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Buddy Up program encourages men to be open about mental health strugglesFort McMurray Today
August 8, 2022
Finning Canada discuss why they chose to become Buddy Up Champions after finding the initiative through Champion Sun Life Canada’s Lumino Health platform. Mark Wilson, a mining technology operations supervisor with Finning, brought Buddy Up to the Fort McMurray site. Wilson says his 10-year-old daughter mentioned that he hadn’t been spending a lot of time at home lately. “I thought if I feel like this after that conversation, my guys are probably feeling it, too,” he said. “To see this on Sun Life, the Buddy Up program, I thought it was a fantastic way to get it out to my team.” Elisha McCallum, global communications director for Finning says, “This is especially relevant in the oilsands region, where attitudes around mental health have not always been as progressive. Yet, many carry extra pressures, stress and emotional burdens including from spending significant time away from home and missing out on holidays and life events.”

Australian veteran compensation scheme contributes to suicide rate, inquiry findsGuardian
August 11, 2022
More than 1,200 Australian veterans and serving personnel died by suicide between 2001 and 2019, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. 13 recommendations have been made in a royal commission report, including the recommendation to address the backlog of over 42,000 veterans claims made in the last two years. Claim processing times have been linked to the incidence of suicide among veterans. The report said that the veteran compensation and rehabilitation system “is so complicated that it adversely affects the mental health of some veterans – both serving and ex‑serving ADF members – and can be a contributing factor to suicidality.”
Related:  Royal commission delivers damning interim report on defence and veteran suicide. Here’s what happens nextThe Conversation

Why Is This Simple Approach So Good at Preventing Suicide?Psychology Today
August 9, 2022
This article discusses the efficacy of safety planning in lieu of safety contracts. Historically, safety contracts were used by counsellors and other professionals who asked patients or clients who were thinking about suicide to sign them to agree not to kill themselves before their next appointment or to call 911 if they were considering suicide. If they were not willing to sign the contract, recalls the author, Seth J. Gillihan, PhD, licensed psychologist, then the mental health professional might consider a psychiatric evaluation which could lead to a stay in a psychiatric ward. Gillihan explains, “Everyone knew they were a total CYA move by therapists and clinicians. After all, who was going to enforce the ‘contract’ if the patient broke it by killing themselves? Besides being relatively ineffective, they could weaken the therapeutic bond by signaling that the clinician cared first and foremost about potential legal liability, more so than the patient’s actual safety and well-being.” Gillihan explains that safety planning is a much more effective tool for saving lives – one meta-analysis showed that for every 16 people who get a safety plan, 1 suicide attempt is prevented on average.

Why tween girls especially are struggling so muchWashington Post
August 8, 2022
In the US, the American Academy of Pediatrics declared a national emergency in child and youth mental health as depression, anxiety, self-harm, and thoughts of suicide increased in this population during the pandemic. Some studies have found that girls struggle more than boys; one recent study found that among study participants, girls aged 10-15 experienced more of an increase in behavioural difficulties and life dissatisfaction compared to boys. “Girls’ brain areas involved in the sensitivity of social evaluation become more active during puberty,” said Jennifer S. Silk, professor of clinical and developmental psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. “And the more active this part of the brain is, the more at risk one is for depression, anxiety and even suicidality.” Phyllis L. Fagell, clinical professional counsellor and school counsellor says, “Tween girls work so hard at being perfect everywhere for everybody, that they inevitably fall short and are exhausted by the time they come home.”

How to ease the transition to college when mental health is a concernWashington Post
August 6, 2022
This article discusses how a student’s mental health might be affected by the transition from high school to post secondary, and offers suggestions on how to ease that transition. A recent study of 350,000 students on 373 campuses found that the number of students who met the criteria for one or more mental health concerns in 2021 had doubled since 2013. Lead study author Sarah Lipson notes that, “Living in a new setting and away from home can often create overwhelming and stressful circumstances, and recently we’ve added the stress of the pandemic to the mix.” Lipson suggests creating a mental health plan in preparation for post secondary (outlined in the article). Preparing for emergencies is one suggestion, as the article encourages students to reach out to counselling centre staff on-campus and calling the suicide prevention line (in Canada, Talk Suicide at 1-833-456-4566) if experiencing thoughts of suicide.

Construction Worker Suicide: A Fragile Balance ProBuilder
August 5, 2022
In the US in 2016, the suicide rate for construction and related industries was two times higher than others. Home building companies need a comprehensive jobsite safety plan for workers that includes “tools and resources to recognize, alleviate, and destigmatize emotional hazards and stress that can lead to feelings of desperation and hopelessness.” North Carolina’s Home Builders Association has worked with the Job Safety Institute and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) to create a Blueprint for Worker Wellbeing, a pilot that the NAHB plans to launch in the fall, the goal of which is to cultivate mental health advocates in home building companies. Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas, president of United Suicide Survivors International, consults on the pilot program, and said she believes the best approach to get builders and contractors to open up about mental health is through ‘story-telling’ by peers. Stories are being used as part of the pilot in workshops, and as videos on communications platforms.

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