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:
Oil, heartbreak, and manhood: Behind the mental heath crisis of Alberta’s oil workers – BuzzFeed
August 2, 2017
This article provides an in-depth look at the mental health issues, and accompanying stigma, that affects men working in Alberta’s oil sands. Chris Johnson, a crane operator who experienced suicidality in youth and then had a nervous breakdown after a particularly critical, life-threatening work incident, is featured in the article. Contrary to what many oil patch workers who’ve experienced mental health issues would do, Johnson, because of his past experiences, went straight to the hospital and took time off, but not without being guilt-tripped by his boss, first. “A lot of guys don’t even think they can get help because there’s such a stigma around it,” he says. “Basically, the response is ‘don’t be a pussy.’” CSP’s Librarian Robert Olson echoes these sentiments, “We’re taught we can get things done ourselves… If we’re troubled we can work through it, often to our peril.”
‘Do something now!’: Indigenous activists plead for action in youth suicide crisis – Toronto Star
August 4, 2017
Activists were outside the office of Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs last week to demand government action in helping to stop the Indigenous youth suicide crisis. Since 1980 in northern Ontario alone, at least 300 Indigenous youth have died by suicide.
Have smartphones destroyed a generation? – Atlantic
This article examines the habits of the generation born between 1995 and 2012, the first to have grown up knowing cellphones. The author argues that this generation is less independent than previous ones, spending much more time at home, and finding their private time with friends by going on their smartphones, and they’re not working or dating as much. “So what are they doing with all that time? They are on their phone, in their room, alone and often distressed.” The author also notes that this may lead to increased suicide risk, as teens who spend more than 3 hours per day on an electronic device are 35% more likely to have a risk factor for suicide. Another quoted American statistic is that since 2007, the homicide rate among teens has declined, but suicides have increased: “As teens have started spending less time together, they have become less likely to kill one another, and more likely to kill themselves.”
Suicide rate hit 40-year peak among older teen girls in 2015 – CNN
August 3, 2017
The National Center for Health Statistics in the US has released new statistics that show the rate of suicide in teenage girls (15-19) has doubled between 2007 and 2015. For boys 15-19, the suicide rate increased by 31%. Todd Simon, author of the statistical report, said that it is unlikely that any one factor contributed to the increase in suicides.
Girlfriend whose texts urged suicide gets 15 months in jail – Canadian Press
August 3, 2017
Michelle Carter was sentenced last Thursday to 15 months in jail for involuntary manslaughter. Carter urged her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, to kill himself in several text messages. Roy was already at a high suicide risk, and died by suicide on July of 2014.
Inmates at risk of suicide no longer to be placed in segregation – CTV
August 1, 2017
Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) has announced that it will not keep inmates who are at-risk of suicide in solitary confinement, and this applies to all inmates with serious mental illnesses causing significant impairment, inmates who self-injure, and inmates who are found to be at immediate risk of suicide. “These policy changes will make a tangible and immediate improvement to inmates with complex mental health needs, and to the way we manage administrative segregation.” CSC Commissioner Don Head said in a statement.
The bold new fight to eradicate suicide – Guardian
August 1, 2017
This article describes the “Zero Suicide” movement, which aims to completely eradicate suicide in a health care setting. This goal is driven by the belief that suicide is preventable: people who are suicidal can be recognized as such and be connected to help before they reach a point of crisis. Zero Suicide began in Detroit, US more than 10 years ago, and has now made its way to the UK, having been introduced in many National Health Service Trusts.
’13 Reasons Why’ series led to a spike in Google suicide searches, study warns – Global
July 31, 2017
A new study released in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that suicide searches were up by at least 19% for the 19 days after the release of the show 13 Reasons Why on Netflix (March 31 – April 18) compared to the previous period (January 15 – March 30). Some days, search inquiries were 44% higher than the previous period and it was noted that searches focused on suicide ideation; searches like “how to commit suicide,” “commit suicide,” and “how to kill yourself” were higher than previously. Searches for suicide hotlines were also increased, as were “public awareness” searches like “suicide prevention.”
Perfectionism and suicide are linked, finds new study – Independent
July 31, 2017
The University of Western Ontario has released a study that interviewed loved ones of people who died by suicide, and found that more than half of those people exhibited traits of perfectionism. “Self-generated and socially based pressures to be perfect are part of the premorbid personality of people prone to suicide ideation and attempts,” the study explains.