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:

Isolated And Struggling, Many Seniors Are Turning To Suicide – NPR
July 27, 2019
In the US, males 65 and over are at the highest risk of suicide, and people over 85, regardless of gender, have the second highest risk of suicide. There are many factors in this higher rate, including the fact that older adults are more likely to live alone, and experience bereavement more than other age populations. The aging process alone can be difficult to cope with. Dr. Julie Rickard, psychologist and founder of he Suicide Prevention Coalition of North Central Washington State, has experienced older adult suicidal behaviours first hand, after her mother, Sheri Adler, attempted to take her own life at age 72. Rickard “believes that through human contact, medical and psychiatric help, exercise, physical well-being, regular visits to primary care providers and hydration, seniors can improve their mental health.”

Is society’s ‘Man up’ message fuelling a suicide crisis among men?BBC
July 26, 2019
*Method warning* This article discusses how societal expectations placed on middle-aged men – the group who dies by suicide the most – make it more difficult for them to ask for help when they really need it. James thought about suicide and talks about how expectations of being “laddish” – the North American equivalent of “being a man” – created an environment for him in which he felt unable to ask for help when he was in the depths of depression and considering suicide. “I felt I had to be part of it, to fit into the team. To be part of that, I had to have that laddish bravado – I think that’s why men can struggle so much,” said James. “Then I got caught in this whirlpool of despair – should I be laddish even if I didn’t enjoy being laddish?”

Regina inmate’s death sparks call for better suicide prevention trainingWeyburn Review
July 26, 2019
Waylon Starr, 27, died by suicide in August 2017 while incarcerated at the Regina Correctional Centre. A coroner’s inquest into his death was conducted, and the inquest panel members recommended, among other things, that those working at the centre receive suicide prevention training, and that all incoming inmates are screened for suicidal behaviours. Further, cultural training was recommended, as well as improved communication regarding shift changes amongst staff members. “He (Waylon) told them when he first came in on July 5, he told them he tried suicide the day before,” said Verna Starr, Waylon’s mother. “I think they should have taken more time to reconsider that and put him on suicide watch.” 

Suicide Prevention in Construction: The Next Dimension of SafetyTunnel Business Magazine
July 25, 2019
Injury-related deaths in the construction industry have decreased significantly over the past 25 years, thanks to a cultural shift within the industry that led to leadership taking action to reduce these preventable deaths through improved education and safety measures. However, rates of death by suicide, which is also preventable, are five times higher in the construction industry than in the general population in the US. Michelle Walker, chair of the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention, urges leadership in construction companies to be proactive in suicide prevention: “You may be reading this and thinking ‘not me – we don’t have a suicide problem at our company.’ I would challenge you to consider do you have a problem with deaths caused by falls, struck by incidents, or electrocutions? I would hope not. And yet, you more than likely invest in fall protection, back up alarms, spotter training, and assured grounding programs and training – to prevent fatalities by these causes.”

Allison Hanes: First responders deserve our respect, gratitude and supportMontreal Gazette
July 24, 2019
Patrick Bigras, 45, was the first officer to appear on the scene of the murder of two young children by Guy Turcotte in 2009. Bigras died by suicide after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following the event in 2009, and had taken a leave of absence after the diagnosis, and then again recently prior to his death. In this opinion piece, Allison Hanes argues: “Bigras’s suicide is a tragic reminder that those who respond to emergencies do so at great personal peril. Police officers, firefighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses and soldiers show up every day, willing to run toward danger, never knowing what terror they will encounter. They deserve our respect and gratitude. But those we rely on to save us, to protect us, to help us, also need support — sometimes long after the fact.”

Circumpolar video project aims to curb suicides, encourage resilienceNunatsiaq News
July 23, 2019
The Arctic Council’s Project CREATeS brought together 45 youth from across the circumpolar world to share their experiences with suicide and stories of resilience through workshops. The workshops took place in Canada, Finland, and Greenland over a period of two years. These experiences and stories are now available online. Jordan Shields, 27, who lives in Kuujjuarapik, Quebec, participated in the project. “Today I’m thankful that I’m here. It was hard. I lost one of my best friends to a suicide. I lost my father from suicide, my uncle from suicide. I enjoy living here because I can get out to go hunting.… I don’t hunt that much now, but when I get the chance I’ll go. I get to feed my family, get to see people smile, know that they will eat country food that I provided.”

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