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:

More than 9 million Americans consider suicide every year. I’m one of them Vox
Mar. 30, 2017
This essay is written by someone who experiences suicidal thoughts. They explain what triggers their thoughts (things like racism) and  why they’ve never acted on them: “my connection with others and my personal experience from loss.”

Suicide rate among defence veterans far higher than for those currently serving – Guardian
Mar. 30, 2017
In Australia, the rate of suicide among currently serving military members is 53% lower than in the general population, but it is 13% higher than normal for veterans. Australia’s National Mental Health Commission says this matter requires further investigation, and that the Australian Defence Force (ADF) needs to offer more support to members post-service. This information comes out of a report released last week, which reviewed suicide and self-harm prevention services available to ADF members and their families.

Top general says no systemic problems at Royal Military College after report on suicide, sexual misconductCBC
Mar. 29, 2017
The Royal Military College conducted a report after multiple instances of (alleged) sexual misconduct and (suspected) suicide. The report found that morale at the school is bad, and points to reasons like crumbling infrastructure and inadequate training for new military and academic staff. “Unfortunately, there is still a stigma attached to those that seek or want to seek assistance as many are concerned about being perceived as being weak or having a problem if they do solicit help,” the report said. Canada’s top military commander, General Vance, said that the report demonstrated no systemic problems at the College. Vance said, “I wanted to make certain there was nothing about the college that would contribute by design in such a way that would bring cadets to a point of despair such that they’d be facing suicidal ideation.”

Suicide risk assessment doesn’t workScientific American
Mar. 28, 2017
A team of researchers from Australia published two meta-analyses: the first looked at 40 years of suicide risk assessment data research and found that 95% of high-risk patients assessed for suicidality will not die by suicide, and actually 50% of suicides happened in patients with a lower suicide risk. “They found no statistical method to identify patients at a high-risk of suicide in a way that would improve treatment.” The second analysis looked at how suicide risk could be predicted, “the four strongest risk factors (previous episodes of self-harm, suicidal intent, physical health problems and male gender) were so common that they are of no help in assessing suicide risk.There was no evidence to support the use of risk assessment scales either.”

The federal budget forgets Indigenous youth suicide preventionHuffPost Blog
Mar. 27, 2017
Budget 2017 was released two weeks ago, and in this blog post Jeffrey Ansloos, a psychologist and assistant professor at UVic, expresses his concerns that the pressing issue of Indigenous youth suicide is not being addressed. He acknowledges that while the budget provides greater access to mental health care, suicide prevention services, and addiction services for Indigenous communities, “the budget falls short, offering no designated indigenous suicide prevention funding or programming investments.”

Why the white middle class is dying faster, explained in 6 chartsVox
Mar. 23, 2017
A 2015 study by researchers at Princeton University found that middle-aged Caucasian Americans are dying younger for the first time in decades, and since the study’s release, researchers have investigated why, releasing their findings in the article Mortality and morbidity in the 21st century. One of their key findings was that “deaths of despair” such as suicide, alcoholism, and drug overdoses were a growing problem for this demographic. The deaths of despair come from a long-standing process of cumulative disadvantage for those with less than a college degree,” researchers Anne Case and Angus Deaton write. “The story is rooted in the labor market, but involves many aspects of life, including health in childhood, marriage, child rearing, and religion.”

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