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:

Suicide has always been a part of my family, yet I’m repeatedly silenced when I try to talk about itIndependent
April 29, 2018
This article chronicles the role suicide has played in the family history of the writer and her struggle to come to terms with telling her story. The author notes, “I want to be able to talk as freely about my mother ending her own life as I’m allowed to talk about my father dying from cancer.”

The men are not alright: It’s time for honest talk about men, mental health, and suicide CBC Point of View
April 29, 2018
In this CBC Point of View editorial, Rev. Robert Cooke talks about losing his 75-year-old father to suicide after he struggled with depression and anxiety for many years. Cooke says his father was unable to talk about his mental illness, and that he and his family missed the warning signs. “My dad came from a generation where no one talked about mental illness or suicide. Men in particular showed no vulnerability or signs of struggle, psychological or physical. To show any emotion was to appear weak, and real men were not weak,” says Cooke. The suicide rate for men is three times higher than that of women.
Read more about men and suicide

Suicide screening needed for head and neck cancer survivorsOncology Nursing News
April 29, 2018
New research has found that head and neck cancer survivors have a 45% higher suicide rate compared to all other cancers (except pancreatic cancer, which has a higher suicide rate and mostly affects men). Head and neck cancer survivors have unique quality of life issues, like facial disfiguration, taste change, and inability to swallow in some cases.

The secret burden of mental illness in Hong KongCNN
April 29, 2018
This article follows the story of Laurence Grant, who died by suicide after moving to Hong Kong with his girlfriend, Olivia Parker. Grant had served in the military and had a history of depression. In Hong Kong, Parker says, he was unable to get the mental health supports he needed. At least 1 in 6 people living in Hong Kong have a mental illness like anxiety or depression (a number similar to that in Canada, where 1 in 5 will experience a mental health problem or illness). Hong Kong workers put in the most hours per week globally at 50 hours per week, and 60% of residents experience job stress and anxiety. “We believe that it’s a combination of the culture, the enormous pressure that people place on themselves to succeed and do well in a highly competitive, high-achieving system, the working hours and the fact that we live in a very cramped, urban environment,” said Hannah Reidy, who runs the new mental health charity initiative Mind HK. “These problems start young, too: Children are feeling incredibly anxious, low and sometimes suicidal due to the pressure that they feel under to achieve what is expected of them.”

Indigenous children are crying out for help in Canada. Will you hear them?Toronto Star
April 27, 2018
Investigative journalist Tanya Talaga, who works for the Toronto Star, has been given the opportunity, through the Atkinson Fellowship, to examine one current policy issue throughout the year. Talaga’s topic is Indigenous suicide, about which she’ll deliver CBC Massey Lectures. “How is it… that this great country has ignored the children living within its very own borders — the children who feel such a loss of belonging to anyone or anything that they can see no future. The children who choose suicide instead,” asks Talaga. “This Atkinson series is conceived out of the belief in the power of truth-telling, of giving voice to the voiceless. It is not designed to berate Canadians, but rather to help us learn about ourselves as we walk together on the back of the turtle toward healing.”

Nightmares associated with suicide risk in psychiatric patients, study finds PsyPost
April 27, 2018
A new study has looked at the connection between nightmares and suicidal behaviour, and found that psychiatric patients who “have frequent nightmares may be at an increased risk of suicide when feeling depressed and/or or hopeless,” according to Maurizio Pompili, an associate professor of psychiatry at Sapienza University of Rome and corresponding author of the study. The data of the study is limited so researchers acknowledge that causal interpretations cannot be made. “We believe that our study adds to the growing empirical research base establishing nightmares as a risk factor for suicidal ideation and behavior,” Pompili added.

Suicide: A silent contributor to opioid-overdose deathsNew England Journal of Medicine Perspective
April 26, 2018
This article talks about how to prevention opioid overdose deaths, and stresses the importance of distinguishing intentional deaths (suicide) from unintentional (overdose), while recognizing the difficulties associated with this distinction.

Avicii’s family statement implies suicide was the cause of the young producer’s deathNPR
April 26, 2018
Tim Bergling, a.k.a. “Avicii,” who rose to fame as an electronic music producer, died on April 20, 2018 at age 28. His family has released a statement implying his death was a suicide, saying: “He really struggled with thoughts about meaning, life, happiness… He could not go on any longer. He wanted to find peace.”

Truckers line up under bridge to save man threatening suicideNPR
April 24, 2018
Michigan State Police and local officials “rounded up” 13 semitruck drivers to create a barrier underneath the bridge over a Detroit freeway where a man was contemplating suicide. The first step in these situations, when a potential “jumper” is on a bridge, is to shut down traffic on the freeway, reducing the risk that others may be injured. It’s also standard protocol for troopers to redirect semitruck drivers to line up under the overpass: “It provides a safety net for the person in case they happen to lose their grip and fall or if they decide to jump,” Shaw said. “With the trucks lined up underneath they’re only falling about five to six feet as opposed 15 or 16,” said Lt. Mike Shaw, a Michigan State Police spokesman.

When mind deforms bodyJAMA, A Piece of my Mind
April 24, 2018
This editorial piece, written my Nathaniel Morris, MD, provides one psychiatrist’s perspective in treating patients who have thoughts of suicide and are admitted for self-harm or suicide attempts. “I try to accept that I cannot control my patients’ fates. But their stories stay with me. When I leave the hospital, I often find myself scanning the faces around me, looking for the ones seared into my memory, hoping to see that my patients are okay,” says Morris.

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