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:

Pandemic Unveils Growing Suicide Crisis For Communities Of ColorScience Friday
August 20, 2021
**Method warning** In the US in 2020 many communities saw a decrease in the suicide rate for white people while the rate for Black, Hispanic, and Asian American people increased. Suicide is most common among middle-aged white man, however, Black children under 13 die by suicide at double the rate of white children and suicide deaths among teens and young adults who are Black or Asian American have increased by 40% over the past few years. There are many factors that may help explain the increase, including an increasing racial wealth gap, growing economic stability, and attention drawn to police killings of unarmed Black people. Young people are likely more exposed to racism than previous generations through social media. Communities of colour were disproportionately affected by the pandemic, losing more loved ones, being more affected by unemployment, and being more likely to lose housing. Tevis Simon grew up in poverty and was exposed to trauma as a child. She attempted suicide in her adult years, but now, she sees hope. Simon shares her story with young people and talks to politicians, law enforcement agencies, and public policy officials about mental health and their responsibilities in suicide prevention. “We can’t not talk about race,” said Simon. “We can’t not talk about systematic oppression. We cannot not talk about these conditions that affect our mental well-being and our feeling and desire to live.”

Dak Prescott’s Heal TurnSports Illustrated
August 19, 2021
**Method warning** Dak Prescott, quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, talks about his healing journey after losing his brother Jace to suicide on April 23, 2020. Prescott also discusses his own struggles with mental health, particularly during the pandemic when he couldn’t play football. Prescott says, “So much anxiety built depression. (I thought) Well, now I’m sad. Now, I’m upset. Now, I’ve got these thoughts of: What’s going to happen to me? What legacy do I have? Who am I if I’m just in this room?”

Owen Wilson Reveals How Older Brother Andrew Helped Him After He Survived 2007 Suicide Attempt  – People
August 19, 2021
In a recent Esquire cover story, Owen Wilson opens up about his 2007 suicide attempt. He feels like now, he’s in a place of optimism: “I don’t know. I’ve been in sort of a lucky place of feeling pretty appreciative of things. I know everything’s kind of up and down, but when you get on one of these waves, you’ve gotta ride it as long as you can. I’ve just felt — yeah. Feeling pretty grateful. Well, grateful’s one of those words that get used all the time. Appreciative. Of, you know, stuff.”

Manitoba man biking across country for youth suicideAPTN
August 18, 2021
Rylee Nepinak, 25, is biking 6000 km from Vancouver to Halifax to raise awareness for youth suicide following several suicide deaths and attempts of youth in Tataskweyak Cree Nation, 800 km north of Winnipeg. Nepinak says, “I wanted to do something that would show them that there’s a lot of people that care about them.”

Her teen felt isolated in the pandemic. She lost him because of itCNN
August 17, 2021
This video features stories of teens who have struggled with their mental health during the pandemic, and mother Heathyr Sidle whose son Michael, 14, died by suicide in October 2020. Dr. Carol Weitzman, developmental-behavioural pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital says, “4.5 million children are grieving the loss of somebody close to them. There’s loss of normal social relationships, of being in school, of routine. The stamp of loss and grief can last for a long time and for many kids, because they did not have access to mental health services because we were in the middle of this pandemic, it’s very unprocessed grief, also.”

Can Self-Harm and Suicide Be Predicted or Prevented?Psychology Today
August 16, 2021
This article explores suicide prediction, which is difficult, and prevention, which is possible. Author Brendan Kelly, MD, PhD, says, “Despite the impossibility of prediction in individual cases, careful, realistic clinical assessments and risk explorations are still very useful for guiding treatment and providing support.” Overall, good mental health care, good communication with families, and good follow-up care may all help to reduce suicide. Effective depression and substance use treatment are also important factors in preventing suicide.

Five years after Jacob Puddister’s death, his sister says his legacy lives on every dayCBC
August 15, 2021
Kelsey Puddister lost brother Jacob Puddister, 21, to suicide 5 years ago. Puddister says, “I think grief does a weird thing to time.… When I’m talking about the five-year anniversary, I’m saying it out loud but my brain is like ‘Are you sure that’s true? How can that be true? How could you have gone five years without him?’ You just do somehow.” In honour of her brother’s memory, Puddister created the Jacob Puddister Memorial Foundation in Newfoundland and Labrador to offer free counselling to young people. “We needed something to do with our grief, and Jake’s heart was the biggest that I could ever imagine. There’s no free consistent youth counselling service, and that’s where I wanted to begin,” says Puddister, who is a managing director for the Foundation. “All of our services are trauma-informed, and centred around that person being the expert in their own life and that person just needing some support. We believe everybody deserves that support.”

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