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:


MAiD Legislation in CanadaCentre for Suicide Prevention and Canadian Mental Health Association
December 17, 2018
On December 12, the Canadian Council of the Academies (CCA) released their report on The State of Knowledge on Medical Assistance in Dying Where a Mental Disorder is the Sole Underlying Medical Condition. We commend the CCA for not recommending an expansion of the Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) legislation in its current state to people whose underlying cause is mental illness. CSP does not believe that suicidal ideation, crisis and attempts are irremediable, though they may be grievous or unbearable. With appropriate supports, hope for recovery always exists. For more information about MAID and suicide, check out our infographic.

Van Herk: Listen carefully for those quiet pleas for help Calgary Herald
December 10, 2018
Author and University of Calgary professor Aritha Van Herk highlights the need for suicide prevention in this piece supporting the Centre for Suicide Prevention. Van Herk notes the importance of connection when preventing suicide: “One of the best measures of prevention for those considering suicide is connection, together with the confidence that they are being heard. Relationality is key, and genuine contact the tool, just as much as the availability of professional help for a person suffering from emotional or physical pain. Talking, reaching out, and relating are proactive persuasions.”

It’s despair, not depression, that’s responsible for Indigenous suicideConversation
December 14, 2018
This article explores the issue of Indigenous suicide in Australia in light of the recent Senate report about access to mental health services in rural Australia. The author suggests that it’s not the lack of services that contributes most to the high rate of suicides in many Indigenous communities, but other factors. “While a history of mental illness diagnosis remains an important risk factor, it can sometimes overshadow other factors. There are specific cultural, historical, and political considerations that heavily influence the high rates of suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” says author Tim Carey, Professor, Director of the Centre for Remote Health, Flinders University.

One Of Her Classmates Died By Suicide. Then Another. Then She Said ‘Enough.’HuffPost
December 14, 2018
Johnson County, Kansas has experienced a number of youth suicides in recent years. Superintendents in the county’s school districts are making suicide prevention a priority, and youth are coming together to see how they can prevent the suicides of their peers. “I want to be someone that people feel comfortable bringing their problems to, that someone felt that they could go to if they ever felt like there was no other way out,” says Belle Price, one of the students working towards preventing suicide.

Child suicides can be linked to bullying, but it’s never the sole cause, mental health professionals sayUSA Today
December 13, 2018
Bullying and suicide are related, but there are always other factors at play, too. “We don’t want to send the message that if you’re being bullied, it’s inevitable that you will suffer and think about killing yourself,” says psychologist John Ackerman, the suicide prevention coordinator at the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. “Families and schools can be in a position to identify that (bullying) is going on, address it and help children develop coping skills.”

Eczema patients at 36% higher risk of suicide attempts, study saysCNN
December 12, 2018
A new study has found that patients with eczema are at a higher risk for suicide attempts. Over 18 million people in the US are affected by eczema, and researchers have found that patients with eczema are 44% more likely to have thoughts of suicide and 36% more likely to attempt suicide compared to those without eczema. Study authors theorize that this may be due to the fact that eczema is associated with an increase in certain immune system molecules that may disrupt the balance of neurotransmitters to the brain and lead to negative thoughts.

Inside America’s Suicide CrisisOprah Magazine
December 10, 2018
*Method warning* This feature discusses the importance of suicide prevention with suicidologist Julie Cerel, professor at the University of Kentucky and American Association of Suicidology president. “We can’t be quiet about this anymore,” Cerel says. “Each loss increases the risk for the entire community, as people who are close to someone who dies by suicide are more likely to then have suicidal thoughts themselves.” Suicide attempt survivors also discuss their experience with suicidality: how they got to the point of considering suicide and how they began their recovery.

How Talking About Suicide Can Give People Something to Live For  – Oprah Magazine
December 10, 2018
This article talks about the efficacy of suicide attempt survivor support groups. “To realize that somebody else has known that dark place is the only thing that made me feel less alone,” says Devon Shearer, a former group facilitator at the Didi Hirsch Survivors of Suicide Attempt Support Group in Los Angeles.

After 5 Suicide Attempts, This Action Plan Helps Me Control the Chaos – Oprah Magazine
December 10, 2018
A suicide attempt survivor talks about how having a safety plan has helped in her recovery from suicidality.

The Best Way to Talk About SuicideOprah Magazine
December 10, 2018
Alan Ross, executive director of Samaritans Suicide Prevention Center in New York discusses how to talk to someone about suicide: “Contact, Care, Catharsis, and Community” are the most important aspects, says Ross. Contact means letting people know you’re there for them and asking them directly if they’re thinking about suicide. Care means letting people feel comfortable to talk.  “If people don’t trust us, we’re not going to be able to get very far with them,” says Ross. “We build trust by being open, empathetic, and nonjudgemental.” Communication is about active listening, not offering solutions. “True sensitivity is the ability to receive signals, and you can’t be listening if you’re doing all the talking,” says Ross. Catharsis refers to the relief people feel when they are finally able to discuss the pain they’ve been feeling, and community touches on the importance of a continued, supportive presence in the life of someone who is struggling. “If you’re afraid of the dark, it’s better to be sitting holding someone’s hand than sitting alone,” says Ross.

After Logging 10,000 Hours at a Crisis Call Center, Here’s What I’ve LearnedOprah Magazine
December 10, 2018
The author of this piece, a crisis line worker, talks about how they always aim to make an authentic connection when speaking to people in crisis.

Douglas Todd: Foreign student suicides rising, but authorities silent Vancouver Sun
December 10, 2018
In this opinion piece, it’s argued that the BC Coroner’s Office should be transparent about the number of international students dying by suicide in post secondary institutions.