Every day we scan news headlines and social media for items of interest to the field of suicide prevention. Here’s what we found in the last few weeks:

Centre for Suicide Prevention: Giving frontline workers the skills to help others in distress Calgary Herald
December 24, 2018
Centre for Suicide Prevention (CSP) is one of 2018’s chosen charities for the Calgary Herald Christmas Fund. CSP educates people with the knowledge and skills necessary to respond to someone at risk of suicide. Two of those people, Betty George and Ally Cramm from Rowan House spoke with the Calgary Herald about the efficacy of suicide intervention training, particularly, the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training workshop (ASIST). “One of the more surprising things is there’s really not a lot you can say that’s wrong. People aren’t looking for a big miracle. They’re just looking for that one person to reach out and just ask if they’re OK,” said Cramm. George felt more confident after the course: “Now I do have the confidence that is not just simply handing them a telephone number… I would be able to listen and just be present and hear what’s going on in their lives.”

Mayor Naheed Nenshi: A compassionate city is one worth calling home Calgary Herald
Christmas Fund: Generosity in a time of uncertaintyCalgary Herald
Brooks: New Year starts with charitable focusCalgary Herald

Nine police officer suicides prompt review from Ontario’s chief coronerCBC
January 4, 2019
Ontario’s chief coroner, Dr. Dirk Huyer, has launched a review into the 9 police officer suicides that happened in Ontario in 2018. “When we looked deeper into the information that we have within our own database, we recognized that there were nine officers who had taken their lives during the year of 2018 and that’s a significant number — greater than we see typically,” said Huyer. “That prompted me to wonder, are there issues, patterns, themes, trends that society, those within the area of police service, [are] not identifying or recognizing that would provide potential intervention points or prevention points?”

Locked up for trying to take his own life, in a country where suicide is still a crimeCNN
December 30, 2018
Ifeanyi Ugokwe was jailed in Nigeria for attempting suicide. Suicide is still a crime in Nigeria, so after Ugokwe’s attempt he was arrested and taken to jail. Now Ugokwe is speaking out about his attempt because he doesn’t want others to experience the suffering he did. “When they put me in the cell, the first thing that came to my mind was what did I do? I didn’t kill anybody. I did not steal. What am I doing here? What did I do wrong? It’s my life, not (the) government’s life,” Ugokwe said.

Opioids kill kids, too – through accidental overdose, suicide and homicideUSA Today
December 28, 2018
New research has found that almost 9,000 children and teens in the US died by opioid poisoning from 1999 – 2016, and 5% of those deaths were suicides.

Introduction: Turning Suicide Prevention Science Into ActionPsychiatric Times
December 26, 2018
This article talks about the advances made in suicide prevention in the US, and the work that the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is doing to fund research, provide community education, and reduce stigma and suicide rates.

Words Matter: The Language of Suicidal Self-Directed ViolencePsychiatric Times
December 26, 2018
Biased and negative terminology in reference to suicide has an impact on both people who are thinking about suicide and their loved ones. For those who have lost someone to suicide, the lack of patient-centered language “has the potential to further exacerbate grieving and complicate the recovery process.” Negative terminology, such as “failed suicide attempt” “suggests that dying by suicide equates with success,” and “The use of such biased.. terminology may reinforce the negative quality and heighten stigmatization of suicidal thoughts or behavior.”

Child and Adolescent Suicide and Self Harm: Treatment and Prevention Psychiatric Times
December 26, 2018
Preventing suicide in childhood and adolescence may “prevent potentially deadly patterns from becoming established,” and a previous suicide attempt “is the most consistently replicated risk factor for suicide deaths…” Therefore, though suicide in children and adolescence is rare, this is a vital time for prevention and intervention.

Reducing Suicide Risk: The Role of PsychotherapyPsychiatric Times
December 26, 2018
This article provides a summary of the research that has been done regarding the efficacy of psychotherapy in treating suicidal behaviour. Cognitive behavioural therapy, means restriction, safety planning, developing reasons for hope, and inspiring delay are all therapies summarized in this article.

Veterinarians Face Disproportionately High Suicide Rates, Study SaysTIME
December 20, 2018
A new study has found that veterinarians in the US have a suicide rate higher than the general population. More male than female veterinarians die by suicide, but female veterinarians have a higher risk than females in the general population. Male veterinarians have a suicide rate 2.1 times higher than the general population, while female veterinarians have a 3.5 times higher rate. The authors of the study cite “long work hours, work overload, practice management responsibilities, client expectations and complaints, euthanasia procedures, and poor work-life balance” as risk factors for suicide in this profession.

Suicide prediction technology is revolutionary. It badly needs oversight. – Washington Post
December 20, 2018
Facebook is developing suicide prediction AI, but those outside of the company don’t know the details, like how employees who interact with those who are flagged as at-risk are trained, or how the data is being used. This article warns of the dangers of AI software being used to predict suicide, and suggests that this software be monitored by outside parties, and not just the companies using them.
In Screening for Suicide Risk, Facebook Takes On Tricky Public Health Role New York Times
Inside Facebook’s suicide algorithm: Here’s how the company uses artificial intelligence to predict your mental state from your posts – Business Insider

Opinion: Is an American Life Worth Less Than a Canadian Life?New York Times
December 19, 2018
This opinion article addresses new data finding that the life expectancy in the US is declining, and compares other countries to the US in how they deal with preventable deaths like suicide and traffic fatalities. “The new data is a reminder that the United States doesn’t take public health — which is to say, the lives of its citizens — as seriously as almost any other affluent country,” argues the author.

Suicide prevention campaign to expand to 15 Metro stationsCBC
December 19, 2018
Suicides on Montreal’s metro system have seen a decrease, and a new poster campaign is being launched in an effort to prevent more suicides. “It’s also there for others — commuters who aren’t in distress but know someone who is thinking about suicide,” said Melissa Lutchman, manager for Suicide Action Montreal’s training and consulting services. The posters ask, “Do you need help?” and provide a helpline number.

Suicide Among Veterans Is Rising. But Millions for Outreach Went Unspent by V.A. – New York Times
December 18, 2018
A new Government Accountability Office report has found that bureaucratic confusion and vacancies in key posts are to blame for the US’s Department of Veterans Affairs’ suicide prevention efforts lack of direction.  “At a time when 20 veterans a day still die by suicide, V.A. should be doing everything in its power to inform the public about the resources available to veterans in crisis,” Representative Tim Walz, the Minnesota Democrat who requested the investigation, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, V.A. failed to do that.”

Strong relationships can lower the risk of suicide Futurity
December 18, 2018
Members of the military have higher rates of suicide than civilians, but new research examining protective factors has found that strong relationships can lower that risk. “A strong relationship provides a critical sense of belonging and motivation for living—the stronger a relationship, the more of a buffer it affords to prevent suicides,” says lead author Adrian Blow, family studies professor at Michigan State University. “If the relationship is satisfying and going well, the lower the risk. National Guard members don’t typically have the same type of support system full-time soldiers receive upon returning home, so it’s important that the family and relationships they return to are as satisfying and strong as possible.”

A visual journey through addictionNew York Times
December 18, 2018
This New York Times feature focuses on the experience of drugs and addiction, as described by those who have been through it, in an effort to explain why people try drugs, and how they become dependent on them.

Probe of soldier’s suicide reveals hazing, harassment, fight club at Winnipeg armouryCBC
December 17, 2018
CBC is conducting an investigation into the death of Cpl. Nolan Caribou, who died by suicide on November 17, 2018. A year earlier, he had told his superiors that he was being bullied and harassed by other soldiers. “I don’t know what was going through his mind or what other things he had going on in his life at the time, but it is clear to me that he was being harassed while he was in uniform and that leaders that should have taken action didn’t, and that could have contributed to his death,” Brig.-Gen. Trevor Cadieu, commander of the Canadian Armed Forces 3rd Canadian Division, said.
Related: Why a military suicide should have been prevented — and why it wasn’t CBC 

Surviving Suicide: 5 tips for your first time in support groupUSA Today
December 17, 2018
The author of this article, a survivor of suicide loss, reflects on their first experience with a support group, and provides tips for those going to a suicide grief support group for the first time.

What To Do If You See Someone Posting Suicidal Thoughts On Social Media, According To ExpertsBustle
December 17, 2018
This article recommends that if people see posts indicating suicidality on Facebook, they should reach out and help the person posting. Their message could be as simple as letting them know they’re listening, and referring them to help. “Please don’t say ‘I understand’ because you don’t,” says Melinda R. Paige, assistant professor in clinical mental health counseling at Argosy University in Atlanta. “Instead, use supportive language like, ‘I’m just so glad you told [me].’ People in emotional pain often suffer in silence. It takes courage and strength to reach out and share your feelings. Sharing is a sign of strength and resilience. Give the person an opportunity to be heard and validated so they feel less alone.”

What To Do If Hearing About Suicide In The News Is TriggeringBustle
December 17, 2018
When people who are already at risk of suicide hear about it in the media, it can trigger symptoms of mental illness. “Even if you weren’t in a dark place, sometimes hearing other people’s stories can bring you to a dark place,” said Celeste Viciere, licensed mental health counselor. Viciere says that after being triggered, it’s important to remind yourself that you’re okay, and then to care for yourself. “This means going for a nice walk, meditating, doing something creative, or talking to a supportive friend. These are things you may already be doing, but now that you are triggered, it’s important you activate a plan to help yourself deal with these triggers in a positive, caring way,” says Viciere.

New lens on lifeCBC
December 15, 2018
Dre Erwin is a primary care nurse serving the remote community of Pinehouse, Saskatchewan who founded the Pinehouse Photography Club with the goal of helping teens heal from trauma through photography. Photography can help teens express their creativity, while realizing the beauty of the world around them. Photography and the beauty of the land is something Erwin noticed when he was going through a difficult time. “It wasn’t long after I started posting these pictures that a whole bunch of youth came to me and said ‘Hey, man, I’d love to come out with you. I’ve never seen the northern lights like this before, or at all.’ ”

Suicide reporting recommendationsAmerican Association of Suicidology
December 2018
The American Association of Suicidology (AAS) has released new suicide reporting recommendations for media. Topics include limiting suicide contagion, forming a story on suicide, finding the right language to use, and the importance of providing suicide prevention resources.

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