Hello Friends,

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:

Study: Homeless vets five times more likely to commit suicideYale News
April 2, 2018
A newly published study from Yale and the US Department of Veterans Affairs has found that veterans with a history of homelessness are five times more likely to die by suicide than other veterans. Findings emphasized the importance of funding for veteran’s homeless programs to reduce the rates of suicide. “The VA’s homeless programs are unique in that staff do community outreach to veterans living in shelters or on the street and try to bring them into the system where they can receive the care they need,” said Jack Tsai, associate professor of psychiatry at Yale.

Using chosen names reduces odds of depression and suicide in transgender youthsScience Daily
March 30, 2018
The largest study of transgender youth to date in the US has found that using a chosen name reduces the risk that a transgender young person will die by suicide. It was found that transgender youth who used a chosen name at home, school, work, and with friends experience 71% fewer symptoms of severe depression and a 34% decrease in reported thoughts of suicide. “Many kids who are transgender have chosen a name that is different than the one that they were given at birth,” said author Stephen T. Russell, University of Texas. “We showed that the more contexts or settings where they were able to use their preferred name, the stronger their mental health was.”

Show teens a path out of suicidal darknessLos Angeles Times
March 28, 2018
Teen suicide rates in the US are increasing, and the American Academy of Pediatrics has just updated guidelines that call for universal depression screening for anyone over the age of 12. This article emphasizes the importance of not just this one step but a multi-disciplinary approach to suicide prevention which includes learning the warning signs of suicide.

Despite spending millions on prevention, feds don’t keep track of suicide epidemic of Indigenous peopleAPTN
March 27, 2018
Some Indigenous communities have suicide rates three times higher than those of the general population, but most governments (at any level) do not collect data on Indigenous suicides specifically. “I’m disappointed that we’re still not at a place were we’re keeping track of the number of attempts and deaths by suicide,” said Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada.

Data reveals close to 600 suicides in northern Ontario since the mid-1980sAPTN
March 27, 2018
APTN Investigates is looking at the data collection methods around suicide and ethnicity. The federal government and many provinces do not specifically include ethnicity in suicide data. “I feel it is unconscionable for a nation like Canada that we don’t have the information the staggering death levels of young people to suicide,” said NDP MP Charlie Angus, who is pushing for a national action plan for suicide prevention. “In the case of Canada, the lives of Indigenous young people somehow don’t seem to be that much of a priority, and so nobody seems to think these horrific death rates are a cause for action.”

How AI is helping to predict and prevent suicidesThe Conversation
March 27, 2018
This article, written by a researcher from the Canadian Biomarker Integration Network for Depression, discusses the possibility of preventing suicide using artificial intelligence. The Public Health Agency of Canada and Advanced Symbolics, a Canadian AI company, are piloting an AI project to research and predict regional suicide rates by examining patterns in social media posts. This researcher emphasizes that evaluation and management of suicide risk is highly subjective, and that objective AI strategies could help explore the relationship between psychosocial, biological, environmental, economic and cultural factors and predicting suicide risk.

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