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:

Edmonton firefighter’s death prompts discussion about PTSD, mental healthGlobal
September 1, 2018
Marc Renaud, 29, died by suicide last weekend. Renaud was a firefighter for the Edmonton Fire Rescue Services for about 7 years. While there was no official record of Renaud having suffered from PTSD, Chief Ken Block openly acknowledged the prevalence of PTSD in the first responder community: “The fire services, emergency services, are challenged with this incredible burden of post traumatic stress injury that, in many cases, is resulting from extreme exposure to some very difficult circumstances on the emergency ground.”

A debate over ‘rational suicide’New York Times
August 31, 2018
This article examines the idea of “rational suicide,” specifically in the context of older adults. “Older people in general, and older men specifically, have the highest rates,” said Dr. Yeates Conwell, a geriatric psychiatrist at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and a longtime suicide researcher. Dr. Meera Balasubramaniam, a geriatric psychiatrist at the New York University School of Medicine, said: “I found myself coming across individuals who were very old, doing well, and shared that they wanted to end their lives at some point. So many of our patients are confronting this in their heads.”

Why fathers must talk about their mental healthWashington Post
August 30, 2018
This piece explores the importance of dads talking about their mental health: they “are shaping modern conversations about masculinity and men’s mental health, and they are determining the collective lessons for the future, for their children, for their sons.” It also discusses self-care, and why that plays a significant role, too: “Fathers need to take care of themselves, and to do it openly so their kids may witness, and even participate in, the process. That will teach children that men are allowed to step outside the boxes of societal stereotype.”

Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown reveals past suicide attempt in personal video E!
August 30, 2018
Karamo Brown, from the series Queer Eye, opened up about his struggles with suicide ideation in a video he posted on social media. Brown revealed that he had attempted suicide 12 years ago: “I was in very dark place. I just felt like life could not get any better. Everything that was happening to me was never going to change and I tried to take my own life.” Karamo explained, “And if it wasn’t for my best friends Raymond and Tre calling the ambulance and getting me off the couch, I probably would not be here today.”

9-year-old died by suicide after he was bullied, mom saysCNN
August 29, 2018
Jamel Myles, 9, died by suicide just days after starting fourth grade. His mother, Leia Pierce, said that he had been bullied at school and that the bullying got worse after Jamel came out as being gay. “Impulsivity plays a big role in the suicidal behavior of young kids not thinking through actions,” said John Ackerman, a clinical psychologist and suicide prevention coordinator for the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “Many people, including medical professionals, think suicide is a teenage problem,” Lisa Boesky, a private clinical psychologist and author who studies adolescent suicide, previously told CNN. “But suicide can happen at very young ages.”
To learn more about children and suicide, read our toolkit on the subject. We’ve also recently updated our sexual minorities and suicide prevention toolkit.

Related – A 9-year-old Colorado boy’s death by suicide highlights the challenges facing LGBTQ kidsTIME

Children ‘attempting suicide’ at Greek refugee campBBC
August 28, 2018
The Moria camp on the Greek Island of Lesbos, with overcrowding, deadly violence, and poor sanitary conditions, is reporting suicide attempts by children. “It’s something we’re seeing constantly,” says Luca Fontana, Lesbos co-ordinator for MSF (Doctors Without Borders), adding that they are reporting the conditions to the UN refugee agency UNHCR and Greece’s ministry of health.

Saskatchewan paramedic shares battle with PTSD after suicide of fellow first responderGlobal
August 28, 2018
Robbie Curtis, 37, died by suicide last week. He was a paramedic with the Regina EMS and struggled with PTSD. Now, acquaintance and former paramedic Josh Mamela, who also suffers from PTSD, is talking openly about his own mental health issues. “(Robbie)’s always sort of had that happy-go-lucky smile on his face type guy,” Mamela said. “A lot of us just suffer through PTSD and then either turn to substances or in worse case scenarios end up taking their life.” Steven Skoworodko, paramedic and president of the Saskatchewan Emergency Medical Services Association (SEMSA) said Curtis’s suicide is the third by a paramedic in Saskatchewan since 2015.  “There’s lots of mental health professionals out there, but not one dedicated in the province that we can direct a paramedic to and say ‘this person is going to understand the things you’ve gone through and the things that you’ve seen and will help you with your stresses and dealing with mental health problems.”
Related – ‘He never needed a bucket list’: Family mourning loss of paramedic Robbie Curtis Regina Leader-Post

A vet’s suicide pushes the VA to do betterNPR
August 28, 2018
John Toombs, an American veteran, died by suicide after returning from Afghanistan and developing a drug addiction. He went to a Veterans Affairs (VA) treatment centre, but was kicked out after being late to take his medication. His father David believes that he was turned away from the emergency room, as it was John’s plan to sleep there and try to get back into the VA program the next morning, but instead, he died by suicide that night. “My son died because of their arrogance and negligence,” said David Toombs. “I can’t honestly tell you I’ll ever have days or weeks of happiness again, but if I can direct my life helping veterans somehow, at least I’ll maybe find some peace.”

America’s suicide crisis is worse than we thoughtBloomberg
August 28, 2018
In 2014, self-injury in the US killed as many people as diabetes and the number of self-injury deaths is increasing. “The rising suicide and opioid mortality rates aren’t really independent,” said Ian Rockett, a professor of epidemiology at West Virginia University in Morgantown. “If you put the focus on the behavior, most of these deaths are from self-harm. We don’t want to blame the victim, but descriptively they belong together.”

What can we learn from the suicide of George Gosbee?Globe and Mail
August 27, 2018
George Gosbee, a well-known figure in the Calgary business community, died by suicide in November 2017. Gosbee was successful in the business world, and “seemed to have a charmed life,” but, as this article argues, “Suicide isn’t as random as it seems. There’s lots of research on those who are most at risk. Mental illness is the largest factor – about half of those who commit suicide have a mental health condition; relationship problems and substance abuse issues follow. Men are more likely to commit suicide than women, and the highest rates occur among those aged 40 to 59. By all accounts, most of these risk factors applied to Gosbee.”

(Subscribers only) Death of a Calgary titan: The spectacular rise and tragic fall of George GosbeeGlobe and Mail
August 27, 2018
This article follows the life of George Gosbee, who died by suicide in November 2017. Always an adventurer, Gosbee’s “adventurous side had taken a turn toward the extreme” in the years leading up to his death. In those same years, a friend, Marshall Abbott, said that he seemed overwhelmed, and began living apart from his wife and four children. He continued on his many adventures but they “failed to bring him lasting peace of mind.”

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