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Mental health check-in: crisis calls increase as suicide rates trend downwardCTV News
January 25, 2023
Robyn Romano, CEO of Distress Centre Calgary, says that 1 in 4 calls and 1 in 2 texts or chats received by Distress Centre are suicide-related. For Bell Let’s Talk Day, Minister of Mental Health and Addiction Nicholas Milliken said in a statement, “Anyone can experience mental illness, and, for many, that can be an isolating experience. By taking time to talk openly about our challenges and share our experiences, we can show our friends and neighbours who are struggling that they are not alone.” According to statistics from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, compiled by the Centre for Suicide Prevention, in 2021, there were 580 suicides in Alberta, fewer than the 615 in 2020 and 604 in 2019.

A Quebec coroner says Montreal’s Champlain Bridge needs anti-suicide barrierToronto Star
January 27, 2023
**Method warning** Dr. Jean E. Brochu, a coroner in Quebec, has recommended that suicide prevention barriers be installed on Montreal’s Samuel-De Champlain Bridge. Brochu suggests modelling the barrier after the one installed on the Jacques Cartier bridge in 2004. Robert Olson, research librarian with the Centre for Suicide Prevention, said, “If (suicides) happen more frequently (at a bridge) than at other spots in a given city, it broaches the idea of perhaps putting up barriers. It’s a recommended practice.” Unfortunately, Olson says, suicide prevention barriers are often not installed even on new bridges because of their cost and/or for aesthetic reasons.

Youth-led House of Hope in Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., sparks healing, friendships and connection  – CBC
January 26, 2023
House of Hope in Tuktoyaktuk, NWT, is a place where young people can go to hang out and do activities with each other. Last year, Tuktoyaktuk experienced a number of youth suicides, which prompted youth to meet and discuss what should be done to prevent further deaths. House of Hope grew out of meeting discussions, set up to fill a gap that was existing in the community, where previously, there weren’t many activities for youth to participate in. Marcus Kimiksana, a visitor of House of Hope, says, “Tonight, I’m just hanging out with people and baking, and I dunno, just spending quality time with people. To have a place like this, it’s much better than having nothing to do.” Nathan Kuptana is one of the young people who helped establish House of Hope. Kuptana says, “I told them, I don’t want history to repeat itself. I want the next two generations to know what to do and I want them to have a strong mindset of what to do — not to turn towards alcohol.”

Family of OPP officer who died by suicide helps frontline workers living with traumaCTV News
January 25, 2023
Paul Horne, 50, died by suicide 5 years ago. Horne was an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer who was diagnosed with PTSD. Since his death, Horne’s family has launched the Homewood Research Institute (HRI) in Guelph, Ontario. The Institute helps first responders and frontline workers living with trauma. Rob Horne, Paul’s brother, says, “There is real tangible research and understanding of post-traumatic stress that’s happening and it’s happening here but it needs to have the resources to access the best and brightest minds as our fellowship is trying to do.” Margaret McKinnon, a research chair in mental health and trauma at HRI says, “We’ve been developing new treatments for first responders, public safety personnel, military members, veterans and health care workers to really assist those individuals when they do face challenges.”

Const. Nicole Chan sent home from hospital before her death despite past suicide attempts, B.C. inquest hearsCBC
January 24, 2023
A coroner’s inquest into the suicide death of Const. Nicole Chan began this week and heard from Dr. Randy Mackoff, police psychologist, who treated Chan. Mackoff was notified of Chan being admitted to hospital for suicidal behaviour, at which point he told officers involved with the hospitalization that they needed to speak with Chan’s care team about her previous suicidality. “I said to Sgt. [Novi] Jette and also Supt. [Shelley] Horne that it was really important to communicate to the psychiatrist at the hospital that Const. Chan had a long history of suicidal ideation, suicide attempts,” Mackoff said. “It was imperative for them to know this … prior to making a decision as to whether to release her or not.” Chan was released from hospital that night and died by suicide the next day. Mackoff says that, in his experience, hospital care teams do not generally hear from “collateral sources” when a person is hospitalized under the Mental Health Act in BC. “My experience as a psychologist is that there is no contact at all and no interest in engaging in conversation,” he said. “It’s not just about diagnosis. It’s about literally not speaking. … I’ve had psychiatrists say, no, no, don’t talk to me.” The family of Aaron Sanio, who died by suicide after being released form hospital despite several attempts from family members to speak to his care team about his suicidality, shared the same concerns in an interview for a different news story published last week.

‘Our people are dying’: Mayo residents say Yukon gov’t efforts to address substance use fall shortCBC
January 23, 2023
Residents of Mayo, Yukon, home to Na-Cho Nyäk Dun First Nation, are calling on the government to fund on-site treatment supports for mental health and substance use. Don Hutton lost his son Frank to suicide in 2021. Hutton is a former MLA for Mayo-Tatchun, and left the Liberal caucus in 2021 following what he called inaction from the government on substance use in his community. Na-Cho Nyäk Dun First Nation Chief Simon Mervyn said, “It’s devastating. Our people are dying. Our young ones are vastly, quickly fading away…. We have to find a better way to approach the issue.” Last week marked one year since the Yukon government declared a substance use health emergency. “This fiscal year, the Yukon government has also invested over $3.4 million in supports, harm reduction, treatment and to raise awareness as our territory responds to the [emergency],” said Yukon Health Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee. “While government and community partners have worked diligently to expand and improve the mental wellness and substance related services available in the territory, many Yukoners continue to struggle, and toxic drugs still circulate in communities.” 

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