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:

New resource toolkit: Transgender people and suicide Centre for Suicide Prevention
January 21, 2019
Transgender people have significantly higher instances of mental illness than the general population. They are also at a greater risk for suicide. This is because the stressors they face are unique. Our newest resource toolkit provides information on: the prevalence of suicide in transgender people, risk factors and protective factors, warning signs, and how we can work to prevent suicide in the transgender population. 

A decade after suicide attempts, Mi’kmaq woman has found clarityCape Breton Post
January 17, 2019
10 years ago, Margaret Paul attempted suicide, twice, and survived. This was around the same time that Paul’s community, Eskasoni in Nova Scotia, saw a spate of suicides. “What we see — and this isn’t just in Canada but other places too with Indigenous people — is the effects of colonization,” said Mara Grunau from the Centre for Suicide Prevention. “The precipitating factors for suicide in Indigenous communities are completely different than the precipitating factors in the general population.” Other precipitating factors include the closeness of people living in the communities. “We may be separated by geography, there may be a lake in between each of the communities, but we’re all still family,” Paul said.

Suicide barriers not curbing crisis calls to High Level Bridge, say Edmonton policeEdmonton Star
January 17, 2019
Edmonton City Council approved the construction of suicide prevention barriers on the High Level Bridge, which were completed in 2016. Since then, there has been a significant decrease in attempts, and in crisis calls from the bridge, however, some are saying the numbers haven’t decreased as much as they thought. Mara Grunau, Executive Director for the Centre for Suicide Prevention, was asked about the efficacy of bridge barriers. Bridge barriers have proven to be very effective in preventing suicides from “hot spots,” places people specifically seek out. However, suicide prevention efforts are even more effective when they’re coordinated.  “What we do know about suicide prevention is that just doing one thing isn’t enough. We need a comprehensive, co-ordinated approach,” Grunau said.

Suicides among veterinarians has become a growing problemWashington Post
January 19, 2019
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the first ever American study to examine veterinarian mortality rates in the US, and has found that between 1979 and 2015, veterinarians died by suicide at rates 2 to 3.5 times higher than the general population. Some speculated reasoning for veterinarian’s higher rates include rising tuition fees for veterinary school in the US which contributes to financial stress after graduating, and the fact that many work in high-stress environments and are asked to euthanize animals that they believe can be helped. 

Can Suicide Be Prevented?Wall Street Journal
January 19, 2019
This article explores the role of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) in suicide prevention, and how we can all play a role in preventing suicide by simply having a conversation with a person we’re concerned about. DBT is a type of therapy that uses acceptance strategies derived from Zen philosophy, and can help people live with their thoughts of suicide. 

Clint Malarchuk suffered a horrific sporting injury. But PTSD put his life in peril again, decades later CBC
January 17, 2019
*Method warning* Clint Malarchuk was famously cut in the throat with an ice skate while goal-tending for the Buffalo Sabres. The injury was severe, but Malarchuk survived and 10 days later he was back on the ice, but began suffering from flashbacks, anxiety, and depression due to the trauma he endured. He also started drinking heavily and, under the influence of alcohol, attempted suicide – but he didn’t die. “Did I wanna die? No, no I didn’t,” said Malarchuk. “But boy I wanted to kill that pain, and I think most suicide survivors will tell you the same thing.”

State-by-state study links gun ownership with youth suicideNBC
January 17, 2019
A team at the Boston University (BU) School of Public Health has found that youth suicide rates are higher in states that also have high rates of gun ownership. “For each 10 percentage-point increase in household gun ownership, the youth suicide rate increased by 26.9 percent,” they wrote in their report, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. “The only other factors that were associated with overall youth suicide rates were the suicide attempt rate and the percentage of youth who were Native American,” they added.

The two faces of suicideNew Yorker
January 16, 2019
*Trigger and method warning* Jesse Bering, a research psychologist at the University of Otago is the author of a new book: Suicidal: Why we kill ourselves. The book prominently features the journal of 17 year old Victoria McLeod, who died by suicide, in an attempt to explain the psychological processes of those thinking about suicide. 

Are Baby Boomers the suicide generation?Maclean’s
January 15, 2019
Don Gillmor’s new book, To the river: Losing my brother details his experience with the loss of his brother, David, to suicide. One theme to arise in the book is that Baby Boomers seem more predisposed to suicide than previous generations: their rates are 60% higher than their parents’ generation.

Surviving Suicide: Cancer brings casseroles, suicide brings silenceUSA Today
January 15, 2019
It’s not only those who suffer from mental illness that face stigma when reaching out for help, but their loved ones, too. One mother of a daughter who attempted suicide recalls,  “When you say that (your daughter’s) depression has led to an addiction to opioids that is life-threatening, rarely does someone bring you a casserole or seem to understand. Instead, you are often greeted with silence or an awkward stare. You can feel more alone than you did before reaching out. And that is one of the things that keeps us from sharing and recognizing that depression and mental illness is a real health issue.”

Parents often don’t know when teens have suicidal thoughtsCBC
January 15, 2019
A new study has explored the topic of parent awareness of suicidal thoughts in their teen children. Researchers interviewed over 5,000 youth ages 11-17. Most reported not having suicidal thoughts, but of those who did, only 50% of parents were aware of these thoughts and 75% weren’t aware that they frequently thought about suicide. “These findings highlight the importance of open communication between parents and adolescents and creating a safe and supportive family environment where adolescents feel comfortable disclosing their problems and concerns to parents and parents feel comfortable soliciting information from their teens having difficult conversations,” said lead study author Jason Jones of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

The disturbing link between opioids and suicide HuffPost
January 10, 2019
Recently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US have released data to show that the life expectancy is dropping, and this is partly due to increased suicide and opioid-usage rates. A new article suggests that opioid overdoses and suicide are linked. CDC data was analyzed that found “10 percent of suicides were from intentional overdose. And of those, a third involved opioids.”

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