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:

BC’s wildfires spark mental health concern for firefighters: chief CBC
September 4, 2017
The fire chief for 150 Mile House in BC, Stan McCarthy, is concerned about the long-term effects of ongoing wildfires on firefighters. Firefighters have been working long hours with no significant break periods – McCarthy himself has worked for 41 days straight.  McCarthy is particularly concerned about volunteer firefighters: “I think there’s going to be a long after effect with the mental health of some of the guys, because some of the guys got pretty scared … I know we’re going to have to do some follow-up with that.”

Suicide rates nearly double among UK university students to reach all-time high, study findsIndependent 
September 2, 2017
Thinktank IPPR has released a new study showing that the number of university students with mental health problems has reached the highest level recorded for the UK, with over 15,000 students disclosing their mental health issues in the first year of school. This number has increased 5 times in just 10 years. Students are also seeking help more often, but Craig Thorley, an IPPR senior research fellow, is concerned that universities can’t keep up with the demand. “Universities must be ready to support these students, including, where appropriate, through referral into specialist care. But the extent of support is currently too varied, and many university services are overwhelmed by the level of demand,”  said Thorley.

More teenagers commit suicide on this day in Japan than on any other day of the yearQuartz
September 1, 2017
According to a white paper released by the Japanese government, more youth under the age of 18 die by suicide on September 1 than on any other day of the year. They attribute this increase to the anxiety of going back to school. This year different organizations, including the national broadcaster NHK, are promoting messages of acceptance, and offering students a place to go when feeling distressed. Suicide rates in Japan have been steadily declining, and the government brought in legislation to address suicide directly back in 2006.

Almost half of trans young people try to end their lives. How can we reduce this alarming statistic?The Conversation 
August 31, 2017
A new study has found that young trans people in Australia experience significantly higher levels of mental distress when compared to their heterosexual peers. Another finding: almost 50% of trans youth have attempted suicide. They also face barriers when seeking mental health help, as many healthcare providers are not familiar with gender diversity, leading the youth to feel isolated and frustrated with lack of understanding. Trans youth also report higher instances of adverse experiences with 90% having been rejected by their peers, 74% being bullied, and 66% feeling a lack of family support.

Cross-country mental health data should be standardized, researchers say Toronto Star
August 30, 2017
Published last week, the Toward Mental Health Services in Canada report examined mental health and addiction care access data across 5 provinces (see more in snippet below). The standardization of this data was done with the help of researchers from across the country, and authors argue that this data collection should be standardized by the provinces themselves. “In order to be able to do a better job in mapping the entire mental health system, you really have to do what we’ve done currently which is to go to each province and go to a lot of trouble to standardize how we’re measuring things,” said Dr. Paul Kurdyak, co-author of the report.

Lesbian, gay and bisexual teenagers at much greater risk of depressionThe Conversation
August 30, 2017
A meta-analysis of over 165,000 youth from 8 different countries looked at transgender and intersex youth, and found that female sexual minority youth were much more likely to report depression. According to the authors of the meta-analysis, this suggests that lesbian and bisexual young females are not receiving the mental health care they need, and more needs to be done to address their specific issues.

Researchers find significantly higher rate of mental disorders among first respondersCBC
August 30, 2017
Canada’s first national survey to examine stress “injuries” among first responders has found that 44.5% of the almost 6,000 participants “screened positive for clinically significant symptom clusters consistent with one or more mental disorders.” Among the general population, that number is only 10%.

Striking differences in rates of suicide attempts between provinces revealed in mental health findingsCBC
August 29, 2017
A study released by Simon Fraser University compared mental health care across BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec; the provinces that agreed to share their data. The data included information about hospital discharge and physician billing records, and allowed researchers to compile suicide attempt data. Young people between the ages of 15 and 19 had the highest rates of suicide attempts – and they were also the group that accessed mental health services the least frequently.

All MLAs should receive suicide intervention training, says backbencherCBC
August 29, 2017
Liberal MLA Bush Dumville has enrolled in the next ASIST: Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training Workshop hosted by CMHA PEI, and he suggests other MLAs do the same. “A lot of the community, they reach out to police, they reach out to clergy, but they also reach out to MLAs,” said Dumville. “The MLA is a natural person to ask, ‘How do I get help?’ but I don’t feel qualified or trained in that regard.”

Logic’s hit song is driving people to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in record numbersBuzzfeed
August 29, 2017
Rapper Logic’s song “1-800-273-8255” has increased calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: on April 28, the day the song was released, the organization experienced its second highest daily call volume ever – the first highest being on the day Robin Williams died. The lyrics of the song encourage those who are struggling to seek help.

Western co-authored study suggests correlation between perfectionism and suicide riskGlobal 
August 29, 2017
A recent study has found a link between those who feel the need for everything to “be perfect” and those who experience suicidal ideation. “The drive to be perfect — whether it’s because of internal or external pressure to succeed without ever failing — can be an unbearable and untenable strain,” said Martin Smith, the paper’s lead investigator. “We’re told, ‘Aim high, reach for the stars.’ For some people, even excellence isn’t good enough, and that’s where they run into issues… Insisting on flawlessness is simply not mentally healthy, adaptive, or advisable.”

Suicide one of the leading causes of death in pregnant Ontario women, new moms: studyCTV
August 28, 2017
A new study that tracked women in Ontario from 1994 to 2008 found that suicide was a leading cause of death among pregnant and recently pregnant women (5% of deaths during and recently after pregnancy were suicides). According to the study’s lead author Sophie Grigoriadis, women in this stage are much more likely to use more lethal means to die by suicide, which leads to more deaths.
Related: 1 in 19: New study shines light on reality of suicide among new Ontario moms, moms-to-beCBC

Authorities say second inmate death at Regina jail was suicideRegina Leader-Post
August 28, 2017
A second man died by suicide in the Regina Provincial Correctional Centre last week, following another death that had happened just the day before. The first death has not been confirmed as a suicide.

The MTV VMAs tackle Charlottesville and suicideAtlantic
August 28, 2017
Rapper Logic brought suicide to the forefront at the annual MTV Video Music Awards by performing his song “1-800-273-8255” – named after the US national crisis line. The track encourages people to get help and talks about suicide as an issue.

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