Weekly News Roundup February 10 – 17, 2020
‘Unaddressed for years’: Study shows nurses at greater risk of suicide – Safety + Health Magazine
February 17, 2020
UC San Diego Health has released a study analyzing data from the National Violent Death Reporting System in the US and found that both male and female nurses have a much higher suicide rate those those in the general population. Male nurses had suicide rates of 33 per 100,000, whereas men in the general US population had a rate of 27. Female nurses had a rate of 10 per 100,000, whereas women in the general US population had a rate of 7. This data did not show an increase in suicide rates among this population, but instead demonstrated that rates had been much higher than the general population for years. “Female nurses have been at greater risk since 2005, and males since 2011,” said Judy Davidson, lead study author and a UCSD research scientist. “Unexpectedly, the data does not reflect a rise in suicide, but rather that nurse suicide has been unaddressed for years.” According to study author Sidney Zisook, professor of psychiatry at UCSD, suicide prevention programs for nurses are needed, as well as additional support for those with pain management and mental health issues. The UCSD’s Healer Education Assessment and Referral program, which provides confidential support, education and resources for health care providers, is one such program.
One In Three Black Trans Youth Attempt Suicide – Forbes
February 15, 2020
The Trevor Project, an American organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ people under 25, has released a new study finding that one in three black trans youth attempted suicide in the last year. Black trans and non-binary youth are two times more likely to attempt suicide than their cisgender black LGBQ peers. Myeshia Price-Feeney, Research Scientist for The Trevor Project, said, “Black LGBTQ youth experience heightened rates of suicidality similar to all LGBTQ youth, but they are accessing professional care at lower rates. These troubling findings suggest that existing models of care have failed at providing black LGBTQ youth access to appropriate and acceptable mental health services. They underscore the need for culturally competent, community-derived suicide prevention programs. We must move past a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to better serve black LGBTQ youth.”
To learn more about suicide prevention in the trans population, read our toolkit on the on trans people and suicide. Mining, extraction industries still have highest U.S. suicide rate – Reuters
February 14, 2020
A new report of data has found that men working in the mining and oil and gas extraction as well as construction industries in the US have the highest rates of suicide. In mining and extraction the male rate is 54.2 per 100,000 where the general population has a rate of 18 per 100,000. In the construction industry, the rate is 45.3 per 100,000. “The workplace is an important place for suicide prevention efforts because it is where many adults spend a great deal of their time,” lead author Cora Peterson of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
To learn more about suicide prevention in the workplace and why certain industries see a higher rate than others, check out our toolkit on the subject.
‘You just spiral’: UBC president who overcame mental health crisis determined to help Canadian students – CBC
February 14, 2020
University of British Columbia (UBC) president Santa J. Ono is open about his experience with depression and suicidality. More and more post-secondary students are talking openly about mental illness and thoughts of suicide, and the need for mental health services for students. Ono agrees that universities have the responsibility to ensure students have access to mental health services through the university, “I think we have a responsibility. It’s not an issue of fairness. It’s an issue of standing up to the challenge and being a leader.” The BC government just added a 24-hour mental health online and phone service for students, and in Ontario, Kids Help Phone has expanded their services to post-secondary campuses. UBC is offering students the Thrive Program, which promotes mental health literacy and a supportive campus culture. It also provides everyone on campus with resources to help them cope with and understand mental health issues. Their wellness centre offers free 24/7 life coaching and counselling services in multiple languages, too.
Inquest into death of 16-year-old Devon Freeman announced – CBC
February 13, 2020
Following the request of an inquest into the suicide death of Devon Freeman, 16, who died by suicide near his group home, the Ministry of the Solicitor General in Ontario has confirmed that an inquest will be made. Devon’s grandmother Pamela Freeman and the Chippewas of Georgina Island led the request to the coroner, as they hope “to better understand the gaps, oversights and failures that led to Devon’s death, and to try and ensure that no other child in care suffers the same fate.”
He jumped off a nine-storey bridge and lived, now he’s working to end ‘man up’ mentality – CBC
February 12, 2020
*Method warning* Josh Beharry attempted suicide and lived – with 6 broken ribs, a punctured lung, and several mild brain contusions. Beharry used his months recovering in hospital to open up to his friends and family about the thoughts and emotions he’d been struggling with, and now he’s an advocate encouraging other men to open up. “A lot of the time our own internal stigma is a lot higher than what our friends actually think,” says Beharry. He runs the day-to-day operations of Heads Up Guys, a website about men, depression, and suicide prevention. Julian Dobko found Heads Up Guys when he was struggling with depression, and found a community of men that were having the same experience. “That helped me big-time through my dark periods,” says Dobko. “Basically, I didn’t listen to that inner voice. It was saying, you know, ‘you’re a man — you’re tough, you’re strong, you don’t have to reach out, you don’t need help, just get over it.’ And that’s just not how it works with any human being. I mean, we all need help.”
Students must hear a message of resilience and empowerment, says suicide prevention expert – Ottawa Citizen
February 12, 2020
Dr. Mark Sinyor, psychiatrist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, is urging campuses to share stories of resilience and hope following the suicide deaths of five University of Ottawa students in the past 10 months. “People who die by suicide are tragic outliers. The message has to be, ‘The overwhelming number of people who have mental health struggles or suicidal thoughts survive, and you can survive, too.’ We have to be clear that there is help and you can seek help,” says Sinyor. “We want people to feel empowered about reaching out for help. Everybody is going to be in distress sometime. Everyone will have a bad mark or go through a breakup. Everybody has to have a distress management plan.”
Data scientists have identified 4 words and 1 emoji that signal someone is a suicide risk – Fast Company
February 12, 2020
*Method warning* Crisis Text Line, a text-based suicide hotline, has released a report highlighting key words that indicate someone who is at a high risk of dying by suicide. “When we say to people, guess what our high risk words are, most people say ‘help,’ or ‘sad,’ or ‘desperate’—they say words that are about the awful feeling,” says Nancy Lublin, who founded Crisis Text Line. “But actually the words you should look for are the words that are the mode of attempting.” These words indicate a person at a high risk of attempting suicide because they indicate that the person has a plan to die. Crisis Text Line uses an algorithm to allow technology to help bypass the human instinct to focus on emotional cues like, “depressed,” or “sad,” and instead to focus on words that indicate the person has a method identified, and is therefore at a high risk of attempting. The algorithm then bumps that person up to the front of the line in terms of human response from a Crisis Text Line counsellor, who then works with that person to develop a safety plan. Learn more about safety plans in our resource toolkit.
‘Without suicide forums, Callie might still be alive’ – BBC
February 10, 2020
Callie Lewis, 24, died by suicide after struggling with chronic depression and suicidal thoughts. She was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at a young age. Callie’s mother, Sarah, says that she believes suicide forums negatively influenced Callie – she spent much of her time on these sites and even purchased a method of suicide through one of them. Samaritans’, a 24-hour helpline in the UK, is looking for ways to ‘bury’ sites about suicide methods and general forums so they cannot be easily found through a web search. “We don’t want that popping up on the first pages of searches,” says Jacqui Morrissey, a spokeswoman for The Samaritans. “If we can’t get rid of it, let’s try and bury it, let’s make it difficult to find for people so that when they are looking for information what they’re coming across is the helpful supportive information first and foremost.”
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