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:

Updated website: Together to LiveCentre for Suicide Prevention
July 5, 2021
We’re excited to announce the (re)launch of Together to Live, your step by step guide to creating a community suicide prevention plan. Together to Live includes: a planning guide to create a community suicide prevention plan; real stories of communities who have plans; evidence-based information about suicide prevention; resources. The site was initially developed by the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health (the Centre) in partnership with passionate people and organizations across Ontario. In 2021, the Centre passed the site on to Centre for Suicide Prevention. Together to Live is made possible thanks to funding from the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

The Devastating Drought Across The West Could Mean An Increase In Farmer SuicidesNPR
July 2, 2021
The western US has been experiencing a drought that is putting pressure, both financial and emotional, on farmers. Mindy Perkovich, who has been farming in Colorado for 12 years says, “Financially, I can’t really even express how dramatic it’s changed in the last couple years, water-wise, because without water, we can’t grow crops without crops, we have nothing to sell to our consumers.” She also feels emotional distress about the water shortage and financial strains, “When I walk outside of my house, and I look to the west, and most of our property is crispy and brown and dry, it makes me want to cry. You can feel it deep inside of you because when you put your heart and soul into this work, and you go outside and it feels hopeless.” Farmers and agriculture workers have the second highest suicide rate in the US, and one contributing factor to that rate is the connection between their financial stability and factors outside of their control like weather and the agriculture market. Perkovich recently reached out for help to cope with her stress, “I was always really resistant to reaching out to a therapist. I was like, No, I can handle this. I don’t need to have somebody else help me figure out my stuff. But I will say it was incredibly helpful.”

Mary J. Blige Credits Fans for Helping Rescue Her From Suicidal Thoughts: ‘I’ve Got to Push Through’People Magazine
July 1, 2021
Musician Mary J. Blige has opened up about having thoughts of suicide early on in her career. She says it was her devotion to her fans that helped keep her alive: “I think subconsciously, I was like, ‘Oh I can’t kill myself now… because people were too diehard and strong and emotional about this album… I was like ‘I can’t [die] now. I’ve just got to thug this out. I’ve got to push through.’ And so I just kept pushing and pushing, no matter how hard it got, no matter how ugly it got.” Blige also acknowledges that she used substances to cope with negative self-talk for years, and that she still works on herself daily. “It’s not as bad as it was, I’m in a great place. But I have to fight for my freedom and my happiness every single day because that was some heavy imprisonment, you know?”

‘We had goosebumps’: Indigenous drum group helps police calm man in crisisCTV
June 30, 2021
*Method warning* An Indigenous drum group called Grey Buffalo was called in by the Saskatoon Police this past weekend to assist them in responding to a person at imminent risk of suicide. Grey Buffalo performed prayer songs and the man who was actively thinking about suicide said, “It calmed me down. Just the drumming and hearing them sing, it calmed me down and then (seeing) them standing there, I looked at them and thought about my family and said to myself ‘I can’t do this.’” Grey Buffalo member Jeff Longman said, “I think that the Creator sent us there to help him, that’s the way I think about it.”

Tamar Braxton on Life After Surviving a Suicide Attempt: ‘Dedicated to Being the Best Mom I Can Be’People Magazine
June 30, 2021
In a People Magazine cover story, Tamar Braxton talked about how she’s moving forward following her suicide attempt one year ago. “That time of my life was so dark and so heavy. I didn’t see how I was going to come out on the other side. I didn’t even know that there was another side. But I chose to change my life.”

Suicidal crises, mental fatigue: Kids struggle after pandemic isolationCTV News
June 29, 2021
Months of social distancing and online school have been challenging for many young people and some areas have reported an increase in young people presenting to emergency departments for suicidal behaviours. Bhatia, 17, is a “stereotypical introvert” with anxiety, and she described the beginning of the pandemic as an almost welcome change, however, she missed her friends, found online school frustrating, and experienced episodes of depression. She feels like she’s been “running a marathon, and I’m finally reaching the end and I’m just getting so tired at this point. I think I don’t have the energy for happiness.” Shipp, 18, said that the pandemic created negative thinking for her, and that she “felt depressed and anxious and very scared for the future.” Shipp says that attending school in-person in the fall will be difficult for her, “It’s still a little weird because now, all of a sudden … you don’t need to wear the mask? It’s like jumping into the water too fast. The normalcy is kind of unnormal for me.”

Understanding black youth suicide: Steps toward preventionEurekAlert
June 28, 2021
Researchers published a statement in the academic journal JAMA Pediatrics asking for information on how to prevent Black youth suicide. They’re also calling for a ‘ground-zero’ approach, meaning that theory development and tests of culturally relevant risk factors should be prioritized. “Applying the white-centric lens that has driven existing suicide research is not sufficient to solving the increasing rates of suicide among Black youth,” said Arielle Sheftall, PhD, lead author of the statement, and principal investigator in the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research in the Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “That’s why we call for a ‘ground zero’ approach. We need to look at our basic assumptions and theories about suicide, and assess whether they hold true for Black youth.”

People living with HIV/AIDS have a significantly higher risk of suicidePenn State News
June 28, 2021
A new study has found that people with HIV/AIDS are 100 times more likely to die by suicide than those in the general population. “There is an urgent need to prioritize mental health screening and care into all HIV testing and treatment settings,” said Dr. Paddy Ssentongo, researcher and an epidemiology doctoral student. “Suicide risk should be assessed in all HIV patients, especially in those who are newly-diagnosed and those with advanced disease.”

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