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:

Calgary Herald Christmas Fund 2018 campaign raises close to $750,000Calgary Herald 
March 15, 2019
We were honoured by the Calgary Herald this year by being one of the twelve non-profit organizations chosen as a recipient of their 2018 Christmas Fund. This year, the fund totaled $746,465 with an additional $15,516 donated by the Calgary Firefighters Charitable Foundation. From this total, the Centre for Suicide Prevention will receive over $60,000! Thank you to the Calgary Herald Christmas Fund and to the Calgary Firefighters Charitable Foundation.

Why more men than women die by suicide BBC Future
March 18, 2019
Men die by suicide three times more often than women in many countries around the world, including the UK, Australia, Canada, Russia, and the US. One reason for men’s higher rates has to do with communication and the way men are socialized starting in childhood. Mara Grunau, executive director at the Centre for Suicide Prevention said, “Mothers talk way more to their girl children than their boy children… and they share and identify feelings more. We almost expect women to be emotional.” One risk factor for men is isolation, as men are also socialized to be successful in their careers, which may come at the cost of their relationships and leave them, “at the top of the pyramid, alone,” says Grunau. But, men are talking about their feelings more and suicide is becoming less stigmatized. “We are seeing momentum we’ve never seen,” says Grunau. “You can actually talk about suicide and people still flinch, but they’re more willing to have the conversation.”

National Recommendations for Depicting SuicideNational Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention
March 2019
The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention in the US has released recommendations for depicting suicide in the media. These recommendations include: “conveying that suicide is complex and often caused by a range of factors, rather than by a single event; showing that help is available; portraying characters with suicidal thoughts who do not go on to die by suicide; portraying everyday characters who can be a lifeline; avoiding showing or describing the details about suicide methods; consulting with suicide prevention messaging experts and people with lived experience; depicting the grieving process of people who lose someone to suicide and; using nonjudgmental language.”

Opinion: How to Fight Suicide – New York Times
March 14, 2019
This opinion article explores some ways that suicide can be prevented, including by reaching out to those who are struggling, and encouraging them to write a “life plan,” which can include what they can do to cope with suicidal thoughts when they arise, and who they can call for help. The article also includes how to talk to someone who has lost a person they love to suicide. Agnes McKeen, who lost her son Harrison, 16, to suicide, encourages people to “say (that person’s) loved one’s name, share a memory. When you ask how the survivor is doing, don’t let her say, ‘It’s not about me.’ Because it is, and about her recovery.”

Junior doctor suicide makes me worry about how I’ll cope in the jobGuardian
March 14, 2019
This article about physician suicide is written from the perspective of a medical student, Stephanie D’Costa, who experienced the loss of a junior doctor when she was in her second work placement. “That was the first time the reality of junior doctor burnout sunk in,” D’Costa says. She notes that as a student, she knows where to find help if she’s struggling with her mental health, because it’s acknowledged as a real issue for those in post secondary. As a junior doctor, however, “mental health isn’t acknowledged in the same way.” D’Costa argues that more should be done to destigmatize mental health and suicide among doctors, and, “To me, junior doctor suicide is a never event – it should be as shocking and distressing to all of us, NHS workers or not. And if we strive to do the utmost for our patients, we should definitely be doing so for our most vulnerable staff.”

Depression and Suicide Rates Are Rising Sharply in Young Americans, New Report Says. This May Be One Reason WhyTIME
March 14, 2019
A new study found that between 2009 and 2017, the rates of depression among youth in the US rose by at least 45% in all age groups (12 – 21). Attempted suicides and “serious psychological distress” also rose, and in some cases, doubled. The findings were based on the US National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which collected data from 600,000 people.“There is an overwhelming amount of data from many different sources, and it all points in the same direction: more mental health issues among American young people,” says Jean Twenge, a study author and professor of psychology at San Diego State University. “We can’t prove for sure what the causes are, but there was one change that impacted the lives of young people more than older people, and that was the growth of smartphones and digital media like social media, texting and gaming.”

Calgary Transit operators talk suicidal woman down from overpassLiveWire Calgary
March 13, 2019
Two Calgary Transit operators intervened with a woman last week who was contemplating suicide on a city overpass. One of the operators actually parked his bus, which had passengers on it at the time, below the overpass, and went up to speak with the woman. Another operator joined him, and when they met the woman another person was speaking with her, too. The two transit operators lifted the woman over the railing of the overpass: “We told her, ‘You know this isn’t worth it. You don’t want to do this. There’s people here that care for you who wouldn’t be out her pulling you back over this railing,’” said Daniel Crawford, one of the transit operators.

U of C present progress on Campus Mental Health StrategyGauntlet
March 13, 2019
The University of Calgary has released an update on their Campus Mental Health Strategy, which seeks to address a lack of mental health resources and to combat substance abuse. The Strategy is also focused on suicide prevention in the university community. Dru Marshall, provost and vice-president academic said: “We have developed resources and a handbook to support postvention response following a student death. We are also collaborating with the Centre for Suicide Prevention to develop a university framework to increase awareness and prevent suicide in our campus community,” 

What the military can teach us about preventing suicideWashington Post
March 13, 2019
This article examines everything the US Military has done to reduce suicide within their ranks, after addressing suicide as an issue year after year. This included identifying the reasons their rates were so high. They found that “the pace of Army life… placed soldiers under more stress than their civilian peers but that soldiers most often took their lives for the same reasons that civilians did: failed relationships; careers imperiled by legal trouble or injury; mounting debts; or unmanageable depression, anxiety or substance abuse.”

Problem gamblers at 15 times higher risk of suicide, study findsGuardian
March 13, 2019
New research out of Sweden has found that people with a gambling problem are at a 15 times higher risk of dying by suicide. The study monitored 2,000 people with gambling disorders over an 11 year period. “To us it’s not a surprising result based on what we see and hear in the clinical setting,” said Anders Hakansson, professor of addiction medicine at Lund University and a psychiatrist in a gambling disorder unit. “The causes [of suicide] are very likely to be multi-factoral but it’s likely that some will contribute more than others… It’s not difficult to argue that gambling contributes very strongly to suicidal thinking, especially when debts are so severe that suicide becomes part of the solution a person thinks about in that kind of crisis, with the feeling of what you have caused to your family members.”

Ask The Salty Waitress: I’m concerned about my regular’s well-being – Takeout
March 11, 2019
In this advice column, one server writes in to ask how to approach regulars who display warning signs of suicide, saying things like, “the world would be better off without me” and “I won’t be around much longer.” The response affirms the importance of listening, “If you didn’t realize it already, you’re doing a lot by listening. Keep doing that. It might be hard when you have a full house, but if it’s slower later in the night, you’re helping the customer by being present and lending a listening ear. You’re not a therapist, though—shit, neither am I—but you can certainly let people know you care. (Again, just make sure you’re not giving so much of yourself that it’s wearing you down.)”

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