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 protestors block stretch of Highway 1 east of WinnipegGlobal News
June 30, 2017
First nations activists blocked a stretch of Highway 1 near Winnipeg last Friday in hopes that the federal government will make mental health services more accessible to First Nations youth, who have high suicide rates. “Inadequate health-care services, the loss of cultural identity and lack of proper housing are key factors contributing to the high rates of suicide and mental illness among indigenous peoples,” said a post on the Red Power Media website.

Teacher to paddle the Nahanni to raise money for suicide prevention in Fort SimpsonCBC
June 29, 2017
Jack Frimeth, a teacher from Fort Simpson, NWT, will paddle down the Nahanni River to raise money for suicide prevention in his community, which has lost four young people to suicide in just the past six months. Initially, Frimeth was going to paddle to raise funds for his diabetes- focused organization, but switched to suicide prevention. “I felt it may be more appropriate and timely to redirect the funds to mental health and local suicide prevention programs,” Frimeth said.

Breaking the taboo of seafarer mental healthUK Chamber of Shipping
June 29, 2017
The UK Chamber of Shipping has reported that since 2014 suicides have tripled amongst those who work at sea, making them three times more likely to die by suicide than “shoreworkers.”  A macho culture that discourages help-seeking is one factor that prevents men working at sea from getting help. Seafarers also often work in isolation and are away from their support networks, which puts them at a higher risk for suicide, according to Roger Harris, executive director of the International Seafarers Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN). ISWAN just released a self-help guide for seafarers, available here.

Tweet spurs conversation about farmer suicide, mental health supportsNational Post
June 27, 2017
Farmer Kim Keller from Gronlid, Saskatchewan brought attention to the issue of farmer suicide this past weekend, tweeting: “farm stress is real, suicide is real,” followed by other tweets referencing farm culture, including the fact that farmers are supposed to be “tough.” In our latest resource toolkit, we touch on some of the factors surrounding the high suicide rates of farmers, such as access to lethal means (pesticides) and isolation.

A focus on mental health could help end Canada’s fentanyl crisisHuff Post Blog
June 27, 2017
Dr. Diane McIntosh, Psychiatrist and clinical assistant professor at UBC argues that the fentanyl crisis is the result of poor resourcing of mental health care, causing people who need mental health care (and are unable to access it for a variety of reasons) to self-medicate with the opioid. “Untreated mental illness drives addiction, and addiction drives mental illness, creating a vicious cycle that too often is broken by death, not recovery,” says McIntosh.

Nunavut funds community-based suicide prevention planCBC
June 26, 2017
The Government of Nunavut released their 5-year suicide prevention action plan last Monday. $35 million will be put towards the plan, with $16 million for community suicide prevention programs, and half of the $35 million going directly to communities.

Nunavut’s suicide strategy includes Facebook, giving communities more control CTV
June 26, 2017
The government of Nunavut, along with the Embrace Life Council and other organizations who have helped create the suicide prevention strategy for Nunavut, are collaborating with Facebook as part of the strategy. “One of the things that we heard during the (Facebook) summit last year is that we need to make sure the work that we’re doing reaches more Nunavummiut — people of Nunavut — and especially the youth, and one of the means that people suggested was social media,” said David Lawson, RCMP and president of the Embrace Life Council. “Collaborating with Facebook for this launch will allow us to reach out to them better.”

America’s lax gun laws are giving more and more kids an easy path to suicideQuartz
June 26, 2017
Between 2007 and 2014, the US has seen a 60% increase in the number of children dying by suicide using firearms. In general, though, the US is seeing an increase in suicide deaths: “The rise in firearm suicides among children reflects the more widespread problem of increased suicide rates across the nation, particularly following the economic recession in 2007,” Katherine Fowler, lead author of the study and behavioral scientist at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Opinion: Resilience, self-determination are the tools Inuit youth need to fight suicideCBC
June 26, 2017
In this opinion piece, Natan Obed, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, discusses the struggles Inuit face, such as inter-generational trauma as part of the devastating aftermath of colonization, and how these struggles impact the suicide rates of Inuit. Obed also talks about how Inuit are working extensively on suicide prevention, emphasizing the importance of self-determination as a protective factor: “Culture, language and history – the self-determination of Inuit – all play a role in our overall mental health,” says Obed. Learn more about Inuit in our special feature.

Suicide attempts spike amid Ontario prison system overhaul Globe and Mail
June 25, 2017
In 2016, 160 prisoners attempted suicide in provincial correctional facilities, exceeding the average of 106 attempts per year. This rise comes despite efforts to take a more humane approach to inmate care.

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