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:

After latest suicide, the Vessel in New York City’s Hudson Yards ponders its futureCNN
August 7, 2021
**Method warning** Discussions are ongoing regarding whether or not New York City tourist attraction The Vessel can ever reopen following another suicide. Physical barriers and nets are being considered as additions to the structure – physical barriers have been proven to prevent suicide in many instances, including on Toronto’s Bloor Street Viaduct. Dr. Mark Sinyor, a psychiatrist and suicide prevention expert at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre has studied the impact of physical barriers to prevent suicide. Sinyor says, “When you limit people’s access to lethal methods, you see fewer deaths in an area. That is because people who are suicidal ultimately can find other ways of coping if in the moment a means of death is not readily available. The lesson of the Bloor Viaduct is that a suicide prevention barrier is a component of an effective suicide prevention program but needs to be paired with safe public messaging. Suicide never has to happen. It is preventable. And people who are struggling should seek help, because help is out there.”

We Wish to Call You by Your NameSuicide Prevention Resource Centre
August 6, 2021
This article by Dolores Subia BigFoot, a co-director at the Suicide Prevention Resource Centre in the US, explains how the residential boarding schools in the US are connected to suicide rates in Indigenous people today, “Historical trauma, intergenerational grief, and ancestral pain combined with poverty, institutional racism, discrimination, and displacement has created the conditions for suicide and self-injury to be the broken journey toward burying those who have no name,” says BigFoot, referring to the unidentified remains that have been found of children who died at the schools. “A long held understanding and teaching that was practiced frequently but disrupted by boarding school policy and other forms of child displacement is the calling of a person’s name to bring them home. There was a belief that a person is called four times by their name … to call a person by their name four times is to acknowledge them and their presence in this world, their sense of themselves, their connection to their spiritual pathway, and their connection to their family,” explains BigFoot. “May this acknowledgement and recognition help in the healing process so that this current generation and future generations of American Indian and Alaska Native children and youth gain strength and resilience and not chose suicide to erase their pain and sorrow.”
Learn more about suicide prevention among Indigenous people.

Patients Willing To Discuss Whether They Own Guns With Their Doctors, Study Suggests Forbes
August 6, 2021
A recent study done in the US suggests that people would be willing to discuss the presence of firearms in their homes with their physicians. This is an important finding, as firearms are the most common lethal method of suicide in the US. Study authors encourage physicians to talk to patients about firearms in the home, with the goal of helping to prevent suicide. Dr. Julie Richards, the study’s lead author and researcher at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute said, “When we don’t ask these questions, we reinforce the notion that we shouldn’t talk to our patients about firearms. Change is hard, but normalizing the practice of asking about firearm access could save lives.”

Small Talk With A Stranger Can Still Save Lives, Says SamaritansHuffPost
August 3, 2021
The ‘Small Talk Saves Lives’ campaign by Samaritans UK reminds us that anyone can help someone thinking about suicide. The campaign is being re-launched in the UK as they come out of lockdown, and focuses on “rebuilding public confidence to trust our gut and start conversation with anyone who looks as though they may need help. Brits are known for being quite reserved… but engaging in the smallest of conversations – it could be as simple as asking ‘hello, what’s the time?’ – may help interrupt someone’s suicidal thoughts, Samaritans says.”

Four officers who responded to U.S. Capitol attack have died by suicideCTV News
August 2, 2021
The District of Columbia’s police department has reported that four officers, who were guarding the Capitol building on January 6 when a riot took place and the building was stormed by citizens, have died by suicide. Officer Gunther Hashida died by suicide most recently and was found Thursday, July 29. In a testimony to a House of Representatives special committee, officers defending the Capitol that day told the committee that they feared for their lives and were beaten, threatened, and subjected to racial insults.
Related: My husband’s suicide after Jan. 6 riots was a line-of-duty death. He deserves recognition.USA Today

The Psychological Autopsy of Men Who Die by SuicidePsychology Today
August 2, 2021
This article explores the efficacy of a psychological autopsy and what it can reveal about why men die by suicide more often than other demographic groups.  A psychological autopsy is conducted when a cause of death is not immediately clear, and attempts to “reconstruct a biography of the deceased by gathering psychological information from personal documents; police, medical, and coroner records; and first-person accounts (from people who knew or came into contact within the deceased in the months and weeks leading up to their death).” 90% of early psychological autopsy studies have determined that the person who died by suicide had an undiagnosed psychological disorder. Paul Quinnett, founder and CEO of the QPR Institute says, “So long as we keep repeating the phrase, ‘encourage male help-seeking behavior’ in our grant applications, public health marketing, and outreach efforts, suicidal men will just keep dying. Hoping men will become more like women is costing us the lives of our fathers, brothers, sons, uncles, and nephews.”

La Ronge support group works to help men in northern Sask. fight depression CBC
July 31, 2021
Chris Merasty walked alongside Tristen Durocher last year as they made their way from Air Ronge in northern Saskatchewan to the legislature in Regina to raise awareness for the high rates of Indigenous youth suicide in northern Saskatchewan. Merasty is continuing his work in suicide prevention by bringing together young men in his community of La Ronge to support each other and learn about their culture. Merasty said, “I was just thinking, ‘Why is there no support system in the community for men? There are lots of programs here based with women, children and elders and stuff like that, but nothing too specific that focuses and deals with the men… A lot of us have to travel down these northern roads to go to (mental health) specialists and get the proper help and attention we need. We don’t have the proper amenities.”

Health Matters: Suicide among 2SLGBTQ+ community membersGlobal News
July 28, 2021
Josh Brown, 29, died by suicide in February 2020. Brown was an activist for 2SLGBTQ+ rights and traveled around Canada supporting 2SLGBTQ+ organizations and encouraging acceptance. Now his family is continuing that work and raising awareness for mental health and suicide prevention among the 2SLGBTQ+ community. They’re hosting a fundraiser for the Chew Project in Edmonton, an organization that provides frontline support and opportunities for health and wellness among 2SLGBTQ+ community members. “My brother made everybody laugh, made everybody feel happy and loved and comfortable,” says sister Ashley Brown. She says “I had asked my brother a couple of times if he was okay,” following incidents of bullying in school. “He laughed it off with a joke and asked how I was doing and immediately turned it back to me.”
Learn more about suicide among people belonging to sexual minorities.

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