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:

Did the COVID-19 pandemic push up suicide rates in the first few months? An international study says noToronto Star
April 29, 2020
A study published in the Lancet analyzed suicide data of 21 countries from 2019 and then up to July 2020 and found no increase in the suicide rate during the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is contrary to many experts’ expectations that the effects of lockdown measures due to the pandemic would increase the number of suicides. A lead on the study, Jane Pirkis, feels that social cohesion may have provided protection against an increase in suicide deaths.
However, it may be too early to make any conclusions. Mara Grunau, Executive Director, for the Centre for Suicide Prevention, cautions that the full impact of the pandemic on suicide will not be known for a number of years, as suicide has to be looked at through a longer-term lens. But help-seeking actions for mental health concerns and reaching out for resources like crisis lines do appear to have risen during the pandemic. Grunau says “Suicide is not inevitable, and sometimes we look at an increase in crisis calls as a positive thing, because people are seeking help either for themselves or others.”

Rejected twice by government, NDP suicide prevention bill passesRegina Leader-Post
April 30, 2021
Doyle Vermette, NDP MLA for Cumberland in Saskatchewan, whose bill for a suicide prevention strategy had been rejected twice before (in 2019 and 2020), became law on Friday, April 30. The Ministry of Health must now establish a provincial prevention strategy that recognizes suicide as a health and safety priority.

‘Silent crisis’ of male suicide getting worse across CanadaVancouver Sun
April 29, 2021
Columnist Douglas Todd believes the epidemic of male suicide is worsening, particularly in conjunction with the escalation of deaths from opioid overdoses and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In the piece, UBC professor and director of the men’s mental health initiative Heads Up Guys, John Ogrodniczuk, provides Todd with current perspectives on men’s mental health and male suicide.

A Walmart worker talked about suicide. The store sold him a gun anyway, family says.NBC News
April 28, 2021
It has been revealed that a former Walmart employee had purchased a shotgun at his workplace and used it to die by suicide on his lunchbreak. This tragic story highlights the complicated interrelationship of firearms safety, suicide, and the marketplace in the United States.

Samaritans offers suicide prevention guidelines for gambling businessesiGB
April 27, 2021
The Samaritans in the United Kingdom have collaborated with stakeholders, people with lived experience, and health professionals within the U.K.’s gambling industry to craft suicide prevention guidelines. These will be targeted toward this industry in a “proactive effort to do more to prevent gambling-related suicide.”

The rise of suicide rates during springIowa State Daily
April 27, 2021
A piece from Iowa State University stating that contrary to popular belief, suicide rates do not generally increase during the winter or at Christmas time. Rather, slight increases tend to occur during springtime. However, Chris Hanes, director of Iowa State Student Counseling Services, cautions that “people are at risk of experiencing suicidal ideation at any time of the year.”

B.C. construction industry launches mental health support program for workers CTV News
April 27, 2021
The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) in British Columbia has launched a workplace wellness program for those in the construction industry seeking mental health help. Chris Gardner, president of the ICBA, says the program is intended to break down the stigma of mental health and get people talking about mental wellness. “It’s really about starting that conversation and having people who may be struggling understand that support and resources are there,” he says.

Subscribe to this weekly mailing list