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‘This is horrifying’: How a pro-suicide forum encourages… use (of lethal substance) in Canada, U.K.CTV News
May 5, 2023
**Method warning** Recently, a man in Ontario was charged with selling lethal substances online. Users of a pro-suicide website forum were encouraging people thinking about suicide to reach out to the man to obtain the substances. “This is horrifying,” said Camille Quenneville, CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division “It’s extremely disturbing to see this, and to think somebody would encourage this as a way to end [one’s] life…this site should be taken down immediately.” The site can be found easily through Google, and Google has said that, “When people search on Google for information about suicide, they will be directed to region-specific prevention hotlines and support networks. We also block autocomplete predictions for those searches,” noting that “We balance these safeguards with our commitment to give people open access to information. We’re guided by local law when it comes to the important and complex questions of what people should be able to find online.” Joe Nihill, 23, died by suicide after finding the pro-suicide forum and using the substance in 2020. Since then, Catherine Adenekan, Nihill’s mother, has been seeking to restrict the site in the UK. One internet provider in the UK has has blocked the site unless specific filters are turned off. It’s believed the site is hosted in the US, where attempts to have the site restricted have been unsuccessful.

Talking Grief: You Don’t Get Over a Death by Suicide
Everyday Health
May 3, 2023
Charlotte Maya lost husband Sam to suicide in 2007. In this article, she shares her experience of grief, saying she was “sad, mad, and confused” initially. “I was afraid I would be ostracized in the community because of how Sam died.” She also felt anger and guilt, and says, “It was easier to forgive Sam than to forgive myself. There was constant revisiting of what I said and what I could have done.” Jill Harkavy-Friedman, PhD, senior vice president of research at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, says, “Generally, with any kind of loss, and particularly with suicide, you don’t have to wait to get help. Get help from the start.” Maya says that therapy helped her cope with grief, in addition to prioritizing self-care and maintaining a meditation practice. Harkevy-Friedman says: “You don’t get over a death by suicide. You heal from it. You don’t forget the person. You heal over time and the focus can shift from the way a person died to getting back to remembering who the person was that died.”

Construction firm pushes OSHA to train workers on mental health and suicide preventionGBH
May 3, 2023
A Boston-based construction firm, Suffolk Construction, one of the largest in the US, is taking steps to make mental health and suicide prevention training mandatory for all workers. In the US, the construction industry has high rates of suicide. Industry leaders say that the poor economy and the pandemic have increased pressure on workers and increased substance use, making it imperative that mental health is addressed. A letter by Suffolk Construction CEO John Fish and executive director of Veterans’ wellness non-profit Home Base, Jack Hammond, says, “Our collective goal as an industry should be for every worker to return home to their families each day. It is our job as industry leaders to train, support and educate our workers on the symptoms of mental illness and identifying suicide risk factors, which should be taken as seriously as any jobsite risk. The time is now to rally our entire industry to address this dire issue.”

Rise in suicide-related ED visits among youth raises larger questions around mental health careSTAT News
May 2, 2023
A recently published study has found that, in the US, visits to the emergency department for suicidal behaviour in youth ages 6 to 24 increased 5 times from 2011 to 2020. “It is somewhat expected, given increasing rates of suicide deaths, but … it is just sad news … and fivefold is a huger increase than we expected,” said Greg Rhee, one of the study authors. Greg Simon, a psychiatrist and researcher, interprets the data in a hopeful way, “To the extent that it reflects people being more likely to seek care when they do experience severe distress, that’s not bad.” The article goes on to explain the emergency departments are not optimal places for people to access mental health care. Simon suggests that further research builds on this study to explore the quality of non-emergency mental health care. “The question we need to be asking is, how often could emergency department visits have been avoided?” he said. “And after an emergency department visit, how often do people get connected with the care they need?”

Going Deep Into the Why of SuicideJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
May 1, 2023
This article discusses the work of Maryland’s new Suicide Fatality Review Committee. The Committee will go beyond medical examiner’s reports to investigate suicides, including through psychological autopsies, a practice in which a trained clinician interviews family and friends of a person who has died by suicide to create a unique profile of that person in addition to a systems-focused, data-driven perspective. The aim of the Committee is to identify service gaps and trends and commonalities among suicides in order to provide practical steps that can be taken to prevent suicide through  policy, education, and intervention. “I believe there’s so much we’re going to learn from this Committee,” says Mental Health Professor Holly Wilcox, PhD, who sits on the Committee. “I feel it’s going to provide a model for other states and, in this process, how we can use data and coordination and collaboration to reduce suicide.”

One year after student’s suicide, school admits it fell ‘tragically short’ of protecting himCNN
May 1, 2023
Jack Reid, 17, died by suicide last year in a residential house at a boarding and preparatory school, Lawrenceville School, in New Jersey. The school released a statement recently acknowledging that they could have done more to prevent his death. “Lawrenceville’s top priority is the physical, social, and emotional health, safety, and wellbeing of our students,” the statement read. “We recognize that in Jack’s case, we fell tragically short of these expectations.” Reid was bullied and after the school was made aware of the bullying, investigated the claims, finding them to be false. Elizabeth and William Reid say, “He loved his school and his community, and treated others with kindness and respect. He had a bright future. We hope no other family suffers such a profound loss.”

Student survey strengthens campaign for ‘Harry’s law’ on suicide dataThe Guardian
April 30, 2023
Harry Armstrong Evans died by suicide in 2021 while attending university. Evans’ parents are campaigning for “Harry’s law,” which would require UK universities to publish their annual student suicide rates. Exeter University, where Evans attended, was strongly criticized by a coroner following Evans’ death, saying that they failed to respond effectively to Evan’s “cry for help.” A recent survey among university students found that over 85% of students want universities to be more transparent about suicides. “We would do anything to get Harry back. I would not wish the terrible pain we are going through on any other student’s parent, siblings and their friends,” said Harry’s mother Alice.
“What we are seeking is transparency from universities about student suicides at each university. We would like a proper analysis of deaths of students from suicide by each course subject. We want to prevent any other parents from suffering as we have and their families being destroyed like ours has been.”

South Korea may look perfect, but behind the facade lies a devastating suicide crisisThe Guardian
April 29, 2023
**Graphic method warning** The South Korean suicide rate is the highest among OECD countries, at 26 per 100,000. In contrast, Canada’s suicide rate in 2020 was 10 per 100,000. In South Korea, the leading cause of death for those aged 10 to 39 was suicide, and was attributed to 44% of adolescent deaths and 55% of deaths among those aged 20-29. The author of the article, Raphael Rashid, provides their own insights into the culture, having moved there 12 years ago. Rashid says, “I have seen this crisis with my own eyes. Many of my closest friends have struggled with suicidal thoughts and depression. They often cite societal pressures to succeed, feelings of isolation, worthlessness and discrimination for not conforming or being different. It’s a conversation that’s become all too familiar and many of my peers are seeking psychological help, albeit discreetly. While more people speak openly about mental health than they used to, the topic still remains taboo and is often seen as a personal weakness or failure.” The South Korean government has recently announced its intention to reduce the country’s suicide rate by 30% within five years.