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:

Meet the woman saving lives, while saving herself in the process Calgary Journal
Feb. 15, 2017
Mara Grunau, Executive Director for Centre for Suicide Prevention, talks about the toll working in suicide prevention takes on her mental well-being, and the well-being of her staff members. Although CSP is an education centre, staff often come in contact with people who have lost a loved one to suicide, or people who have been suicidal themselves. “My hardest day at work is sitting with those people who are trying to make sense of their world, because there is no grief like suicide grief,” says Grunau. “They are plagued by what they should have or could have done, and it takes a lot of time to recover from that.” In order to combat “compassion fatigue,” Grunau takes care of her own mental health by seeing a psychologist, and having mental health experts to speak monthly to all staff members.

Fewer teens die by suicide when same-sex marriage is legalForbes
Feb. 20, 2017
Since same-sex marriage has been legalized in the US, the rate of suicide attempts has gone down by 0.6% among all teens, and 4% for LGBTQ teens. This finding comes from a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics.

More families of Afghan war veterans lost to suicide will receive military honourGlobe and Mail
Feb. 20, 2017
Only 8 of 31 military veterans who died by suicide after being sent to Aghanistan have received the Memorial Cross and Sacrifice Medal, meant to commemorate the deaths of soldiers attributable to military service and pay homage to their families. Now, after a military review, Lieutenant-Colonel Carl Gauthier, head of honours and recognition for the Canadian Armed Forces, has said that the military and Veterans Affairs are working to rectify medal oversights and delays, and at least 10 more medals will be given. “We all acknowledge that what the family is going through is already very difficult, and when there’s a delay, in some cases several years later, this does not help them in their grieving process. We’re all conscious of that and we’re trying to improve the situation so the family is treated fairly in a timely manner,” Lt.-Col. Gauthier said.

Millbrook youth make video to uplift Indigenous youth contemplating suicideCBC
Feb. 16, 2017
As part of the We Matter Indigenous anti-suicide Campaign, youth from Millbrook First Nation in Truro, Nova Scotia have come together to send messages of hope to their peers who may be considering suicide. “I just wanted to try and uplift any person feeling bad about themselves,” said Celeste Sylliboy, 14, who appears in the video made by the Millbrook First Nation Youth Centre.

Dark, dark, darkThe Players’ Tribune
Feb. 15, 2017
Former NHL goalie Corey Hirsch talks about how, despite his professional success as a young man, he experienced chronic suicidality. Hirsch describes that period of his life and his mental illness: “…the crazy thing was, once I got on the ice, everything was fine. I was having an amazing year… But off the ice, I was a mess. I was so lonely. I would go home, and I would feel this horrible, unrelenting anxiety. Hanging over me. Hammering on me.” Hirsch saw many therapists throughout the years, but continued to struggle, until one day, he was diagnosed in just one long session by a team psychologist. The psychologist diagnosed Hirsch with OCD: “Some people have ‘harm OCD,’ where they are hammered with mental images of themselves committing acts of violence — acts that they would never actually commit, but that they cannot stop envisioning.” After his diagnoses, Hirsch was able to come to terms with the fact that he had a mental illness and that it was treatable. Hirsch is urges members of the hockey community to reach out if they see someone who is struggling: “I know that mental health is not an easy topic to discuss, and I know better than anyone that hockey players will do anything in their power to hide their feelings. But we need to do a better job of saying something when somebody is clearly struggling.”

How to prevent suicide with an opioidScientific American
Feb. 14, 2017
Can psychological pain be treated as physical pain is? And if so, could the occurrence of suicidal thoughts be reduced? A new study asked those questions and found that very low doses of the opioid buprenorphine caused a significant drop in suicidal thoughts.”The study could not prove that opioids treat mental pain—it wasn’t designed to do so—but it did show that buprenorphine decreases suicidal ideation.  Perhaps the study’s most important contribution is its implication that treatments that help us withstand mental pain may prevent suicide.”

Depression strikes today’s teen girls especially hardNPR
Feb. 13, 2017
A recent study has found that teen girls in the US may be experiencing depressive episodes more often than teen boys. It is speculated that social media dependence may be part of the issue as “the numbers of teens affected (by depression) took a particularly big jump after 2011… suggesting that the increasing dependence on social media by this age group may be exacerbating the problem.”

Depression: Why I think my husband took his lifeCanadian Living (originally published in Decor Happy)
Jan. 25, 2017
Vanessa’s husband Rick died by suicide, having never been diagnosed with depression, and as Vanessa says, “He wore a mask and even those close to him like his family and friends, had no idea what he was going through,” however, she acknowledges, “Looking back, he wasn’t the same person in the months (perhaps year) leading up to (his suicide). If I had just taken the time to look in his eyes, I would have seen that what I mistook for tiredness and apathy was pain. These are some of the reasons I believe Rick felt life was too hard.” Vanessa then describes all the factors that she believed played a part in Rick’s decision to take his own life, including work/life imbalance, disinterest in real life connections, loss of interest in activities that he usually enjoyed, OCD tendencies, and a change in his general disposition.

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