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:

Inside Japan’s ‘suicide forest’CNN
January 4, 2018
YouTube star Logan Paul posted a video last week showing the body of a person who died by suicide in Japan’s Aokigahara forest, sparking backlash which led to apologies by Paul. Aokigahara forest  “is known as a place where many people choose to commit suicide,” said Karen Nakamura, a professor of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, who studies disability and other social movements in contemporary Japan. “It’s not surprising to find a body there, but there’s a degree of outrage that a foreigner would choose to trivialize… it through YouTube.” Learn more about suicide hot spots in our editorial, “Jumping” and suicide prevention.
Related – Logan Paul isn’t alone in exploiting suicide, so why do others get a pass?Macleans

How to talk to your friends about suicide
Teen Vogue
January 4, 2018
This article, written in response to popular YouTuber Logan Paul’s recently posted video (see more information in the story above) encourages young people to reach out to their friends if they believe they are struggling with suicidality. “For many of us, our tendency is to completely avoid IRL conversations about suicide, perhaps because it feels scary, or we feel there’s a stigma. But that’s exactly why it’s good to talk about it… Beyond that, having open and responsible conversations about suicide can actually help prevent it.”

One in four women women suffer from mental health issues during pregnancyIndependent
January 4, 2018
A new UK study of 545 pregnant women has found that one quarter of the women suffered from mental health issues during their pregnancy. 11% suffered from depression, 15% from anxiety, 2% from eating disorders and 2% from obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Feds to search social media using AI to find patterns of suicide-related behaviourCBC
January 2, 2018
The Canadian government has contracted Advanced Symbolics Inc, an AI and market research firm, to develop a strategy to define “suicide-related behaviour” on social media and “use that classifier to conduct market research on the general population of Canada.” A Public Health Agency of Canada spokesperson explained, “To help prevent suicide, develop effective prevention programs and recognize ways to intervene earlier, we must first understand the various patterns and characteristics of suicide-related behaviours.”

Most big public colleges don’t track suicides, AP findsNational Post
January 2, 2018
Most US public universities don’t track student suicides, though they are making investments towards suicide prevention. There are challenges in collecting the data, including obtaining a confirmation that suicide is the cause of death from either the medical examiner or the family, and some believe the schools fear publishing the statistics because they could damage their reputations. “No school wants to be known as a school with multiple suicides. It’s not good for business,” said Nance Roy, chief clinical officer for the Jed Foundation, a non-profit that works with colleges and high schools on prevention. Collecting the statistics is an important step towards prevention, argues Gordon Smith, a former US senator who lost his son to suicide, who said that “We need information in mental health if we’re actually going to be able to better tailor health and healing.”

Mom urges more mental health care as fentanyl threatens family againCBC
January 2, 2018
Dana Parkes’ two sons were both addicted to fentanyl, and the eldest died of an overdose two years ago. The younger son continues to use the drug, and Parkes believes this is due to ongoing “bouts of sadness.” Parkes has been trying to get her son into mental health treatment. “Maybe one day I’ll be able to think positive about the future, but as of right now, I don’t,” says Parkes. “I’m terrified that I’m going to end up saying goodbye to another child.”

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