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:

Canada Suicide Prevention Service temporarily ceases text and chat help; seeks more funding IT World Canada
August 1, 2018
Centre for Suicide Prevention’s Mara Grunau spoke with IT World Canada this week about the importance of funding Canada’s only nationwide crisis line’s chat and text services, after last week’s announcement that the services would no longer be offered due to funding restraints. “We’re trying to lower the barrier. When people are in crisis and they need help now, they shouldn’t have to navigate a complex system… If we’re serious about meeting people where they’re at and helping them in the moment, we need to make this available,” said Grunau.

What is it like to lose a patient to suicide?
Kevin MD
August 5, 2018
In this blog post, Dr. Zheala Qayyum, a psychiatrist discusses what it’s like to lose a patient to suicide, particularly the sense of guilt that follows. “I’m not sure if the people around you completely appreciate that this person you couldn’t save was not a stranger. This was someone who shared their tears, their fears and their unfulfilled dreams with you. They shared their pain and their hopes, they allowed you a first-hand view into their despair and they let you into their world, and perhaps gave you glimpses of their soul,” said Qayyum.

Ketamine offers lifeline for people with severe depression, suicidal thoughts CNN
August 4, 2018
Some people experiencing severe depression in the US are being treated with Ketamine, which may be a way to improve their mood. It causes dissociative effects, which is what makes it a popular party drug, but this effect may help those with depression, according to Dr. Kevin Kane, a Ketamine Clinic medical director in the US. “Sometimes, that can be a very powerful thing, that dissociation,” Kane said. “While you’re dissociating from your body, you may be dissociating [from] your mind as well. And, you may be able to see your problems and your issues that have really been consuming you as, ‘Yes, they’re still here, but now they’re over there. They’re in a little ball in the corner, and they don’t have the power over me anymore.’

Doctors reckon with high rate of suicide in their ranksKaiser Health News
August 3, 2018
An estimated 300-400 doctors in the US die by suicide annually, and they have a suicide rate that’s more than double that of the general population. TeamHealth, one of the US’s largest ER staffing companies, held listening sessions and found out that burnout was common, and began encouraging doctors to work less. TeamHealth found that doctors who are being sued face additional stress, and pairs those facing litigation with a peer who has been through the same experience. The industry also makes it difficult for doctors to reach out for help, as they may jeopardize their medical license.

My father staged his suicide to look like a murderNew York Times
August 3, 2018
*Method warning* The daughter of a man who died by suicide tells the story of how she remembers him struggling with his mental health from a relatively early age, though was unable to express his emotions. She recalls the last messages he sent her, and the way she responded. He had died of a bullet wound, and it wasn’t until six years after his death and a 73-page police report that it was discovered that it was self-inflicted – the author thought he had been murdered. “People have asked me, ‘Was it harder when you thought he was murdered?’ And my answer is no. The suicide is harder. It is so much harder. I thought he died in his prime, a happy guy on his way to meet a friend for a coffee.”

Youth counselling service introduces 24/7 online chat to meet demandsCBC
August 1, 2018
Kids Help Phone, a youth counselling service, is now able to offer their online chat service 24/7. The service launched more than five years ago but was not available 24/7 until recently. “We saw more and more young people who were wanting to speak using their fingers and not their voice,” said Alisa Simon, the chief youth officer at Kids Help Phone. “Anyone that has a teenager knows that young people are more likely to reach out to you in a non-verbal way than they are to call. What Kids Help Phone really is wanting to do is to provide as many entry points into our service as possible.”

Farmers should ditch ‘cowboy mentality,’ talk mental illness, Alberta student says CBC
August 1, 2018
Tia Schram, 25,  spoke at the Young Speakers in Agriculture contest earlier in July about the need for a discussion about mental illness in the agricultural industry. She lost a friend to suicide in April, and recognizes the challenges faced by farmers, including long hours and isolation, but also that they feel uncomfortable seeking help. “Farmers have a lot of pride and they never want to ask for help,” she said. “They think they can do everything on their own and I think that really plays a role in being able to communicate concerns about mental illness.”

City council backs call for mental health and addiction strategyCalgary Herald 
July 31, 2018
An amended motion made by Mayor Naheed Nenshi was passed in Calgary city council last week. The motion called for $25 million to be set aside over the next five years to improve crime prevention and supports for mental health and addiction. “I think what we’ve done here is really made a statement that this is important, that we believe in it, that we’re not willing to pass the buck on this and say it’s someone else’s problem when we have the convening authority,” Nenshi told council.

How should the media cover suicides? A new study has some answersTime
July 30, 2018
A new study published in CMAJ last week has examined specific media practices and determined which can create suicide contagion. “We’re not saying reporting on suicide is bad,” says Dr. Ayal Schaffer, a psychiatry professor at the University of Toronto and a co-author of the new study. “Our goal is not to blame journalists; it’s not to tell journalists how to do their jobs. But it is to provide a pretty strong research base to support specific guidelines about how reporting on suicide should be done.”
Related – Responsible reporting to prevent suicide contagionCMAJ
July 30, 2018

Are there health consequences when an individual is bereaved by their spouse’s suicide?American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
July 20, 2018
This edition of AFSP’s Research Connection examines a Swedish study that asked: What are the short-term and long-term health consequences for people bereaved by their spouse’s suicide? Takeaways from the study, as highlighted by the lead author, Annette Erlangsen, PhD, Associate Professor at John Hopkins School of Public Health, were as follows: “Most spouses bereaved by suicide do not experience long term negative physical, mental health or social consequences after the death of their loved one; Spouses bereaved by suicide may experience a great deal of psychological stress as they process their loss and, without intervention, may have increased risk for mental, physical and social consequences when compared with the general population or spouses bereaved by other causes; Support in coping with the suicide of a spouse may help prevent negative consequences, especially for individuals with higher risk.”

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