they are deeply concerned about the issues facing the community and that they are in regular contact with community leadership “responding to critical incidents as they arise.”

Mikisew Cree First Nation declares state of local emergency following multiple suicidesCBC
April 25, 2023
Mikisew Cree First Nation in northern Alberta has declared a state of emergency due to multiple suicides and suicide attempts. Community leadership released a statement calling for more supports, “Our nation urgently needs mental health support in our community to address the immediate and short-term crisis and sustained funding for mental health and addictions in the long term, focusing on health promotion, prevention and reclaiming cultural identity.” Chief Billy-Joe Tuccaro posted a video on Facebook saying that the community has asked for support from the federal and provincial governments, and encouraging those who are struggling to get help. Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation says they’re planning to issue their own declaration of emergency and hopes to work together with Mikisew Cree First Nation, “It’s time we banded together and deal with the issue. If not, this crisis is going to keep on going.” Alberta’s minister of Indigenous relations Rick Wilson said, “I am committed to working with my government colleagues, including at the federal level, to understand what we can do to support Mikisew Cree First Nation and all Indigenous communities impacted by the loss of life due to suicide.”

How do I do ‘suicide watch’ at home?The Conversation
April 23, 2023
This article discusses how family members and loved ones can support a person who has been discharged from the hospital but who is still at risk for suicide. Authors Sarah Wayland and Myfanwy Maple say, “…There’s hardly any advice for carers on how to do ‘suicide watch’ at home. Partners can be left to improvise, leading to high levels of distress. In a recent disclosure, one woman described how she tied herself to her suicidal partner for nine days before finding help for him.” The authors suggest some practical tips for how to support a loved one who is thinking about suicide, including by having conversations with them, developing a safety plan, making the environment safer by locking away medications and toxic substances, and reaching out to others for support. 

The Pandemic’s Surprising Effect on Suicide Rates – The Atlantic
April 23, 2023
This article explores the pattern of suicide rates declining during a crisis. According to Maria A. Oquendo, former president of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide rates go down during a crisis when there is “community cohesion,” which is often prompted by crisis. Oquendo also says, “Individuals become more externally focused” during a crisis, and “Community suffering makes personal suffering more tolerable.”