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:

How to help those who have lost loved ones to suicide cope with grief during the holidaysThe Conversation
December 17, 2021
This article discusses how to support someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one to suicide during what for many can be a particularly difficult time. “Often, family and friends don’t know what to say to someone coping with a suicide loss during the holidays, so they say nothing. It feels safer. But withdrawing does not help. Instead, just be there. You don’t have to make a speech; ‘I’m so sorry’ is enough. Let them know they are not alone. Let them talk if they want to. Let them share stories about the person so that the death – those last minutes of their life – does not define how the lost loved one is remembered. Don’t be afraid to say the person’s name or ask questions about them.”

Gender-affirming hormone therapy associated with lower suicide risk for trans youth, large-scale study findsCTV News
December 16, 2021
A survey of 9000 non-binary and transgender youth between the ages of 13 and 24 found that gender-affirming hormone therapy contributes to lower suicidality and depression among those groups. Those under 18 who were surveyed and had received gender-affirming hormone therapy were almost 40% less likely to have a recent suicide attempt than those who wanted hormones but did not receive them. “It’s clear that gender-affirming care has the potential to reduce rates of depression and suicide attempts while banning this vital care and exposing young people to harmful political rhetoric can cause real harm,” said Amit Paley, CEO and executive director of American non-profit The Trevor Project. “It’s critical that all transgender and non-binary youth across the country have access to medical care that is affirming, patient-centered, and evidence-based.”

How The New York Times handled life-or-death ethical issues while reporting on a popular suicide websitePoynter
December 16, 2021
New York Times ran a piece last week, ‘Where the Despairing Log On and Learn Ways to Die,’ that was potentially fraught with ethical issues around suicide reporting. The journalists who wrote the article explain the ethical issues they faced and how they sought advice from industry guidelines, editors, veteran reporters, and experts on suicide prevention and suicide contagion in order to report responsibly about a website that encourages people to kill themselves. Article co-author Gabriel J.X. Dance, says, “How do you call attention to a specific website — with the goal of having lawmakers and law enforcement become aware of it — without naming that website? And similarly … how do you (weigh) the risk of perhaps introducing vulnerable people to a new (suicide) method with the opportunity of calling out people who are selling this (method)? How do you weigh those?” Co-author Megan Twohey explains why they thought it was important to bring attention to the site, “We really felt like this site was very dangerous for vulnerable people, especially for young people. All these people who should know about it — from mental health professionals to school officials — didn’t know it existed.”

Kelly Catlin: A family’s search for answers on links between concussion and suicideBBC Sport
December 16, 2021
**Language warning, ‘succeed’** Olympic-medal winning cyclist Kelly Catlin, 23, died by suicide just two months after suffering a concussion during a race in January 2019. Catlin attempted suicide in that same month – January 2019, after feeling the effects of the concussion which included debilitating headaches and other symptoms of post-concussion syndrome (PCS) including depression and anxiety. Since her death, Catlin’s family has been raising awareness about the issue of concussions in the sport of cycling where it has long been ignored. Catlin’s father Mark Catlin believes that if her symptoms were recognized as being linked to PCS, she would still be alive, as it would have been recommended that she follow guidelines and take several weeks of full rest, after which many people see their symptoms subside and they’re able to recover. In addition to suffering from PCS, Catlin was a stoic perfectionist, as Mark says, “Kelly was such a complex individual and very private – one who kept a lot of feelings inside and kept a veneer of: ‘I’m an iron woman.’ She wouldn’t reveal her emotional or psychical situation, probably to anybody. She kept pushing herself when she shouldn’t have been. It all had a cumulative effect on her, a very strong woman brought down by that combination.” Of her death, Mark says, “It’s like part of us is torn out. I wake up every morning with a sense of disbelief she’s gone. Every night I wake up and play over and over in my head: ‘If only I’d done this…'”

What’s behind suicides by thousands of Indian housewives?BBC
December 16, 2021
In India, women who work in the home accounted for 14.6% of the country’s suicides. A recent report found that 30% of women in India have experienced intimate partner violence, a contributing factor to suicide. Dr. Usha Verma Srivastava, a clinical psychologist in the northern city of Varanasi says,  “Most girls are married off as soon as they turn 18… she becomes a wife and a daughter-in-law and spends her entire day at home, cooking and cleaning and doing household chores. All sorts of restrictions are placed on her, she has little personal freedom and rarely has access to any money of her own. Her education and dreams no longer matter and her ambition begins to extinguish slowly, and despair and disappointment set in and the mere existence become torture.” Dr. Srivastava says that for older women, “Many face the empty nest syndrome after the children have grown up and left home and many suffer from peri-menopausal symptoms which can cause depression…”

Many states aren’t ready for a 988 crisis line. The deadline is loomingStat
December 15, 2021
A three-digit suicide crisis line is set to be made available to everyone in the US by July 2022, however, to date, only a few states have passed or introduced legislation for building the system necessary to implement the three-digit crisis line. Authors of this article say, “There’s no question that the country needs a system like 988. But putting in place a system to address the colossal demand with a well-prepared workforce ready to effectively support and serve people in need is not where it should be.” States were left to implement 988 on their own after the federal law was mandated, and authors argue that more funding support and public awareness is needed on behalf of the federal government in order to meet the July deadline.

Study Claims Logic’s ‘1-800-273-8255’ Anthem Saved Hundreds of Lives Billboard
December 14, 2021
In the days following musician Logic’s performance at the MTV Video Music Awards of his single ‘1-800-273-8255,’ a song highlighting the US national suicide crisis line number, calls to the line increased by 50%. A new study has shown that, in addition to this increase which accounted for more than 10,000 additional calls, Logic’s performance could also be correlated with a 5.5% reduction in suicide among 10-19 year olds, a reduction which took place during three periods of time: in the first 34 days after the song’s release in April 2017, following the August 2017 performance, and following a 2018 Grammy Awards performance. Logic responded to the study findings by saying, “To know that my music was actually affecting people’s lives, truly, that’s what inspired me to make the song. We did it from a really warm place in our hearts to try to help people. And the fact that it actually did, that blows my mind.”

Avicii’s dad opens up about DJ son’s death by suicide: ‘He didn’t want to be Avicii. He wanted to be Tim.’ Yahoo
December 12, 2021
DJ Tim Bergling, aka Avicii, 28, died by suicide in 2018. His father Klas Bergling says, “It’s obvious there were things I didn’t see.” Bergling says of his son,  “He was a shy person. He wasn’t the one that went into a room with lots of people and started talking or holding speeches… ” eventually, “it became a problem.” In a 2017 documentary, Tim Bergling explains how he began to rely on alcohol to perform, “In the beginning I was too afraid to drink, because I didn’t want to screw up. But then I realized how stiff I was when I wasn’t drinking. So then I found the magical cure of just having a couple of drinks before going on.” His alcoholism progressed rapidly and he was hospitalized. Then, he began using drugs. Bergling says,  “At that time I started worrying. He was easily upset, easily irritated. It was hard to talk with him.” The family staged an intervention for Tim Bergling and he did go to rehab, however, he continued to struggle with his mental health and announced his retirement. Bergling struggles with his son’s death and says, “I find it hard, still… Tim was very proud of the Avicii name, but he didn’t want to be Avicii. He wanted to be Tim.”

Talking About “Firearm Injury” and “Gun Violence”: Words MatterAmerican Journal of Public Health
December 8, 2021
This article discusses the terminology used in the media when talking about death and injury from firearms, and argues that, “public and media discussions of ‘gun violence’ often omit or downplay deaths from self-inflicted violence (suicide), contributing to public misperceptions that firearm homicide is more common than firearm suicide.” Authors highlight that 50% of suicides in the US are by firearm, and 60% of firearm deaths are suicides.

This will be the last news roundup until January 10, 2022.

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