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:
‘I’ll never be the same again’: Sex And The City star Kim Cattrall talks for the first time about the suicide of her beloved brother – and reveals how walking for miles across Britain helped her to deal with her grief – Daily Mail
July 13, 2019
Actress Kim Cattrall lost her brother Christopher who died by suicide last year at the age of 55. Cattrall talks about her grief journey, which meant taking a break from work, and taking things “one day at a time.” Cattrall says of the experience, “It breaks you. It is so hard. There is a whole process for you and everyone around you of picking yourself up every day, going from a bad day to having a better day and then going back again. And it goes on.” Cattrall also discussed the stigma associated with suicide, “It is hard to talk about suicide and I also don’t think in our society today we are very good with grief. But since we lost Chris so many people have privately shared their losses of family members or friends and you realise suicide is an epidemic. It’s just that we don’t talk about it.”
The AI That Could Help Curb Youth Suicide – Atlantic
July 12, 2019
Google has granted the Trevor Project, an LGBTQ+ suicide prevention non-profit in the US, with $1.5 million to enhance their chat and text crisis counselling services, by adding an artificial intelligence component to the service. The AI would ask the user, “What is going on?,” then, if the user is identified as being high-risk based on their response, they would immediately be connected to a counsellor, thereby reducing that user’s wait time. “We think that if we’re able to train the model based on those first few messages and the risk assessment, that there’s a lot more things that you don’t see that a machine could pick up on and can potentially help us learn more about,” says John Callery, the director of technology for the Trevor Project. Counsellors will continue to make their own assessments, too.
Teens are increasingly depressed, anxious, and suicidal. How can we help? – Vox
July 11, 2019
In light of the increased number of suicide deaths among teens in the US, this article explores suicide and its complexity as a general issue and as an issue among youth. It also asks how suicide among youth can be prevented, and proposes means restriction, gatekeeper training, and the importance of open, nonjudgmental conversation, among other things.
Rise in Māori suicides pushes overall national figure to highest in at least a decade – Stuff
July 11, 2019
New Zealand has seen an increase in suicides, and this is partly due to the rise in the number of Māori males taking their own lives. In 2016, 553 people died by suicide in New Zealand: of those 135 were Māori. The rate for males was twice as high as for non-Māori males and there times higher than the rate of Māori women. Māori Council executive director Matthew Tukaki – a former chair of Suicide Prevention Australia – believes that more community supports are needed: “We have to look at new and creative and innovative ways of arming as many people as we can quickly to respond to the need. If I think that somebody’s in trouble, what questions do I need to ask to see if my fear that they might be going through a rough time is true, and then how do I respond to it?”
Opinion: Is God the Answer to the Suicide Epidemic? – Wall Street Journal
July 11, 2019
This opinion piece explores the role of and argument for religion as a form of suicide prevention, citing articles finding that women who attend a church service once a week are 5 times less likely to die by suicide.
Denmark plans regulation of influencers following suicide note – BBC
July 9, 2019
Denmark is considering how to regulate the content of posts that social media influencers (people with hundreds of thousands of followers) make public via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. This comes after influencer Fie Laursen, who has more than 336,000 followers, posted a suicide note on Instagram. Two days later, her family removed the note and posted that she was recovering from an attempt in hospital. Minister of Children and Education Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil explained what new regulation might look like: “When you reach a certain number of people who are followers of your page then you will have the same responsibility as if you were an editorial person on a newspaper or on old media. So, for instance… the Danish ethical standards for the press is that you do not write about suicide or suicide attempts if it doesn’t concern the general public. We want these same standards applied to social media.” Media guidelines are in place to avoid suicide contagion and stigma.
Australia has just got a new national suicide prevention adviser to tackle the mental health crisis – SBS News
July 9, 2019
Christine Morgan has been appointed by Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison as national suicide prevention officer. Morgan is also the chief executive of the National Mental Health Commission. This appointment comes after the Beyond the Emergency Study, which found there were 30,197 ambulance attendances for men who had thoughts of suicide or had attempted suicide in the year from July 2015. “Suicide takes far too many Australians, devastating families and local communities,” said Prime Minister Morrison. “One life lost to suicide is one too many, which is why my government is working towards a zero suicide goal.”