Hello Friends,

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:

This tattoo shop offers free tattoos to people with self-harm scarsHuffPost
March 2, 2018
Through the Restart Program, the Black Widow Tattoo shop in Toronto is offering free cover-ups for people with self-harm scars. One client who took advantage of the offer said, “The idea that I can look at my arms and [the scars aren’t] going to be there … I’m going to see something that means something to me. It is liberating.”

American Association of Suicidology releases statement on firearms and suicideAmerican Association of Suicidology (AAS)
February 28, 2018
In response to the Florida school shootings and renewed discussion around firearms in the US, the AAS has issued a statement acknowledging that “Although firearm access does not cause suicidal thoughts, it makes it more likely that suicidal individuals will die. Every year, almost 23,000 Americans die from suicide by firearm.” AAS is encouraging “means safety” – making methods of suicide less deadly or less available.

Combatting suicide risk by teaching meditationWinnipeg Free Press 
February 28, 2018
Seven Winnipeg schools are piloting a new meditation program that teaches students between the ages of 8 to 12 how to be mindful. “There’s a lot of solid evidence that mindfulness practices in the long term increase healthy outcomes for young adults, decrease self-harm, suicidation, as well as increase the academic outcomes for sure,” said Terra Johnston of CMHA Manitoba and Winnipeg.

Fort Simpson mayor criticizes NWT government for not tracking suicide attempts CBC
February 27, 2018
Fort Simpson Mayor Darlene Sibbeston is asking the territorial government why they haven’t been tracking suicide attempts in the territory. “Even growing up, because it’s a small community, you hear, ‘Oh this person tried to commit suicide, that person tried to commit suicide.’ I don’t know if those numbers have ever been revealed, and also we don’t know the age groups,” she said. Sibbeston believes this information is important in order to offer effective suicide prevention programs. But obtaining suicide attempt data is more difficult than it seems, according to NWT Health Minister Glen Abernethy: “One of the challenges that we have in collecting this data is that attempted suicide can present through a wide variety of clinical avenues … They may also present for a variety of reasons such as self-harm, attempted suicide, accidental poisoning and/or a large range of other clinical situations. Some of these may or may not actually be suicide attempts.”

As milk prices decline, worries about dairy farmer suicides riseNPR
February 27, 2018
Milk prices are down for the fourth year in a row in the US, and Agri-Mark Inc., a dairy cooperative with around 1,000 members, is worried about the mental health of dairy farmers in these difficult economic times. Will Rogers, a dairy farmer in Massachusetts, lost his father, also a farmer, to suicide during another period of low milk prices.  “It’s tough to keep your head up with all of what’s going on,” said Rogers. Agri-Mark Inc. sent out a letter to members with their milk cheques that included a chart of the declining prices of milk and a list of suicide prevention hotlines. They’ll also be offering free counselling to farmers starting next month.

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