Weekly News Roundup Feb 25 – Mar 3, 2023
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‘Losing my son to suicide – my experience as a mental health nurse’ – Nursing Times
March 2, 2023
In this article Heather Wenban, a mental health nurse, talks about the experience of losing her son Marc, 36, to suicide. Wenban says she considered suicide herself in the days following her son’s death. She says, “it made me realise how vulnerable parents who lose children are in those early months.” Wenban says that then, due to her professional role, she then went into ‘investigation mode’, trying to figure out what events had led up to Marc’s death. She says, “At that point I was desperately looking for confirmation that he hadn’t really intended to take his own life as I couldn’t bear that my son was so unhappy and I hadn’t seen that, despite him visiting me every day in the week before he died, as I had been unwell myself.” Wenban goes on to explain that the loss of her son has made her passionate about suicide prevention, “Sadly, we know that people will continue to take their own lives, and if I can support one person in preventing that and support the mental health practitioners who face this potential regularly in their working lives, there will be some benefit to my experiences.”
A ‘crisis’: 1 in 4 Black transgender, nonbinary youths attempted suicide in previous year, study finds – USA Today
February 28, 2023
A 2022 survey by US-based Trevor Project of over 34,000 LGBTQ+ youth found that 1 in 4 Black transgender or nonbinary young people attempted suicide in the past year; more than two times the rate of Black cisgender youth. “This report is yet another piece of evidence that we aren’t doing enough to fight for these kids,” said Jack Turban, director of the gender psychiatry program at the University of California San Francisco. “Improving the situation will mean making broad structural and societal improvements in the ways we treat trans youth of color. Unfortunately, we seem to be moving in the opposite direction.” Trevor Project’s survey found that Black transgender and nonbinary young people were 47% less likely to report a recent suicide attempt if they had strong social supports from family. “Family love and acceptance are strong protective factors that can buffer against the negative impacts of societal stigma on mental health,” Turban said. “Validating your child, accepting them for who they are and always reminding them that you’re on their team is extraordinarily powerful.”
Parents don’t always realize that their teen is suicidal – Harvard Health
February 28, 2023
A study from a few years ago found that only half of parents whose teenage children were thinking of suicide were aware that their child was thinking about suicide. This article explores what parents can do to be alert to any signs that their child may be struggling with their mental health. The article suggests: “Be aware of signs of depression in teens, and never ignore them; Listen to your teen, and never assume that statements like ‘nobody cares if I live or die’ are just drama; Learn how to have tough conversations about mental health and suicide; Get help. Call your doctor, call a mental health professional, call the (crisis line) that can link you to local help like a suicide hotline, or take your child to a local emergency room; If you suspect your teen may be depressed or suicidal, take precautions (to ensure means of suicide are inaccessible).”
Canadian teens still struggling with mental health even as pandemic wanes – CBC
February 26, 2023
Since the pandemic began, pediatric centres have seen increases in hospitalizations and emergency room visits for mental health conditions such as eating disorders, anxiety and suicide attempts, says Dr. Stacey Bélanger, an expert in pediatric mental health at Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montreal and member of the Canadian Pediatric Society’s mental health task force. “The needs were there before the pandemic and have definitely been increased since the pandemic,” Bélanger said. “And I can’t say we are anywhere near where we should be today to provide the services we should be providing to young people.” To help young people cope with mental health issues, the Canadian Mental Health Association and BGC Canada are calling on the federal government to provide more funding for mental health services for youth, “Either the care is unavailable or it’s not covered by public health insurance,” said Valentina Shamoun, member of BGC Canada’s National Youth Council. Melissa Généreux, a public health physician in Quebec conducted a survey that found young people found it hard to talk to their parents, friends, or teachers. Généreux recommends schools help students learn tools to process and cope with emotions and recognize signs that a mental health issue may be developing, and also that governments fund mental health services for youth.
New study shows what factors contribute to higher suicide rates – CTV News
February 25, 2023
A new study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) found that Canada has the 6th highest suicide rate in the Americas (33 countries in North, Central, and South America). Alcohol use, education inequality, health expenditure, homicide rate, intravenous drug use, number of employed doctors, population density and unemployment rate were all found to affect suicide rates. “By quantifying the associations between these specific factors and country-level suicide rates, we can provide decision-makers with the evidence they need to create effective national suicidal prevention strategies,” said Dr. Shannon Lange, Independent Scientist at the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research at CAMH. “Our results indicate that multi-sectoral measures targeting health and social well-being should be emphasized.”
No, Teen Suicide Isn’t Rising Because Life Got Objectively Worse – New York Magazine
February 23, 2023
The American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found from recent survey data that 1 in 3 adolescent females have thought about suicide. This article explores some potential factors contributing to suicide ideation in young people in the US.