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:

Suicides, drug addiction and high school footballNew York Times
March 11, 2018
This article chronicles the many suicides in a small town, Madison, in Indiana. The county that the town is located in had a suicide rate of 41.8 per 100,000 which is more than three times the national average.  Child neglect, abuse, and drug addiction are all common issues, as are suicide and depression. Rodney Nay, the Jefferson County coroner, said: “To help someone through a hard time just takes one person listening and providing hope. So that’s what we’re trying to do.” The high school football coach, Patric Morrison, is another advocate for talking and listening as a way to help. “I was scared people would treat me differently because of my family circumstances, but coach Morrison, he wouldn’t let that happen,” said Curry Morgan, a former player of Morrison’s. “Sports is the reason I’m resilient. It’s the reason I’m where I am and not selling drugs right now.”

Raptors’ DeMar DeRozan amazed by support over his depressionCBC
March 8, 2018
Toronto Raptor’s player DeMar DeRozan tweeted on February 17 that “This depression get the best of me.” The tweet led to him talking about his mental health issues publicly, and since then he’s received an outpouring of support.

‘He was happy. So far as I know.’Washington Post
March 7, 2018
Rylan Thai Hagan, 11, died by suicide just before American Thanksgiving in 2017. He was the youngest person to take his own life in Northeast Washington since 2013. Hagan was academically, athletically, and musically talented. His mother Nataya Chambers said, “He was the perfect son, very smart. He was happy. So far as I know of.” Hagan grew up in a turbulent household, living for a time in a women’s shelter with his mother. The suicide rate of black children is up 71% in the last decade, rising from 86 in 2006 to 147 in 2016, while the rate for all children rose too, by 64%.
You can learn more about children and suicide in our toolkit on the subject. 

Preventing child suicide is complex, but experts say do not avoid the subject Washington Post
March 7, 2018
This article talks about some warning signs for suicide to be aware of in children. These signs are different for each individual child, but knowing the risk factors (trauma, abuse, chronic pain, mental illness, and family history) can help identify children who have a higher risk than others. Warning signs include a significant change of behaviour of any kind. Experts say if you’re worried that a child may be considering suicide, ask them. Talk to them about it directly. Then connect them to mental health supports. They also emphasize the importance of early intervention, before the point of crisis.

Everyone is going through somethingPlayer’s Tribune
March 6, 2018
In this piece by Cleveland Cavaliers player Kevin Love, Love talks about his struggles with anxiety throughout his career. He discusses his reluctance to talk about his mental health issues due to the societal expectations of masculinity discouraging any show of vulnerability. Love credits Toronto Raptor’s player DeMar DeRozan’s recent sharing about his depression as being part of his inspiration to share his own story.

Civilian workplaces can learn from how the army approaches mental illnessHuffPost
March 6, 2018
The Canadian Armed Forces’ Road to Mental Readiness program is featured in this article, and praised for its view of mental health as being on a fluid spectrum, instead of simply distinguishing between “mentally ill” and “normal.” The program also empowers the individual by encouraging the use of self-care, coping skills, and good general mental health practices.

Suicide death renews concerns about student mental healthCTV
March 6, 2018
The recent suicide death of a University of Waterloo student follows two other student deaths in 2017, and is renewing calls for better access to mental health services on campus. University president Feridun Hamdullahpur created a task force on mental health after a petition made by students in 2017, and within the next few weeks will release recommendations to the school. “We’re going to make those recommendations public and talk to students about how we might implement those to make changes that will really make an impact on students’ lives,” said Nick Manning, the university’s associate vice-president of communications.

Three-digit national suicide hotline moves a step closerCNN
March 5, 2018
A new bill has been put forward to the US Senate that proposes a three-digit number to make the national suicide hotline number more intuitive and easy-to-remember. “I believe that by making the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline system more user-friendly and accessible, we can save thousands of lives by helping people find the help they need when they need it most,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch who introduced the bill.

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