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:

Saskatoon runner inspiring hope amid youth suicide crisis, pandemic The Star Phoenix
August 10, 2020
Tarrant Cross Child used running to help him in his recovery journey through addiction and suicide ideation. Now Cross Child is sharing the activity that had such positive impacts in his life with others. Cross Child works with schools and Indigenous communities by offering running clinics and pep rallies, with the goal of building self-esteem in kids. “I want these kids to experience a victory, something good,” Cross Child said, “something positive in their life that they were able to do.”

Mental health during pandemic a ‘huge concern’: health minister CBC
August 6, 2020
Health Minister Patty Hajdu said last week that the mental health of Canadians is a “huge concern” during the COVID-19 pandemic and encourages anyone who is struggling to seek help and use the free tools being provided by the federal government on through their website ‘Wellness Together Canada,” an online portal offering mental health resources. “It’s a huge concern for me, and for our government. We knew that this would be an issue for Canadians, that people would struggle with increasing depression, anxiety, all the fear and worry, the economic disruption,” said Hajdu.
Young adults more likely to have mental health issues amid pandemic, survey showsCBC
Pregnant women suffering worse mental health during COVID-19 pandemic, U of C study saysCalgary Herald

25,000 Canadians hospitalized or killed by self-harm last year, research saysCBC
August 6, 2020
Data collected pre-COVID was released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) last week and shows 25,000 people in Canada were admitted to hospital for self-harm and suicide attempts and 3,800 of those died by suicide. The data found that hospitalization rates were highest among females aged 10-24, who were three times more likely to be hospitalized compared to males in the same age group, and that men aged 45 years and older had the highest rates of death by suicide. Tracy Johnson, CIHI’s director of health system analysis and emerging issue said, “People are showing up in emergency departments and they’re showing up in hospitals. That’s kind of a place of last resort. That says to me that these people require more help than they’re getting.”

Daisy Coleman’s death highlights sexual assault, suicide link USA Today
August 6, 2020
Daisy Coleman, 23, died by suicide last week. Coleman was an activist against sexual violence after having herself experienced sexual violence at the age of 14. She was the subject of a Netflix documentary, “Audrey & Daisy,” which focused on the ripple effects of sexual violence in families and communities. “Daisy, her story, and her advocacy meant so much to advocates and survivors of sexual violence of all ages – but especially to high school students who saw their own stories reflected in hers,” said Scott Berkowitz, president of RAINN. “Every survivor, advocate, and organization who fights for justice, supports survivors, and works to end sexual violence will continue her legacy.” Farrah Khan, a survivor of sexual violence, educator, and manager of Consent Comes First at Ryerson University said of Coleman’s death, “It broke my heart. We don’t recognize enough what we ask of survivors. … Here’s a young woman who not only was healing from the violence that she was subjected to, but was doing all this activism and work, which is commendable and wonderful, and we hold them up and say, ‘Wow, what a hero.’ But also we need to hold space for the fact that it’s messy, it’s difficult, and it’s hard to survive. There are so many of us who don’t.”

3 Reasons for Living Cited by Suicide SurvivorsPsychology Today Canada
August 5, 2020
People who have attempted suicide provide insight into recovery from thoughts of suicide and a new research study has asked them to contribute their experiences by identifying their reasons for living. Study participants included 110 people who had a lived experience of suicide and who were entering the suicide prevention workforce – 79% were female. The most commonly shared reasons for living included connection – with family and especially children; service – the desire to contribute to society through positive change; and future orientation – expressing “an interest in general, being curious, hope that the future will bring better times, and an interest in future experiences.”

Despite far fewer riders, suicide attempts remain significant problem on TTC network amid COVID-19, new records showThe Star
August 5, 2020
*Subscribers only* During the COVID-19 pandemic, despite an 86% decline in ridership on Toronto transit system, the TTC is not reporting the same decline in suicide attempts.

Sask. government meets with suicide prevention advocate protesting at legislatureGlobal News
August 5, 2020
Tristen Durocher, along with his supporters, walked for 28 days and 635 kilometres in a walk to raise awareness for suicide prevention from La Ronge to Regina, Saskatchewan. Durocher is camping out at the Saskatchewan legislature to protest the rejection of a bill to implement and fund the province’s suicide prevention plan. Last week, Minister of Rural and Remote Health Warren Kaeding and Minister of First Nations, Métis, and Northern Affairs Lori Carr met with Durocher. In a statement made after the meeting, the government said, “Our government will continue working to implement Pillars for Life: The Saskatchewan Suicide Prevention Plan. As part of this work, we will continue to engage the FSIN, Métis Nation—Saskatchewan, northern leaders and frontline workers to seek solutions to prevent suicide in communities across Saskatchewan.” Durocher said after the meeting that he believes more work is required to offer meaningful support to the Plan. “That’s not good enough to tackle the province with the highest suicide rates per capita in this country.”

Suicidal adults can use nasal spray to help ease symptoms within 24 hours, FDA saysMiami Herald
August 5, 2020
A nasal spray has just been approved by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that is meant to alleviate symptoms of depression temporarily, in conjunction with longer-term treatments for depression. The spray contains esketamin, a potent form of ketamine. This is the first time the FDA has approved use of the drug. “Many people who live with depression know all too well the feeling of desperation. If that major depression progresses to active suicidal thoughts, it’s crushing, and they need options to help change the trajectory of their acute depressive episode,” said Theresa Nguyen, chief program officer of Mental Health America, a non-profit organization based in Virginia. “Traditional oral antidepressants need weeks or more to take effect, so the availability of a medicine that can begin providing relief within a day is potentially life changing.”

Calgary police officers displayed ‘bravery and heart’ trying to save constable’s life, says judge CBC
July 30, 2020
Constable Britni Joyal of the Calgary Police Service (CPS) died by suicide in 2016. An investigation into her death has found that, in the nine hours leading up to her death, Calgary police officers “did everything they could” to save her life. “Great skill, effort, bravery and heart were exhibited by each and every person involved on the night of April 1, 2016,” wrote Provincial Court Judge Mike Dinkel in his report. “There was no need for any officer to second guess their actions on that night.” Dinkel made two recommendations: that a drone be made available to the CPS tactical unit so that visual contact could be established and for CPS to review its own psychological services department staffing and adding resources if needed. During the inquiry, Dinkel heard that between 2013 and 2018, the number of police officers accessing CPS psychological services increased by 195%.

Subscribe to this weekly mailing list