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:
CSP and CMHA Edmonton to host the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention Conference – Centre for Suicide Prevention
March 25, 2019
We’re pleased to announce that we will be co-hosting the 30th annual Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention conference with the Canadian Mental Health Association – Edmonton. The conference will be held on October 16 – 18, 2019 in Edmonton, Alberta. Registration is opening soon, and we’re now accepting abstracts.
Why more men than women die by suicide – BBC Future
March 18, 2019
Men die by suicide three times more often than women in many countries around the world, including the UK, Australia, Canada, Russia, and the US. One reason for men’s higher rates has to do with communication and the way men are socialized starting in childhood. Mara Grunau, executive director at the Centre for Suicide Prevention said, “Mothers talk way more to their girl children than their boy children… and they share and identify feelings more. We almost expect women to be emotional.” One risk factor for men is isolation, as men are also socialized to be successful in their careers, which may come at the cost of their relationships and leave them, “at the top of the pyramid, alone,” says Grunau. But, men are talking about their feelings more and suicide is becoming less stigmatized. “We are seeing momentum we’ve never seen,” says Grunau. “You can actually talk about suicide and people still flinch, but they’re more willing to have the conversation.”
We can’t afford to be in the dark about digital self-harm – and its real-life consequences – Globe and Mail
March 23, 2019
“Digital self-harm” is a phenomenon that refers to people who self-harm via social media. Scholars Justin Patchin and Sameer Hinduja, co-directors of the Cyberbullying Research Center, define digital self-harm as: “anonymous online posting, sending or otherwise sharing of hurtful content about oneself.” In some cases, this means searching out abusive comments about oneself, or creating an account to comment negatively about oneself.
Fourth Ontario police officer dies by suicide in nine months – CTV
March 22, 2019
Ontario’s provincial police force has lost nine members to suicide in 2018, and four since July 2018. Const. Roch Durivage died by suicide last Wednesday, and advocate groups are speaking out about the need for the Ontario Provincial Police Association to take action. “The time for talking about it is kind of over,” said president of Badge of Life, Bill Rusk. “I can tell you right now, there’s more than a dozen officers across the country right now that are contemplating suicide and they shouldn’t have to do that alone.”
Related: ‘I felt that I wasn’t valued’: In the wake of another OPP suicide, a former officer speaks out – CBC
Report: Sydney Aiello, who survived the Parkland high school shooting, dies by suicide – USA Today
March 22, 2019
*Method warning* Sydney Aiello, 19, died by suicide last week. Aiello survived the Parkland school shooting last year, and just graduated from high school. Aiello was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder recently and struggled with a fear of classroom settings, which hindered her ability to attend post-secondary classes, according to her mother, Cara Aiello.
Grieving dad calls for change to mental health system after son sent home from ER – CBC
March 21, 2019
Stephen Nauss, whose son Anthony Nauss, 20, died by suicide, is advocating for changes to be made to Nova Scotia’s mental health system. Anthony had a history of mental health issues, and previous suicide attempts. One day when Anthony was feeling suicidal, he went to the ER for help, and was asked to go home and book an appointment with the province’s mental health services department, which had a wait list of three months. “My son didn’t have three months to wait and should have been helped then,” Nauss wrote in a letter sent to Premier Stephen McNeil and all of Nova Scotia’s MLAs. “But instead he was sent home to die and that’s exactly what happened a week later.”
Opinion: What to Do When Someone Is Suicidal – New York Times
March 21, 2019
This letter to the editor, written in response to How to Fight Suicide, commends the author for “shining light on the rising rates of suicide in the United States” but also notes that not enough emphasis is given to the fact that most people who die by suicide “do so in the context of a serious psychiatric illness, like major depressive disorder.” This letter is a response from Ronald W. Pies, a psychiatrist. More opinion letters follow the initial response, including one by Douglas Jacobs, who is an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School who writes: “We must acknowledge(in people thinking about suicide) the side that wants to die, but ally ourselves with the side that wants to live.” Jacobs goes on to describe how one can connect a suicidal person to living.
Students raise concerns about mental health resources at U of T after suicide – The Star
March 20, 2019
University of Toronto students are protesting for better mental health supports after the loss of a student to suicide. Shervin Shojaei, a third-year political science student said: “The point of the protest was to make U of T take the mental health crisis seriously. It is something that many students like myself, we feel that U of T has been negligent on.” University President Meric Gertler responded, saying: “The number of students presenting at Canadian universities and colleges with serious mental health challenges has doubled in the last five years. Our funding to manage these challenges has not … We are certainly struggling to keep up with what seems to be a growing demand.”
Can Medication for the Treatment of Nightmares Also Reduce Suicidal Ideation in People with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? – American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
March 19, 2019
New research has looked into whether or not sleep problems like nightmares and insomnia are related to suicide ideation in people with post-traumatic stress disorder. The research found that most people with PTSD also have a treatable mood disorder. It was also found that sleep problems were improved with treatment but also with placebo, and researchers wondered if the low levels of suicide ideation experienced in study participants affected the results, as there was not a noticeable difference in those who took a placebo and those who took medication.
‘It doesn’t feel human’: Students angry U of T not acknowledging campus suicides – CBC
March 18, 2019
Students at the University of Toronto are questioning why the suicide death of a fellow student was not acknowledged directly by the university. U of T acknowledged the student’s death, but did not say that it was a suicide. Janine Robb, U of T’s executive director of health and wellness said that the family asked that details be kept private.
‘I Thought About Suicide So Much Today It’s Scaring Me’: Should AI Intervene On Suicidal Texts? – Forbes
March 18, 2019
Mei is an Android messaging app that includes an optional algorithm to “use natural language processing to help users with their relationships.” Mei builds an emotional profile of users and their interactions, and suggest ways of interacting with people. Staff at Mei realized that they had so much information about people’s interactions that they could identify people who had attempted suicide and examine the words and phrases they used prior to their attempts. The company is now suggesting that mental health professionals can help them in identifying and responding to people who may be at risk of suicide.
In America, becoming a doctor can prove fatal – Boston Globe
March 15, 2019
In the US, it is estimated that suicide is the second leading cause of death among medical students. About 300 to 400 doctors die by suicide each year: they have a suicide rate twice that of the general population in the United States. Pamela Wible, who has studied the physician suicide, has asked if this is due to bullying in the workplace. This article goes on to provide anecdotes from physicians who experienced bullying, and notes that bullying can have significantly negative psychological effects.
Bottom Line Conference Resources
March 11 – 12 we were out in Vancouver at CMHA British Columbia’s Bottom Line 2019 Conference, which focused on “Big Challenges, Big Changes.” Conference resources are now available online, including slides from the plenary and workshop presentations.