New partnership focuses on ethical and responsible reporting on mental health issuesCampus Life, MacEwan University
January 27, 2022
MacEwan University’s Department of Communication and Centre for Suicide Prevention have partnered to train journalism students about how to ethically and responsibly report on suicide and mental health issues. “This is a heavy topic, but one that is necessary for us to discuss – as journalists and as people,” said Neill Fitzpatrick, an assistant professor of journalism. “In my own experience as a journalist, suicides and other news connected to mental health issues tended to be swept under the rug. Frankly, meaningful reporting around suicide and suicide prevention should happen more often – the more education we can provide about these issues, the better.” Hilary Sirman, education director with the Centre for Suicide Prevention said, “How journalists communicate about suicide matters. Sensational reporting can have a negative effect on suicide rates, while responsible reporting can have a positive impact. This means that journalists have an opportunity to bring about meaningful change, encourage public discussion and raise awareness about mental health.”

Former B.C. paramedic launches not-for-profit to help first responders with PTSDCBC
January 26, 2022
Jeff Smith developed PTSD after years of working as a paramedic and came to the point of considering suicide to end his suffering. Smith recently founded a non-profit organization aimed at helping first responders navigate trauma and shock with a preventative approach: the Detachment Technique. “I’ve lost too many friends to suicide. I’ve seen the damage PTSD does to people and their families and I’m really passionate about giving people a voice before it’s too late,” he said. Mara Grunau, executive director of the Centre for Suicide Prevention says it can be difficult to ask for help, and loved ones often need to start the conversation. “One in five Canadians at any one time is experiencing mental unwellness. What are the four of the five of us doing? We need to keep our eyes on our people. It’s those caring conversations that feel like you are doing nothing, that often has the most impact on someone and their life.”

How Acceptance Can Reduce Substance Use, Suicide Risk for LGBTQ YouthHealthline
January 27, 2022
The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people, released a research brief last week looking at substance use and suicide risk among LGBTQ young people in the US. Jonah DeChants, PhD, research scientist at The Trevor Project said, “This study found that regular prescription drug misuse among LGBTQ youth was associated with nearly three times greater odds of attempting suicide in the last year. While we weren’t necessarily surprised by this association, the magnitude of it is staggering,” he said, adding that understanding “within-group disparities like these is critical for addressing and preventing the negative health outcomes we often observe among LGBTQ youth.”

‘There are some calls that stick with you’: A dramatic increase in mental health disability claims amongst first respondersCTV News
January 26, 2022
First responders including paramedics, fire fighters, and police officers say they often deal with mental health challenges because their jobs require them to encounter unknown and varied situations every day that could be traumatic. “It’s a very heavy responsibility, the trust that the public puts in you,” said Jesse Krusky, a paramedic with Guelph-Wellington. “I’ve struggled with [post-traumatic stress disorder] for sure and depression throughout my career. It does take a toll on you.” Vivien Lee, the chief psychologist with the Ontario Provincial Police says, “I compare it to a sponge. Each call [first responders] go to, each person they interact with can be a drop of water in the sponge. You can go for a long time, you can absorb a whole lot of water, or in this case suffering from other people. And if you’re not ringing out the sponge on a regular basis, it can really hit this point where you can’t absorb anymore.” According to Centre for Suicide Prevention, first responders are at least twice as likely to experience PTSD compared to those in the general population.

What Employers Need to Know About Suicide PreventionHarvard Business Review
January 25, 2022
This article discusses suicide in the workplace and outlines some workplace predictors of suicide such as extreme working conditions and managerial bullying. Suicide prevention strategies for the workplace are also suggested, including: creating a respectful work environment and fostering social inclusion, identifying employees who may be at risk, and creating a plan to help those employees. Postvention strategies for after a death are also suggested.

Black youth face rising rates of depression, anxiety, suicideEdSource
January 25, 2022
Since 2014 in the state of California the suicide rate for Black young people has doubled. The rate is now twice the statewide average and far exceeds that of other groups. Prior to 2014, the rate was 25% lower than that of white students. In December, the US Surgeon General put out an advisory that Black young people are more at risk of depression, anxiety, and stress due to the pandemic, and that gun violence, climate change, and economic uncertainty also played a role in declining mental health. Some young Black people have also said that they have found the intense media coverage of police brutality and racism deeply stressful. “The data is absolutely not surprising… Black students are in a crisis nationally,” said April Clay, head of counseling and psychological services at California State University, Los Angeles. “Many Black students are experiencing paralyzing anxiety and grief. It’s hard to talk about, and it’s hard for them to find help.”

Suicide Risk Screenings Can Save LivesPEW Trust
January 25, 2022
According to a recent study, about half of people who died by suicide had seen a health care professional at least once in the month before they died. Other research has suggested that, had they been screened for suicide risk by their providers, they may have received help and survived. Most often, in the US, patients are not screened for suicide risk, and this article mentions a few health care systems in which every patient is assessed, and issues within the US system that can be addressed to make suicide screening more easily accessible. Kisten Mizzi Angelone, article author and lead of Pew’s suicide risk reduction project says, “As the COVID-19 pandemic amplifies anxiety, depression, financial stress, substance misuse, and other risk factors for suicide, hospitals and health systems have a low-risk, high-reward opportunity to identify and treat people who are likely to harm themselves. The cost of screening is minimal and the benefits can be measured in thousands of lives.”
Related – Suicide is an urgent public health problem in AmericaPEW Trust

‘Why Did This Happen?’: Three Questions We Always Ask About SuicideForbes
January 24, 2022
Oscar-winning actor Regina King’s son Ian Alexander Jr., 26, died by suicide this month. Reports have found that depression and anxiety have increased during the pandemic for young people, and according to article author Lipi Roy, MD, MPH, there are three questions most commonly asked about suicide: “Why did they do it?,” “Why didn’t I see the signs,” and “Why do wealthy people kill themselves, don’t they have it all?” Roy addresses these questions in the article.

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