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:

First Nations suicide rate 3 times higher than for non-Indigenous people: StatsCanGlobal 
June 30, 2019
Statistics Canada has released data looking at the suicide rate of Indigenous people from 2011-2016, and found that their rate is 3 times higher than that of the general population. The rate of suicide was found to be highly variable from one community to another: many had a suicide rate of zero. 

Suicide Isn’t Just a Personal IssueThe Atlantic
June 30, 2019
Suicide is a public health issue and needs to be treated as such. Years ago, cancer used to be shrouded in stigma, and it was thought that the sufferer brought the disease upon themselves. The public perspective on cancer has changed, and its perspective on suicide needs to change, too. “Cancer was shameful to think about or talk about, which shows you how much things really can change,” said Christine Moutier, the chief medical officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention “If you see someone choking or struggling in some way physically, you probably want to offer a hand,” and Moutier wants to see the same kind of care happen for people who express suicidality.  

We need to talk about suicide in the militaryThe Conversation
June 28, 2019
In this piece, Simon Harold Walker, Associate Researcher at the University of Strathclyde, examines suicide in the military through the years, beginning with World War I. He concludes: “Bluntly, men and women have died, are dying and will continue to die if society does not examine the issue of military suicide. Only through open discussion, active research and recognition of service and veteran mental health-related deaths can these tragedies be prevented in the future.”

Why have suicides among black youths skyrocketed?Atlanta Journal-Constitution
June 27, 2019
New research has found that, between 2001 and 2017, the suicide rate of black males ages 13 to 19 increased by 60%, while black females of the same age saw an increase of 182%. Ten states in particular had higher rates: Georgia, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York and Missouri. “There is no definite reason known, and we cannot definitively prove or establish cause-and-effect relationships,” said Jagdish Khubchandani, a health science professor at Ball State University and one of the authors of the study. “In general, educational investment, state child poverty and crime, and mental health resources need to be looked at … as they are predictors of suicide over a large geographic area.”

B.C. announces “pathway to hope” for families that need mental health treatment but can’t afford itVancouver Sun
June 26, 2019
A Pathway to Hope: A roadmap for making mental health and addictions care better for people in British Columbia, is a new initiative by the BC Government to prevent and intervene with individuals dealing with substance use and mental health issues before they reach a point of crisis. The plan recognizes that mental health care is not financially accessible to everyone, and therefore the government plans to give $10 million to non-profit organizations to be used to provide free or affordable counselling services. 

Why suicide is a top cause of death for police officers and firefightersVox
June 25, 2019
This first-person perspective piece is written by Ann Marie Farina, the executive director of The Code Green Campaign and former EMT. Farina discusses the issue of suicide among first responders and suggests that greater support from supervisors and increasing social supports and sense of belonging could help first responders cope with the trauma they experience. 

Bourdain Day Is About Turning Grief Into Celebration, Say the Chefs Who Created ItEsquire
June 25, 2019
Eric Ripert and José Andrés, world renowned chefs and friends of Anthony Bourdain, invited their social media followers to celebrate what would have been Anthony Bourdain’s 63rd birthday with them. “I suffered so much grief after what happened that I only hope people will turn all that grief into happiness of life, and remembering how Tony made the world a smaller place by bringing us all together,” said Andrés. “I hope that this is a place that many people will go, will enjoy life, will have a drink. They will cook, they will go to a food truck. They will go to [a] picnic. They will go to [a] street vendor. A hot dog, a fancy restaurant, whatever. And they will toast Tony and wish, ‘Happy Bourdain Day’ on Instagram, on [the] internet, on Twitter. That’s it.”

On the anniversary of Anthony Bourdain’s birth, it’s time we talk about depressionWashington Post
June 25, 2019
Reflecting on the date of what would have been Anthony Bourdain’s 63rd birthday, the columnist of this piece wrote, “(One) of Bourdain’s legacies is one we don’t care to talk about: his suicide and the mental state that led him to that awful moment. Yet evidence suggests the more we ignore the problems that beset us and/or our loved ones — the fears, the shame, the fevered thoughts in the night — the more we contribute to the growing suicide rates. Talk, experts tell us, can help save lives.”

Lizzo Opened Up About Mental Health on InstagramTeen Vogue
June 24, 2019
Musician Lizzo posted on Instagram about her mental health struggles, saying: “I’m depressed and there’s no one I can talk to because there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Life hurts.” Lizzo is known among her fans for her honesty and openess on social media, and many fans responded with messages of support. Lizzo followed up on the post with another: “I learned in the last 24 hours that being emotionally honest can save your life. Reaching out may be hard but as soon as I did it I was covered in love…” She then encouraged fans to share their own experiences, as well as what they do to cope with their sadness.

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