Hello Friends,

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:

Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide is part of a larger problem in American jails: expertsGlobal
August 11, 2019
Jeffrey Epstein died by suicide last week while in prison awaiting trial. Suicide is prevalent among inmates: American federal statistics reported that in 2014, there were 372 suicides in the 3,000 jails surveyed, for a rate of 50 per 100,000 (that same year, the rate for the general population was 12.93). Lauren-Brooke Eisen, senior counsel at the Brennan Centre for Justice, said that suicide in prison is “a growing problem. It’s a concerning problem. I think it points to our very much misguided reliance on jails and prisons as a one-size-fits-all sanction on those who violate the criminal code and so many of the people who are in these facilities should not be there in the first place. And given that we see so many suicides in these facilities, that’s quite indicative jails and prisons are not the right environment for these individuals.”

Quebec media attention on Nunavik suicide prompts health board reminderNunatsiaq News
August 9, 2019
Last week, the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services reminded the media to be responsible when reporting on suicides in Nunavik in a public letter. “We understand the interest in this sensitive topic as well as our regions particularities but we must insist on the fact that a certain type of journalist treatment can further burden the most vulnerable among us and foster suicide contagion,” said the letter signed by Minnie Grey, the executive director of the board, and Solène Tanguay, the assistant director general of the Quebec Association for Suicide Prevention. “It is important to avoid sensationalism, avoid naming the method used and as much as possible avoid repetitive coverage that risks making such suicide tolerable or socially acceptable.”

Streaming concerts to raise awareness about suicide and mental healthGlobe and Mail
August 9, 2019
*Subscribers only* Mysterious Barricades Concert Society raises awareness for suicide and mental illness every year through a coast-to-coast concert taking place from sunrise to sunset. The society was started by Elizabeth Turnbull, who lost her husband Chris Kubash, to suicide in 2015. Kubash was an engineer, woodworker and musician who struggled with mental illness. “I just had this idea that I wanted a concert,” said Ms. Turnbull, who is a voice instructor at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. “I wanted all my friends to perform. I knew that would be something he would love as well.” Centre for Suicide Prevention is honoured to take part once again in this year’s Mysterious Barricades event.

Inuk woman bikes across Canada to raise awareness of northern Quebec suicidesGlobal
August 8, 2019
Hannah Tooktoo, 24, is biking across the country to raise awareness for the suicides that have been taking place in Nunavik, Quebec. She called her cross-country tour “Anirnimi Kipisina,” which means “Do not cut your life short” in Inuktitut. “A lot of people don’t want to talk about suicide. It’s a heavy subject, it’s personal. A lot of people have been affected by suicide, a lot of Indigenous and Inuit people especially, and I wanted to talk about that,” said Tooktoo.

David Berman Changed the Way So Many of Us See the World – Pitchfork
August 8, 2019
David Berman, musician, songwriter and poet, died by suicide last week at age 52. Berman had struggled with what he referred to as “treatment resistant depression” and substance use, and had attempted suicide in 2009. Berman was known for his lyrics and poems, and last year, after a 10-year hiatus, he released a new album, Purple Mountains.  

HuffPost Personal: I Lost My Husband To Suicide. Here’s What I Want You To Know.HuffPost
August 6, 2019
This post is written by Alison Lowenstein, who lost her husband Peter to suicide. Lowenstein describes her experiences following his death, including her struggle with overcoming the question of why he died by suicide, and what she could have done to prevent his death. “In the days since then, I’ve often wished I had a response that would tactfully make those who (fortunately) haven’t been impacted by suicide understand that asking questions about ‘why’ someone died by suicide inadvertently places blame on both that person and those closest to them,” said Lowenstein.

“I took a very destructive path”Sportsnet
August 4, 2019
*Method warning* When Becks Dudley was 11, she started playing squash, and within that same year made the provincial junior squash team. At age 14, she won the Canadian and US Opens for her age group and was the youngest member of the national team. When Dudley was 15, her family and friends noticed a change in her behaviour, including wanting to quit playing squash. Later that year, she attempted suicide. After a visit to the hospital, she was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).  In the years following, Dudley started using drugs and was homeless. A turning point came with Dudley was 21 and found meaning through taking care of her dog, Taffy, though she still struggled with substance use. Taffy has since passed away, but Dudley has found new meaning in playing squash again; she entered herself into the Women’s A Division, and has made the quarter finals at the 2019 Canadian Squash Championships.

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