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Increasing access to suicide prevention supportsGovernment of Alberta
June 10, 2022
The Government of Alberta has announced $3 million in funding through their Youth Suicide Prevention Grant Program. Over the next two years, 13 youth-focused community programs will receive funding, including the Centre for Suicide Prevention for the Skills for Safer Living program. Skills for Safer Living is an evidence-based training for youth who have experienced a suicide attempt and their caregivers. “We are pleased to have received funding for the Skills for Safer Living program. This program is an effective intervention support and service, serving youth and their families or caregivers. It empowers youth with practical skills to promote their recovery and help them live meaningful lives while equipping caregivers with the knowledge and skills they need to support and enhance the process,” said Mara Grunau, executive director, Centre for Suicide Prevention.

Police, firefighters die by suicide more often than in line of duty. Why rates remain high – USA Today
June 10, 2022
Police and firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty in the US, according to a new study by the Ruderman Family Foundation. Unaddressed shame and stigma associated with suicide, lack of research and resources for first responders dealing with mental health challenges and growing pressure and stress from the pandemic have been cited by researchers and advocates as some of the factors contributing to suicide in first responders. “First responders were out there on the front line (during the pandemic), doing their jobs,” said Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “And historically, the stress of being in these jobs and what they experience has led to a higher rate of suicide … but suicide is not really talked about.” Study co-author Hanna Shaul Bar Nissim said that first responders may struggle to create a separation between the way they are at work and at home: “These characteristics and traits of the role don’t go away when they take off the uniform. Being heroic, being brave, identifying mental health as a sign of weakness, it’s something that stays with them even as they take off the uniforms.”

Inside my suicidal mind
Mad in America
June 10, 2022
**Method warning** In this article, author Yael Anohi describes the experience of chronic suicide ideation, including the struggle she sometimes feels to get through each day, “Here, for me, the time is both painfully slow and awfully silent. It’s like moving through some thick cotton wool that I have to push aside just to take the next step.” She also talks about her ambivalence towards life, and how connection with others helps bring her closer towards wanting to live, “There is only one solution to getting me out of this cotton ball — to get my life force stronger than my pain. And I don’t know of a better way to do that than for others to get inside the cotton ball with me. Yes, to try to understand me ‘as is,’ to understand how I feel about my pain and my suffering. And that desire to be ‘with me’ is what feels like the most loving, most caring act ever. And if somebody is willing to talk with me and take my mental state seriously, that feels real, that empowers my life force, which keeps me ‘on this side.'” Anohi also describes the psychological pain that comes with suicidal thoughts, “Everyone who ever experienced severe physical pain, like migraines, knows that it takes over your whole being, that life becomes just all-consuming pain and nothing else. The same ‘all-consuming’ quality goes for soul pain — it’s no different.”

New study shows fewer suicide attempts in women using hormonal contraceptivesMedical Xpress
June 7, 2022
A new European study has found that women who use hormonal contraception have fewer attempted suicides than those who do not. This is contrary to previous reports which indicated that hormonal contraceptives were associated with a greater risk of suicide attempt. Attempted suicide rates were the same for both groups among women 15-19, but women not using contraceptive in the 20-29 age group were 37% more likely to attempt suicide than those who were taking hormonal contraception. Lead researcher Dr. Elena Toffol said, “Women, especially younger women, have higher rates of depression and attempted suicide than men of similar ages. Many women using hormonal contraceptives, especially contraceptive pills, report mood changes as a side effect.”

Study finds suicide rates among transgender youth at ‘crisis’ levelsOttawa Citizen
June 6, 2022
A new study has found that transgender youth are five times more likely than cisgender youth to think about suicide and more than seven times more likely to have attempted suicide.
“A really concerning finding is that more than half of all transgender youth reported seriously considering suicide in the previous 12 months,” said co-author Fae Johnstone, executive director of Wisdom2Action and a trans woman. “This is a crisis, and it shows just how much more needs to be done to support transgender young people.” The study suggests that more suicide prevention programs are needed that specifically target transgender, nonbinary, and sexual minority adolescents, as well as gender-affirming care for transgender young people.

Suicides among Black People May Be Vastly UndercountedScientific American
June 6, 2022
2010 research found that Black Americans are 2.3 times more likely to have died of ‘undetermined’ causes than white Americans. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report from earlier this year showed a 5.5% increase in suicide rates among Black people in the US, but researchers worry this could be an underestimate. “The numbers likely went up more than the data shows,” said Ian Rockett, who authored the 2010 study. According to a 2021 study done by Rockett and co-authors, coroners and medical examiners are more likely to determine a Black person’s death as being of ‘undetermined intent’ if they have a lack of data, which “leads to suicide misclassification.” Another study found that words such as ‘depression’ and ‘anxiety’ were more likely to be found in death reports of white people than Black people, as well as medication information, family problems, and other risk factors for suicide. For death reports of Black people, language was much less specific and contained more words like ‘questionable’ and ‘no further details.’ The lack of detail could be attributed to many things, including the fact that Black people are less likely to leave suicide notes, where 1 in 5 will leave a note compared with 1 in 3 white people. Stigma of suicide in the Black community may also be a factor in the lack of data, and possibly also racial bias.

Suicide prevention: Advocates call for relaxed confidentiality rules, more family involvementCTV News
June 3, 2022
Jean-François Ryan lost son Mikhaël Ryan t suicide in 2017, and now Ryan is advocating for a more comprehensive approach to treatment for those with mental health issues. He says that the information about his son that could’ve helped his son was “scattered,” and “None of the interveners had this amount of information.” Ryan says he believes his son’s death could’ve been prevented if the information had been provided to everyone he was treated by. Ryan suggests a “triangle of care” approach that includes family and friends within treatment, which would require relaxing confidentiality rules between professionals.

Pandemic-driven mental health concerns ‘pervasive’ among kids, new survey suggestsCBC
June 1, 2022
A new survey by the Alberta Medical Association of more than 700 parents has found that the mental health of children in the province has worsened during the pandemic. Almost 2/3 of parents say their child’s mental health has suffered during the pandemic with 1/4 describing their mental health as “much worse.” Over 50% of parents said their child is currently experiencing mental health concerns. “If we can’t get them the help they need now, then this is going to become an established issue for them moving forward into their adult years,” said Dr. Vesta Michelle Warren, president of the Alberta Medical Association. Warren also notes the mental health concerns identified by parents, “Lots of anxiety, in particular panic attacks. Anxiety around their health, anxiety around COVID. But also true depression. Suicidal thoughts, ideation, and actually acting on that which is really quite scary.”

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