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:

‘New 18 now is 28′: How screens delay teens’ emotional maturityCBC
June 14, 2019
A study looking at youth ages 13 to 17 who visited Ontario emergency departments has found that the number of youth visiting the ER for self injury or poisoning doubled from 2009 to 2017. William Gardner, lead researcher and senior scientist at the CHEO Research Institute speculated that this increase may be due to increased smartphone usage (and therefore social media and internet usage), “lingering damage” from the economic downturn in 2008, but also, interestingly, “a greater willingness to seek help after campaigns to reduce the stigma of mental illness.” 

More Millennials Are Dying ‘Deaths of Despair,’ as Overdose and Suicide Rates Climb TIME
June 13, 2019
The Trust for America’s Health has released a report examining American death data, and has found that, while “deaths of despair” such as suicide and overdose have increased among the general population, this is especially true for those aged 23-38. 

After Calgary girl dies by suicide, experts say Alberta can look to other provinces to craft anti-bullying legislation Toronto Star
June 12, 2019
Some experts are suggesting that Alberta look to the anti-bullying laws in Quebec and Ontario after a 9-year-old Syrian girl died by suicide following bullying at school to prevent further bullying-related suicides. The legislation in Quebec and Ontario requires schools to notify parents when any “serious bullying” occurs. “Over and over again, the thing that we hear is that (the schools are) not taking it seriously,” said Barb Silva, the communications director for Alberta-based advocacy group Support our Students.

Landmark study finds 39 percent of LGBTQ youth and more than half of transgender and non-binary youth report having seriously considered suicide in the past twelve monthsTrevor Project
June 10, 2019
The Trevor Project, an American organization that offers suicide prevention and intervention services to LGBTQ youth and conducts suicide prevention research, has released a new study – the largest sample survey of LGBTQ youth ever conducted. Findings include: “2/3 of LGBTQ youth reported that someone attempted to convince them to change their sexual orientation or gender identity; 42% of LGBTQ youth who underwent conversion therapy reported a suicide attempt in the last year; and LGBTQ youth who experienced discrimination related to their sexual orientation or gender identity were twice as likely to attempt suicide.” Amit Paley, CEO & Executive Director of The Trevor Project highlighted, “It’s important to note that LGBTQ youth are not at higher risk of suicide because of their sexual orientation or gender identity–they are at a higher risk because they face harmful rejection and discrimination from friends, families and communities that can make them feel their lives are worth less than their straight or cisgender peers. That is why it is so important that we work tirelessly to let LGBTQ youth know that they are beautiful as they are, that they are deserving of respect, and that they are not alone.”

’13 Reasons Why’: When it comes to suicide, not all ‘conversations’ are equal.USA Today
June 10, 2019
In this opinion article, Mark Sinyor and other researchers discuss the findings in their two newly published studies examining suicide rates following the release of Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. Findings include that “suicides increased suddenly above and beyond what was expected given preexisting trends and only in youth in the months following the show.” Researchers say, “We know that its underlying causes are complex, but mental illness commonly plays a major role. Most suicidal crises are short-lived, especially in young people… Almost everyone with thoughts of ending their life finds a way to be resilient, and the cases where youth do die by suicide should be understood as preventable tragedies that do not serve as a means of ‘enlightening’ or ‘educating’ those left behind. Sadly, these truths are all missing in the first season of 13 Reasons Why, replaced by the exact opposite, popular myths and inaccurate information.”

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