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:
Alberta suicide rates remain high despite “encouraging” 20% drop – CBC
Dec. 14, 2016
Recent statistics in Alberta reveal that the number of suicidal deaths is down for the six months of 2016, compared to 2015. There have been 255 suicidal deaths from January to June 2016, a 20% reduction from the same period last year. However, Mara Grunau, Executive Director of the Centre for Suicide Prevention in Calgary, says that is an encouraging sign but it is “hardly worth celebrating”. The numbers are slightly down from last year but are still really high, compared to the rest of Canada.
Richard Ramsay, of LivingWorks, providers of suicide prevention training for over 3 decades, feels the root of the problem is that the province has not had a “sustained suicide prevention strategy since the early 90s.” Both Grunau and Ramsay remain optimistic, however, that the provincial government, who conducted a mental health review recently, will help improve the situation with their commitment to implement several new suicide prevention measures.
U of A professor calls drop in Alberta suicide rates “unexpected” – Metro News
Dec. 16, 2016
Peter Silverstone, professor of psychiatry at the University of Alberta, finds the reduction in suicides so far in 2016 to be “unexpected but positive.” He thinks that due to the continued rise in Alberta’s unemployment should be also reflected in an increase in suicides. Yet there have been 255 suicides in Alberta so far in 2016, a reduction of 20%.
Mara Grunau, Executive Director of the Centre for Suicide Prevention in Calgary, is thrilled to see the reduction in suicide deaths but cautions that the numbers of suicides in Alberta–over 500 a year–are still way too high and unacceptable. She also noted how the highest at-risk group for suicide–middle-aged men–are those who still need to be reached the most. This is even more pronounced in a province like Alberta with “hyper-masculine, lone-wolf type industries like farming, ranching, and the oil patch in general.” There is still a great resistance among these men to seek help or appear vulnerable, she says.
Explicit suicide scene leads Quebec school board to ban screenings – CBC
Dec. 14, 2016
The Val-des-Cerfs School Board in Quebec’s Eastern Townships has cancelled a field trip of 600 students to see Yan England’s new film, 1:54. This comes as a result of public health and local suicide prevention organizations warning of an “explicit suicide scene”.
The film depicts issues such as depression, bullying, and suicide among teens. Tania Boilar, speaking on behalf of a local suicide prevention organization, thinks the film does not depict the issue of suicide in a responsible manner. She does “not condemn the film as a work of art” but thinks it is not an appropriate “educational tool” for students.