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 federal money for mental health and home careAlberta Government
Mar. 10, 2017
The Alberta Government has signed a 10-year deal with the federal government that will result in $1.3 billion for home care and mental health needs in Alberta. $586 million will go towards mental health initiatives.

‘Our complacency will be paid in full with children’s lives,’ warns Indigenous health care advocateCBC
Mar. 10, 2017
Dr. Michael Kirlew, who lives in Sioux Lookout, Ontario, is telling the government to “insist on equity” for Indigenous children. Dr. Kirlew is responding to the suicide deaths of two young girls in Wapekeka First Nation, close to Sioux Lookout. “We don’t have those quality of care measures in the federal system as you do in the provincial system. So not only do you need equitable funding — and we’re not getting that — you also need a system transformation,” said Kirlew.

Deaths and causes of death, 2013Statistics Canada
Mar. 9, 2017
Statistics Canada has released the 2013 deaths and causes of deaths statistics, and suicide remains the 9th leading cause of death in Canada. In 2013, more than 4,000 Canadians died by suicide.

‘It’s a total tragedy’: Ottawa inamte who committed suicide was on waiting list for pscyh reviewOttawa Citizen 
Mar. 9, 2017
30 year old Cleve Geddes died by suicide last month, after attempting suicide in the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre, and passing away two days later in the Ottawa Hospital. This is the third suicide the Detention Centre has experienced in just 10 months. Geddes was on the waiting list to receive a psychiatric assessment at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre.

Northern Saskatchewan once again struggling with youth suicideGlobal 
Mar. 9, 2017
Northern Saskatchewan communities continue to experience youth suicides, First Nations and Metis relations critic Buckley Belanger, who represents the area, has said that addiction is a factor, as well as lack of access to mental health supports. “Many times (getting mental health and addictions supports) means moving away from your community. Many of the grandparents live on fixed incomes. How can they afford to send their child to Saskatoon or Prince Albert?” Belanger said.

‘Daughters of the vote’ take seats in House of CommonsCBC
Mar. 8, 2017
In honour of International Women’s Day, the House of Commons invited 338 young women (one from every federal riding) to take part in Daughters of the Vote, a program Equal Voice created to help promote women’s participation in politics. 30 of the 338 women were called upon in the House of Commons to make a one-minute speech on an issue important to them. Nunavut’s Trina Qaqqaq spoke about the Indigenous suicide crisis: “Suicide is no stranger to myself and those in my territory. We all know it way too well… We need support and allies to assist us, to work with us, and more importantly, to listen to us”

Calgary group Strong Daughters helps young women deal with griefCBC
Mar. 8, 2017
Kristin Christensen lost her mother to cancer when she was just 21. Christensen found the grief so overwhelming, and was unable to find support groups specifically focused to younger adults. She’s now created her own support group, Strong Daughters, that is open to women 18-33 who have experienced the loss of a parent. “It is different when you lose your parent in your 50s or your 60s,” she said. “The loss is still there, but it is different.”

Can Facebook’s machine-learning algorithms accurately predict suicide?Scientific American
Mar. 8, 2017
Recent suicides taking place on Facebook’s live-streaming broadcast feature Facebook Live have prompted the company to create a new flagging feature for viewers of concerning live videos; this is in addition to other suicide prevention resources that Facebook has already implemented. The company is also planning to implement algorithms to identify people at risk, and provide them with resources for support. The algorithms will rely on two things: words and phrases related to suicide or self-harm and comments by friends. If Facebook’s algorithm finds that a person could be at-risk, the “report post” button will appear more prominently in an attempt to encourage users to click it.

Report makes economic, political case for dedicated mental health fundingCTV
Mar. 7, 2017
The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) has released a new report calling for more funding for mental health. The report found that “more than 7.5 million Canadians face mental health issues, with a price tag of $50 billion a year – nearly $1,400 a person.”

Mental health strategy in Saskatoon protects public and policeCBC
Mar. 6, 2017
The Saskatoon Police Service has implemented a mental health strategy that will bring together a complement of existing and new efforts by police to help officers and civilians. The police will collaborate with agencies to help assist those in the community in need of mental health help, and will also mandate psychological testing for police.

BC firefighter responded to an accident and never recovered; his suicide has been ruled death in the line of dutyNational Post
Mar. 6, 2017
The BC Workers Compensation Board has ruled the suicide of a Surrey firefighter, Ernie Dombrowski, 44, as a death in the line of duty, which could help other first responders who suffer from psychological injuries. “A psychological injury is no different than a physical injury like breaking your leg in a fire,” said Surrey Acting Fire Captain Dan Kehler, Ernie Dombrowski’s friend and colleague. “It doesn’t matter who you are, anyone can suffer this kind of trauma.” This recognition also means that Dombrowski will be honoured on a BC firefighters memorial, and that his widow and son will receive funding for living expenses and schooling.

Subscribe to this weekly mailing list