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:

As suicide, addiction death projections soar amid COVID-19, treatment centers struggle to stay alive tooUSA Today
June 21, 2020
Mental health and substance abuse groups in the US have sent a letter to the Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary asking for a separate distribution of money as they say they’re being blocked from “getting desperately needed relief funds,” because funding in the US has largely been focused on the immediate impact on hospitals caring for patients.

Coroner’s inquest called into Regina suicide after hospital visits National Post
June 20, 2020
Samwel Uko, 20, was in Regina, Saskatchewan visiting his aunt when he went to the Regina General Hospital seeking mental health help. Uko, an athlete from Abbotsford, BC, was released from the hospital, then called 911 just hours later to be brought back. Uko was then ‘escorted out of the hospital’ because he didn’t provide his name, according to the police officer that brought him there. Later that day, Uko died by suicide. Saskatchewan Health Minister Jim Reiter said that it would be troubling if Uko was escorted from the hospital only because he did not provide his name. Reiter also said, “Any suicide’s tragic and if that young man was reaching out for health help … that’s incredibly concerning.” Saskatchewan’s Coroners Service investigates all sudden or unexpected deaths, and, along with the inquest, a jury gives recommendations to prevent similar deaths. An inquest will be held for Uko’s death, however, a date has not been set due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sask. NDP bill focused on suicide prevention defeated by governmentCBC
June 19, 2020
The provincial government of Saskatchewan defeated a bill last week that was focused on moving forward work outlined in the newly released suicide prevention strategy for the province: Pillars of Life. The bill would have required the government to recognize suicide as not only a mental health issue, but also as a public health issue. “The intent of [Vermette’s] bill was to move forward with a suicide prevention plan. We’ve done that,” said Health Minister Jim Reiter. “Policy is more flexible. We don’t think it needs to be in legislation, but the sincerity and the intent of his bill, I have no question.” Doyle Vermette, the NDP MLA for Cumberland, put forward the bill. Vermette said,  “It was so simple to do this, to work together. There was nothing in it that we could not have worked together on. We need some action… we can’t lose any more young people’s lives.”

Veterans Affairs Canada releases annual study on Veteran suicide mortality  – CNW
June 18, 2020
The third annual Veteran Suicide Mortality Study, a collaborative study with Statistics Canada and Department of National Defence, was released last week. Over a 39-year observation period, it has been found that the risk for both male and female veterans is higher than that of the general population. This annual reporting is part of Veterans Affairs Canada and Canadian Armed Force’s Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy. “Every Veteran we lose is a profound tragedy and we need to continue to do everything we can to prevent Veteran suicides. As part of that effort, the Veteran Suicide Mortality Study is an important tool in helping us better understand the complex and tragic reality of suicide within the Veteran community,” said Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence 

LGBTQ activist Sarah Hegazi, exiled in Canada after torture in Egypt, dead at 30CBC
June 16, 2020
Sarah Hegazi, 30, died by suicide last week. The prominent Egyptian LGBTQ activist sought asylum in Canada after being imprisoned and tortured in 2017 after waving a rainbow flag at a concert in Cairo. Hegazi was interviewed by CBC in 2018 and said of her imprisonment, “I want to get over it and I want to forget, but no, I’m still stuck in prison.” In Canada, Hegazi sought to help others who faced a similar situation, “I don’t want to focus only on my case, I want to focus on the hundreds of thousands of people that are in jail because they either have a different political standing or sexual orientation,” Hegazi said.

Suicide: A BiographyPsychiatric Times
June 16, 2020
This article explains the intricacies of suicide and explores whether or not it can be predicated, while examining the history of suicide theory.

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