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:

‘We can’t just bury it anymore’: Fort Simpson responds to 4 suicides since FebruaryCBC
June 5, 2017
Fort Simpson, NWT, a community of just 1,238 people, has experienced 4 suicides in the past 5 months. Mara Grunau, Executive Director for CSP, was interviewed for CBC North’s Trail’s End radio show, and spoke about what can be done in the community to help prevent future suicides.

Artificial intelligence can now predict suicide with remarkable accuracyQuartz
June 10, 2017
Colin Walsh, data scientist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, has been working on an algorithm to help predict suicide attempts. Trials of the algorithm show 80-90% accuracy of predicting a suicide attempt within two weeks, and 92% accuracy of predicting an attempt within one week. The algorithm takes into account information on patient records, such as age, gender, zip code, prescriptions, and previous diagnosis. Walsh and his colleagues published a paper on the algorithm in April.

Daughter seeks answers after ‘very suicidal’ father denied hospital bed takes life
June 9, 2017
Rheo Cormier died by suicide just 9 days after being turned away by the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont hospital in Moncton, New Brunswick. Cormier was staying at TJ Maillet Residences, a special care home in New Brunswick, at the time of his suicide. Cory Thibodeau, program manager, said that staff took Cormier to the hospital as they were extremely worried about his mental health. Instead of being admitted as adamantly requested by the program staff, a doctor at the hospital gave Cormier a referral to a psychologist and sent him back to the home.

Man imitated the ’13 Reasons Why’ suicide and left behind tapes
June 9, 2017
Note: suicide method is stated prominently in this piece.
Peruvian Franco Alonso Lazo Medrano, 23, died by suicide and left behind two suicide notes, one indicating where tapes could be found. The tapes mimic those from the 13 Reasons Why Netflix series, a series that, as experts have pointed out, does not follow the media guidelines for suicide and therefore could trigger those already struggling. Check out our blog post on 13 Reasons Why for resources and more information.

Metro Vancouver police chiefs call for suicide prevention barriers on bridgeVancouver Sun
June 8, 2017
Two bridges crossing over the Fraser River in Delta, BC, have become frequent stops for the Delta police, who are called out about once a week to respond to possible suicide attempts. Chief Neil Dubord said that they are currently working on having call boxes linking to distress lines installed, but would ultimately like to see suicide prevention barriers contructed on the bridges. 

‘Tell me what the reality looks like:’ Trying to stop suicides as social media explodesNBC
June 7, 2017
Media coverage of suicide has a significant impact on suicide rates – which is why media guidelines for reporting on suicide exist. Now that social media is so prevalent and everyone is free to share content to an extensive audience, the media guidelines have been forgotten and people are live streaming suicide for anyone to see, potentially triggering others. There are things these social media platforms can do to help prevent suicide, including providing suicide prevention tools. Social media can also give people a sense of connection, which is one factor that helps lower suicide risk.

Doctor depression, suicide slowly coming out of shadowsChicago Tribune
June 6, 2017
Male doctors are 1.5 times more likely to die by suicide than men in other professions, and women physicians have an even higher risk. Frequent exposure to trauma, long hours, and high expectations are often cited as some of the contributing factors to mental health problems like burnout, which is usually a warning sign for future mental health problems.

New children’s mental health clinic opens in EdmontonAlberta Government
June 5, 2017
The Alberta Government is opening the Rutherford Mental Health Clinic in Edmonton, which will accommodate about 1,500 children and teens in treatment for mental health and addictions issues. The clinic is part of the government’s fulfillment of recommendations made in Alberta’s Mental Health Review.

No inquiry into former soldier’s murder-suicide, says medical examinerCBC
June 5, 2017
There will be no inquiry into the death of Lionel Desmond, a former soldier with the Canadian Forces who suffered from PTSD and died by suicide after killing his wife and daughter this past January in Upper Tracadie, Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia’s medical examiner announced that a fatality inquiry will not be conducted, but did not include reasons for that decision. Desmond’s situation has shed light on the fact that many soldiers and veterans are struggling with PTSD, and many do not receive the help they need to cope.
Related – Decision not to hold inquiry into veterans’ murder-suicide sparks angerGlobe and Mail

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