Hello Friends,

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:

Jar Jar Binks Actor Ahmed Best thanks fans for support after sharing his struggle with suicideVariety
July 6, 2018
The actor who played the criticized and controversial character Jar Jar Binks on Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, has opened up on Twitter about how he contemplated suicide following the release of the film. Best tweeted, alongside a picture of he and his son: “20 years next year I faced a media backlash that still affects my career today. This was the place I almost ended my life. It’s still hard to talk about. I survived and now this little guy is my gift for survival…” Since posting the tweet, Best has received an outpouring of support from fans and Star Wars alumni.

Peer support program helps TTC workers who witness subway suicideCTV News/Canadian Press
July 5, 2018
The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has begun a new peer support program aimed at helping employees who have witnessed a suicide or other type of pedestrian fatality. These TTC employees can confidentially access a list of others within the organization who have had a similar experience to reach out to them for support. “It’s just nice to talk to someone who’s in the trenches with you, someone who understands the subtle nuances, the lingo and the way things work at the TTC,” said Jason Banfield, a streetcar driver who witnessed a pedestrian fatality.

Opinion: Suicide is a national epidemic. We need to treat it like oneWashington Post
July 5, 2018
This opinion piece argues that suicide is often framed as an individual tragedy, but should also be recognized as the major public health crisis that it is. Jonathan Javitt wrote this piece; he’s an adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and founder and chief executive of NeuroRx, a start-up biopharma company.

After an inmate’s suicide, this lawyer is furious about what’s wrong in our jails CBC
July 5, 2018
Defence lawyer Mark Gruchy commented on inmate Chris Sutton’s suicide death last week at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary (HMP) in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Prior to his death, Sutton had asked for assistance due to the conditions he faced at HMP. Gruchy is criticizing the corrections system for Sutton’s death: “Something obviously needs to be done immediately, and I think what’s going on is there is a combination of a culture which is not supportive of basic human rights…inside of those facilities and it’s colliding with an outmoded, you know, 19th-century-and-beyond British naval facility, essentially, which is beginning to fall apart.”

Perspective: Suicide is on the rise. Depression therapy is limited. Let’s try psychedelics Washington Post
July 3, 2018
In this opinion piece it’s argued that, as the American suicide rate is rising traditional methods of treatment, like therapy and medication, are only going so far in treating severe depression. Psychedelic drugs are suggested as an alternative or complementary treatment, as FDA-approved studies have shown, “When prescribed to carefully screened patients, under the care and monitoring of health professionals, these medications appear to be highly beneficial…” This piece was written by Ira Byock, Palliative Care Physician and Chief Medical Officer of the Institute for Human Caring of Providence St. Joseph Health in California.

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