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:

Run for Life 2021 – Centre for Suicide Prevention
April 6, 2021
Centre for Suicide Prevention is hosting the 4th annual Run for Life! Participate by doing any physical activity, anywhere, anytime from Sept. 19 – 26, 2021.  Run for Life will be a virtual event this year. Anyone who has lived experience with suicide or who is passionate about suicide prevention is welcome to join us for a journey from darkness into light: to remember a loved one and raise awareness for suicide prevention.

How To Reach Out When Someone You Know May Be At Risk Of SuicideNPR
April 5, 2021
This NPR radio interview (14 min.) discusses how to help someone you know who may be thinking about suicide, which starts with being alert to warning signs, then connecting those you’re worried about to help.

The Growing Case For Banning Pesticides Linked To SuicidesForbes
April 4, 2021
In southern Asia, it’s estimated that 150,000 people die by suicide each year using pesticides. This article explores the efficacy of banning pesticides as a means of suicide prevention in countries where lethal pesticides are easy to access. *This article states that ‘most suicides are impulsive’, however, most suicides are not impulsive –  people have often been thinking about suicide for a long time before they attempt.

Building suicide prevention supports in Denı́nu Kų́ę́ N.W.T.APTN News
April 3, 2021
Denı́nu Kų́ę́ is a tight-knit Dene and Metis community of 500 people in the Northwest Territories, where ‘everyone… has lost someone to suicide.’ “There’s a lot of concerns, a lot of people talking about suicide in our community. There is a lot of alcohol and drugs in Fort Res. I have lost some friends to suicide,” said Eva Villeneuve, one of a dozen Elders working to build supports around suicide prevention. Over the past few months the community has been focusing on empowering community members through holistic training. “The one thing we were asked to do… was to identify the healing components the elders themselves need to work through. What we can do to build a momentum to start the healing processes to carry that on for ourselves,” said Ruby Prince, suicide awareness workshop facilitator and developer.

Police uncover teenage girl ‘suicide’ Instagram groupBBC
April 3, 2021
An investigation by police in England revealed an Instagram chat group made up of 12 adolescent girls that encouraged self-harm. Police first heard about the group after three girls in the chat were reported missing and had travelled by train to meet in London.

Syrian refugee family files lawsuit against CBE over daughter’s suicideCBC
April 2, 2021
The family of Amal Alshteiwi, 9, who died by suicide in 2019, is suing the Calgary Board of Education for $457K in damages and costs and alleging that nothing was done to stop the bullying that they believe contributed to Alshteiwi’s suicide.

What We Know About Suicide During the Pandemic (and What We Don’t) Education Week
March 31, 2021
This article explores what schools can do to help prevent suicide during the pandemic. Author Marisa Marraccini, assistant professor of school psychology at the University of North Carolina says, while “We don’t yet understand the effects of remote learning on student mental health… It is not a foregone conclusion that remote learning will have overall negative effects.” Even though during the pandemic suicide risk factors may be elevated, e.g. social isolation and barriers to accessing services, emerging data indicates that there has not yet been an increase in suicides in many countries. In her research on school suicide prevention during the pandemic, Marraccini has identified some of the following strategies: prioritizing connection between students, integrating social and emotional learning, using multiple ways to reach out to students, offering counselling services, providing suicide prevention information and resources, checking in with families, encouraging teachers to practice self-care and connect with colleagues, and establishing clear protocols for student referrals.

Burdened by debt and unable to eke out a living, many farmers in India turn to suicideCBC
March 30, 2021
Farmers in India have faced financial hardship and uncertainty for many years, and people in the Indian farming community say that this causes stress that contributes to some farmers wanting to take their own lives. “(Suicide has) become a social phenomenon,” said Vikas Rawal, an economics professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University. “(Farming is) a loss-making enterprise, but these farmers don’t have anything else to do, so they just keep doing it.” Many farmers in India can’t cover the costs of fertilizer, seeds, and pesticide. Further to this, the government has introduced new farm laws, prompting months of protests. Rawal says, “Having fought for so long to survive … [they] just don’t see this government giving a damn about it.”

Suicide deaths have declined during the pandemic, but experts warn the toll might be yet to comeNational Post
March 29, 2021
Preliminary data, which may take up to two years to finalize, suggests a decrease in suicide rates in Canada during the pandemic, however, surveys are showing an increase in stress and mental health issues.  “We often think about suicide rates as being tied to general distress, but suicide has many factors, it is very complicated. We know in times of war suicide rates actually tend to go down. In times of economic recession and depression, suicide rates tend to go up,” said Dr. David Gratzer, attending psychiatrist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Susan Bondy, at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at University of Toronto says that an increase in suicides may be delayed, as a natural disaster or crisis “can have a rebound or delayed effect.”

What has been the effect of covid-19 on suicide rates?BMJ
March 29, 2021
This article explores whether or not the COVID-19 pandemic will correspond with higher suicide rates. In England, a new data collection method was set up to make ‘real time surveillance’ of suicide deaths possible, recording them as they happened to ensure national statistics would be accurate and up-to-date. Louis Appleby, professor of psychiatry and author of this article asks, “How do we square the evidence on suicide with what surveys and calls to charities are telling us, that the pandemic has made our mental health worse? How can both be true?” Appeleby suggests that, “Perhaps as well as risks, there have been protections. We may have been more careful in lockdown to stay in touch, more alert to warning signs. In the face of a crisis, there may have been a greater sense of community, of getting through it together. Perhaps a belief too that it would soon be over, so that the distress that many felt did not become that most dangerous of moods, despair.”

He said he was going to watch cartoons. Instead, he opened his dad’s gun safe.Washington Post
March 29, 2021
*Method warning* Some children in the US have relatively easy access to firearms. This article tells the story of Tyler Paxton, 11, who had easy access to loaded firearms in his home and died by suicide. “There’s this mythical idea that you can teach kids not to want to handle a gun… you can’t train or educate curiosity out of a little kid, and teenagers are impulsive,” said Denise Dowd, a physicians and researcher who has treated more than 500 pediatric gunshot victims. “You have to separate the guns from the kids: the thing that does harm from the thing that’s harmed.”

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