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:

Reporting guidelines reduced number of suicides: studyKorea Herald
July 25, 2021
In South Korea in 2013, under the ‘suicide prevention law,’ media guidelines for reporting on suicide were revised by the government, suicide prevention centres, and the Journalists Association of Korea. The guidelines stated that media reports should not use the word ‘suicide’ in headlines but instead ‘dies’, and they should also not detail how, where, and why a person died by suicide. They should also respect the privacy of the family who lost someone. Research found that before the media guidelines were revised, suicide rates in South Korea increased after coverage of celebrity suicide deaths. Since the new guidelines were implemented, data indicated a downward trend in suicides following similar coverage. “More lives were saved thanks to mass media efforts over the past years. But the media effect has been growing again since 2018 as news of celebrity suicides is spread more easily and through diverse routes such as YouTube and social media,” said Dr. Jeon Hong-jin, lead researcher of the media guidelines study and member of the psychiatry department at the Samsung Medical Center.

My 4-Year-Old Daughter Made a Suicidal Comment—What Do I Do?Parents
July 23, 2021
This article gives advice to parents and caregivers of children who have talked about suicide, based on a question from a parent whose 4-year-old said they were upset and wanted to “go away forever.” The article recommends understanding the child’s emotions – to get clear on what the child is feeling and why they said that, for example, they ‘want to go away forever.’ Whether or not the child is thinking about dying or actually going away forever, they are clearly feeling overwhelming emotions that need to be addressed, and they likely need to learn coping skills to deal with these emotions. However, if the comment, even if the feelings behind it may not be suicidal, is made within the context of other warning signs, such as a change in mood, or general irritability, for example, then more formal mental health care may be needed. 

I Lost My Close Friend To Suicide—And I Can’t Talk to Anyone About It Because I Only Knew Her Online Scary Mommy
July 22, 2021
This article explores the author Susie B. Cross’ grief after losing an ‘online’ friend to suicide, despite the fact that many would say that online friends and our connections with them aren’t ‘real.’ Cross also explores her connection with online friends and communities, and how they’ve helped her with her own mental health struggles. Cross says, “When you have major depression, your in-person support system can be pretty sparse. You’ve had to tweeze out all the ones who can’t really understand—probably because they’ve never had full-on mental health issues… Combine our social atrophy with our tendency to cocoon (actually moving our bodies often becomes very difficult), and depression can make us very, very isolated. Thankfully, I found a lifeline—and it was via my iPad.”

Riley Keough was ‘totally debilitated’ after brother’s death by suicide: ‘I couldn’t talk for 2 weeks’ Yahoo! News
July 20, 2021
Riley Keough talks about her grief journey after losing brother Benjamin Keough, 27, to suicide in July 2020. Keough was the son of Lisa Marie Presley and grandson of Elvis Presley. Riley says, “The first four or five months, I couldn’t get out of bed. I was totally debilitated. I couldn’t talk for two weeks. It’s very complicated for our minds to put that somewhere… If I’m going through a breakup, I know what to do with that and where to file it in my mind, but suicide of your brother? Where do you put that? How does that integrate? It just doesn’t.” Riley, who was very close to her brother, said that she leaned on her partner and friends for support. She also explains that she tried to really feel her grief, “I wanted to make sure that I was feeling everything and I wasn’t running from anything.”

Parents of N.B. teen who died by suicide allowed access to some medical records under conditionsCTV
July 20, 2021
The parents of Lexi Daken have obtained permission to access some of her medical records. Daken, 16, died by suicide days after seeking help in an emergency department where she waited to see a psychiatrist and was ultimately referred to other mental health supports. Daken’s family is now calling on changes to be made to the health care system. Daken’s parents will be granted access to the records of her last two hospital visits on the condition that the information contained within the records won’t be shared widely. Chris Daken, Lexi’s father, said, “We hope that by speaking out about Lexi’s death that it will make some positive changes for the betterment of the people in New Brunswick and we hope to God no other parents have to go through what we went through.”

Charities raise alarm over suicides of young asylum seekers in UKGuardian
July 19, 2021
Following the suicide deaths of several young asylum seekers and refugees in the UK, charities there are calling on the government to ensure local authorities are more aware of the issue and to require coroners to record nationality and immigration status in their reports. Benny Hunter, the coordinator of Da’aro Youth Project said, “We are deeply saddened by the tragic deaths by suicide of young people arriving in the UK, seeking asylum. Without publicly available data, we cannot know how many other young people coming to the UK seeking sanctuary have gone on to take their own lives. Without change we fear more young people will lose hope.” Some young people who died were awaiting decisions on their status and feared they would need to return to their countries of origin, some had PTSD or substance use disorders and/or were having difficulty accessing mental health care.

Boxer Tyson Fury features in suicide prevention ad for CalmThe Drum
July 19, 2021
Boxer Tyson Fury is being featured as part of a suicide prevention campaign in the UK by the charity Calm (Campaign Against Living Miserably). The campaign ad is a photo of a real boxing match Fury participated in, with the opponent removed and the heading ‘Sometimes the toughest opponents are the ones you can’t see.’ Simon Gunning, chief executive at Calm, said, “Like many of us, Tyson Fury has fought invisible opponents. And we hope this campaign starts a new conversation about the impact of mental health challenges – because the more we talk about it, the more we normalize being open about what we’re going through, the more we can get support when we need it. We want to inspire people who might be going through tough times to take that first, crucial step and reach out to family, friends or the Calm helpline before they reach the point of crisis. Whatever your battle, Calm is here, in your corner.”

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