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:

Corbella: Liepert’s House speech on his daughter’s suicide an emotional punchCalgary Herald
February 5, 2019
Calgary Signal Hill MP Ron Liepert delivered a moving House of Commons speech last week to support  Motion M-174, in which he described his experience as a survivor of suicide loss. Just one year ago, his daughter Kylee, 45, died by suicide. Motion M-174 was tabled by NDP MP Charlie Angus and calls for a national suicide prevention strategy. “Suicide is not an easy issue to talk about but, hopefully, if at least one person hears our words today and decides not to act, it will be time well spent,” said MP Liepert. 

Michael Wilson, former finance minister and ambassador to U.S., diesCBC
February 10, 2019
Michael Wilson, former politician, diplomat, and mental health advocate, died at the age of 81. Wilson lost his son to suicide in 1995 and became a powerful advocate for mental health and suicide prevention. His contributions will always be remembered.

Suicide rates falling around the world, study says Guardian
February 7, 2019
A new study has found that suicide rates around the world have decreased by 32% since 1990. Adjusting for age and population size, it was found that the rate of suicide fell form 16.6 to 11.2 deaths per 100,000. “Suicide is considered a preventable cause of death and this study shows that we should continue in our efforts towards suicide prevention,” said Heather Orpana, research scientist with the Public Health Agency of Canada and a collaborator on the study. “With further efforts we could take further reductions in suicide mortality.”

Instagram vows to remove all graphic self-harm images from siteBBC
February 7, 2019
Last Thursday Instagram announced that posts with images of self-harm will be removed from the platform. Facebook, who owns Instagram, said the changes were in direct response to the death of Molly Russell, a teen who died by suicide in 2017. Russell’s father, Ian Russell, said that his daughter had been viewing self-harm content before her death and believes it contributed to her death.

The parking lot suicidesWashington Post
February 7, 2019
There have been 19 suicides on Veterans Affairs (VA) campuses in the US from October 2017 to November 2018. Investigations into some of the deaths have found that the VA could have done more to prevent the suicides, including scheduling follow-up appointments, communicating with family members, and adequately assessing… access to firearms. “These suicides are sentinel events,” said Eric Caine, director of the Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention at the University of Rochester. “It’s very important for the VA to recognize that the place of a suicide can have great meaning. There is a real moral imperative and invitation here to take a close inspection of the quality of services at the facility level.”

As transit suicide attempts rise in Toronto, the TTC looks for ways to save lives Globe and Mail
February 5, 2019
The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has seen an upward, five-year trend in the number of suicides happening on the subway system. “So that’s why we’re trying to reboot some of our initiatives to see, is there something else we can do?” said Christine Triggs, safety specialist at the TTC. The TTC is looking at everything from modifying behaviour at train stations with the installation of blue lights, to encouraging members of the public to intervene with someone who appears distressed. Brian Mishara, a professor at Université du Québec à Montréal and founder of CRISE, the Centre for Research and Intervention on Suicide and Euthanasia, said that human interventions can be very effective. “It’s really going up and saying, ‘Are you all right?’ and see how the person responds. And very often, people who are suicidal are hoping that someone will help them,” said Mishara.

Ketamine Could Be the Key to Reversing America’s Rising Suicide RateBloomberg Businessweek
February 5, 2019
*Method warning* Ketamine, an anesthetic commonly used as a club drug, has been shown to be effective in treating severe, treatment-resistant depression. It’s expected to be approved for this use in the US in March. This article talks to a number of people who used ketamine to cope with depression and persistent suicidal thoughts. “If they had told me how much it would affect me, I wouldn’t have believed it,” said Joe Wright, who used ketamine to treat his depression. 

7 Things to Say When a Friend’s Loved One Dies by Suicide (and 3 to Avoid)Self Magazine
February 5, 2019
This article helps guide someone in how to talk about suicide with a survivor of suicide loss. Suggestions include simply telling that person you’re sorry for their loss, validating their grief, and letting them know you’re there to support them. 

Quebec group urges people to reach out and connect during Suicide Prevention Week CBC
February 4, 2019
Last week, February 3 to 9, was suicide prevention week in Quebec. The Quebec Association for Suicide Prevention (AQPS) launched a new campaign that week to educate people about suicide and reduce stigma. “If you don’t feel well, or if you’re worried about someone you care about, (breaking the silence is) the first step. You need to talk about it,” said Jérôme Gaudreault, executive director of AQPS.

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