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:

Wise Practices for Life Promotion Centre for Suicide Prevention
January 28, 2019
In this blog post, we feature Wise Practices: Indigenous Leadership for Living Life Well, a community-led project that highlights suicide prevention initiatives thriving in communities across Canada.

Senator Patrick Brazeau Reflects On 3 Years Since Suicide Attempt HuffPost
January 25, 2019
On the third anniversary of his suicide attempt, Senator Patrick Brazeau tweeted, “3 years ago today, I tried to commit suicide because I had no job, no money, no self worth… I survived to write this message. Life is worth living.” Brazeau said he posted the tweet because he wanted to let others who were struggling know that there was hope: “I think it was a message of hope because I think people who have related mental health issues — that there is hope and it doesn’t matter what creed or colour you may come from, how much money you have — it could happen to anybody. It’s an admission that it certainly happened to me and I was able to slowly get through it,” Brazeau said.

Can blue lights prevent suicide at train stations? BBC Future
January 23, 2019
After installing blue lights at some train station locations in Japan, suicides fell by as much as 83%, according to a paper from 2013, whose lead researcher was Michiko Ueda at Waseda University. Starting in the late 2000s, Japanese railway companies began installing these lights as a “nudge technique,” a subtle way of influencing behaviour, in an attempt to deter people from suicide. Another researcher, Masao Ichikawa from the University of Tsukuba was skeptical, and published a response, suggesting that barriers and screen doors along platforms were more helpful in preventing suicide. Since then, Ueda says the research about blue lights has gotten lots of international attention, but she always recommends further preventative measures: “Whenever somebody asks me whether they should do blue lights or platform screen doors, I will immediately answer, ‘You should do platform screen doors’,” she says. Ueda is currently conducting another study to explore the psychological impact of blue lights.

Baker Lake holds suicide prevention meetings, after 3 deaths in a monthCBC
January 23, 2019
Baker Lake in Nunavut has experienced three suicides in the past month, and the Health Department of Nunavut held a series of suicide prevention meetings in the community last week. “This is not something the Department of Health, or the Nunavut government alone can do. Part of the effort has to come from the community, we all have to work together,” Victor Akande, the executive director for health operations for the Kivalliq region, said. “We can’t tell the community what is wrong and how we are going to fix it. We have to come together and find solutions. The leadership has to come from the community.”

Suicide risk in people with autismScience Daily
January 23, 2019
New research has found that females with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are at a slightly higher risk of suicide than their peers without ASD. “There has been an unfortunate assumption that people with autism are in their own world and are not affected by social influences commonly associated with suicidality,” said Anne Kirby, Ph.D., OTRL, assistant professor of Occupational Therapy at U of U Health and first author on the paper. “There is now growing realization among clinicians and families that suicidal thoughts and behaviors can be a real concern for autistic individuals.” Researchers say they are uncertain about why people with ASD may have a higher risk, and that more research is needed. 

Aboriginal group calls for more mental health funding in wake of suicidesCTV
January 23, 2019
An Indigenous advocacy group, the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs, is calling on the federal government to provide funds to Eskasoni, a First Nations community in Nova Scotia, to help prevent suicide in that community. They’re asking for funding for a distress line, a clinical therapist for the community, suicide prevention training, and focus groups. 

Calgary police to expand mental health consultation line pilot projectCalgary Herald
January 22, 2019
In an effort to reduce the number of police apprehensions under the Mental Health Act, the Calgary police are expanding their mental health consultation line, which is a pilot project. The line received 51 calls in just over a month last year, and resulted in 17 diversions from “Form 10s”, or apprehensions under the Mental Health Act. The Mental Health Act states that an officer can apprehend anyone who is likely to cause harm to themselves or others, or to “substantially deteriorate,” and bring them to a hospital. Interim police Chief Steve Barlow said the effort is about making sure that police “are bringing the right people to the hospital…. My officers aren’t doctors. They’re dealing with people in crisis, and they’re dealing with people in crisis every single day.”

Petition to get suicide crisis declared in Nunavik surpasses 51,000 signaturesCBC
January 21, 2019
Mary Simon a long time Inuit advocate, started an online petition to have suicide in Nunavik  recognized as a crisis by Canada and Quebec. Her goal is 55,000 signatures, and she’s already reached 51,000. “We thought we needed to get more support from not just Nunavik, but from the public, so that we could illustrate there was substantive support from outside of Nunavik to support the efforts to eliminate suicide,” Simon said.

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