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:

Mental health self-care during the holidaysCBC Edmonton
December 11, 2017
CSP Executive Director Mara Grunau was on CBC Edmonton AM last Monday morning to talk about self-care during the holidays. While we don’t see a statistical increase in depression and suicide at this time of year, “Often lots of us are facing a lot of (familial, financial) expectations… it’s really important to recognize that stress and anxiety in and of itself isn’t a bad thing… but when that stress and anxiety starts to take over and is impacting our daily functioning, that’s a sign to get help.”
Related – ‘Don’t give up’: Edmonton man brings suicide prevention message to High Level Bridge CBC 

The risk of teen depression and suicide is linked to smartphone use, study says NPR
December 17, 2017
A new study has found that American teens are experiencing depression at higher rates than before, and this correlates with an increase in smartphone usage. Jean Twenge, an author of the study, was interviewed on NPR last week about the findings. “It’s an excessive amount of time spent on the device. So half an hour, an hour a day, that seemed to be the sweet spot for teen mental health in terms of electronic devices,” Twenge says. “At two hours a day there was only a slightly elevated risk. And then three hours a day and beyond is where you saw the more pronounced increase in those who had at least one suicide risk factor.”

Why depression and suicide are rampant among American farmers New York Post
December 16, 2017
Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US released a study that found farmers die by suicide more often than any other profession group, including the military. Access to lethal means, such as pesticides, put farmers at a higher risk than the general population, but factors like constant financial pressure and a macho-male environment that discourages help seeking also play a role. “There is particularly a lot of depression in rural society. It happens for a lot of different reasons. A lot of it is our roller-coaster economics. People outside of farming, I think, understand that farming is hard work. What they don’t understand is the depth of the lows that can hit you at any one time, with just one small problem that can lead to hundreds of little problems,” said Jeffrey Menn, a farmer and doctor who has witnessed first-hand the negative mental health effects of farming.

Childhood maltreatment and suicide risk in the US armySPRC
December 15, 2017
A new study of young adults entering the US Army has shown that childhood maltreatment is still one of the main risk factors for suicide ideation, even before trauma and mental illness. “Compared to soldiers with no maltreatment, all of the maltreatment profiles were associated with elevated odds of lifetime suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, and planning. Profiles reflecting the most frequent and pervasive maltreatment demonstrated the strongest association with suicidal behaviors,” says this article about the study.

Inquiry into suicide of psychiatric patient ‘a nothing document,’ says dadCBC
December 12, 2017
James Reader, 26, died by suicide in 2015 after checking himself into the Foothills psychiatric ward. James’ father, Bob, is unhappy with the result of the public fatality inquiry into his son’s death. “There seems to be difficulty in initiating any changes to the monolithic healthcare system,” said Bob Reader. “There’s no real substance to that report, I mean, it’s kind of lip service, it’s not really helpful.” James had a history of addictions and mental health issues.

Every healthcare provider in WA is required to be trained in suicide preventionKUOW
November 27, 2017
All healthcare workers in Washington state are now required to take online suicide prevention training. “We know that a lot of people who die by suicide, they don’t ever get to see a mental health provider. But they do go see their doctor – their primary care doctor,” says Jennifer Stuber of the University of Washington. “We know roughly half of people who died by suicide saw their doctor in the month leading up to their death. And that makes sense, because primary care is where we’re treating the bulk of depression care in our country.”

Saving lives via text messageNPR
November 26, 2017
This article profiles American non-profit Crisis Text Line, which offers crisis response over text. Crisis Text Line uses an algorithm that scans texts for words that indicate high risk, and then connects the sender to a crisis centre volunteer.

Subscribe to this weekly mailing list