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:

Experts, parents call for more mental health support as kids head back to school CBC
August 22, 2020
People are concerned about the mental health of children going back to school, and some research suggests that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on young people, many of whom have reported higher levels of anxiety, loneliness and depression. “We found, not surprisingly, that they were really concerned about the pandemic,” said Wendy Ellis, an associate professor of psychology at King’s University College at Western University. “The more fearful students were, the more they experienced some of this distress.” Ontario’s provincial government released a guide to reopening schools, in which mental health supports are highlighted – though no specific recommendations are made. “School boards should implement a tiered approach for mental health supports that will capture all students and target intensive help to those who have been most affected by the COVID-19 outbreak,” says the guide.

Upsurge In Depression And Suicide Among American Workers During The Pandemic And What Needs To Be DoneForbes
August 22, 2020
A recent study of data from neuroscientific brain assessments by Mental Health Index found that depression among workers in the US has risen 102% since February 2020. Employers can look out for signs of depression in their employees, check in with them, and offer resources. Employers can also make their own mental health a priority at work, taking steps each day to ensure mental health is maintained.

Saskatchewan families reflect on loved ones who died by suicideCTV News
August 20, 2020
Last week in ceremony, family members of people who have lost loved ones to suicide grieved their loss at the Walking with our Angels site at the Saskatchewan legislature. “This is about ceremony and this is about opportunities for healing and opportunities for voice for families who may have felt that stigma of a suicide completion, and that they couldn’t speak to their grief because somebody chose to end their life,” said Erica Beaudin, the executive director with Regina Treaty Status Indians (RTSIS).  Tristen Durocher set up the Walking with our Angels site where he has been peacefully protesting the rejection of a bill that would have secured funds for the implementation of the province’s suicide prevention plan.

Suicide prevention has a systemic racism problem. Here’s how to fix it.Mashable
August 19, 2020
This article discusses issues of systemic racism in the suicide prevention community, including the hesitancy crisis line operators face when they dispatch police to respond to imminent crisis calls. “Depending on where you are or what your background is, it may look more like help or more like punishment,” said DeQuincy Lezine, a board member of the American Association of Suicidology (AAS). “Even if the same help is available in both places — and I don’t think it is — the initial context it plays out in is already different.” Further consideration needs to be taken for suicide prevention messaging generally, which is “grounded in the assumption that people live in a world that believes their life matters,” said Jonathan Singer, president of the AAS and an associate professor of social work at Loyola University Chicago, but “On a practical, daily level [society] gives explicit and implicit messages that it’s white lives that matter and not Black lives or brown or Indigenous lives.”

Supportive stickers to help prevent suicide adorn B.C. bridgeCBC
August 19, 2020
Stickers with messages of suicide prevention have been posted to the Peterson Creek Bridge in Kamloops, BC. Kym Gallagher lost her son at age 17 to suicide, and has since been asking the Transportation Ministry of BC to install bridge barriers. Gallagher was told that at this time barriers “aren’t possible” but that the ministry would install stickers with suicide prevention messaging and crisis line numbers on the bridge. “It’s something to make it so it’s not so easy for someone to just do that in the spur of the moment, in that one moment when there’s no hope,” Gallagher said of the stickers, which read: “Where there is no hope, there is help.” accompanied by the crisis line numbers.

Sunnybrook to lead suicide prevention research during COVID-19 pandemic with immediate investment from TELUS’ CEONews Wire
August 19, 2020
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is leading research in suicide prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Mark Sinyor, suicide prevention expert and Sunnybrook psychiatrist, is leading the research which will combine data from Toronto’s three regional trauma centres, including self-harm and suicide attempts over the first three months of the pandemic. Data will be analyzed to determine what impacts risk for suicide during the pandemic and recommendations will be made to guide prevention efforts, such as targeted outreach, mental health services, social assistance, and public messaging. “Pandemics, such as COVID-19, can have a negative effect on mental health, which we know can influence suicide rates. At the same time, in crises like these, people can often come together, and this connection can help reduce suicide risk. The key point is that the effects of the pandemic are not the same for everyone,” says Dr. Sinyor. “We are seeing signs that it is increasing the risk of suicide for some individuals. We have to work to understand this better to help inform hospital systems and mental health care providers of ways to adapt and provide further support, because suicide is preventable.”

The Importance of Storytelling in Messaging Suicide Prevention in the WorkplaceConstruction Citizen
August 19, 2020
Storytelling is a powerful tool to communicate any message, including the message that suicide prevention in the workplace is important. Stories with a human connection will prompt leaders to consider ‘why is this topic important to me?’ and understand why it is important to others. Sharing one’s own story in the workplace can be particularly powerful. When considering suicide prevention in the workplace, bold leadership is needed, as well as empathy and vulnerability – without these, stigma will continue.

Magnetic seizure therapy may help prevent suicide in depression patients: JAMAMedical Dialogues
August 19, 2020
New research has shown that magnetic seizure therapy (MST) could be effective in treating people with thoughts of suicide and treatment-resistant depression. The study used the Beck Scale for Suicidal Ideation to determine efficacy, and ‘remission’ was identified as a score of 0 on the scale. Key findings from the study were that 47.8% of patients ‘achieved’ remission. “These findings suggest that MST may be an effective treatment for suicidality, and sensitivity analysis shows this may be particularly so at low and moderate frequencies,” wrote the authors. “Future studies should directly compare MST with electroconvulsive therapy for treating suicidality and should evaluate MST as a treatment for suicidality across mental disorders.”

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