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Annual ‘Buddy Up’ campaign aims to get men talking about mental healthCBC
May 18, 2022
Men die by suicide three times more often than women, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The Buddy Up campaign encourages men to reach out to their buddies to find out how they’re really doing and support them if they’re struggling. The campaign is happening throughout June. “Men are expected to really endure pain or hardship without really showing our feelings or complaining,” said Akash Asif, external relations director at Centre for Suicide Prevention. “Men recognize there is an issue and want to be a part of the solution. Although guys may not be willing to ask for help for themselves, they are willing to provide support for buddies and keep their buddies safe.”
Learn more about Buddy Up

Suicidal thoughts among Canadians significantly higher during COVID-19: StatCanGlobal News
May 19, 2022
Researchers with the Public Health Agency of Canada have found an increase in suicidal thoughts among adults during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 2.7% having thoughts in 2019 and 4.2% in 2021. The increase was measured using 2021 survey data. “Sadly, that information is not surprising to us. We’ve been conducting similar research in collaboration with the University of British Columbia, and the data certainly resonates,” said Sarah Kennell, the national director of public policy with  Canadian Mental Health Association – National. “And what we’re seeing is really kind of the impact of the prolonged stress and anxiety associated with a pandemic that’s lasted over two years.” Kennell also points out that an increase in thoughts of suicide will not necessarily lead to an increase in suicides. The study states, “As the pandemic persists, continuous monitoring of suicide-related outcomes and evaluation of the relationship between COVID-19 impacts and suicidality are necessary so that population-level changes can be detected swiftly and inform public health action.”

My son took his own life. This is what it’s like to lose someone you love to veteran suicide
May 19, 2022
Anne Black lost son Greg Black, 36, to suicide on March 13. He was a major in the US Army, and suffered a traumatic brain injury during his time in the military which caused chronic pain and led to severe depression and PTSD. Black talks about her son’s declining mental health following his time in the military: “For somebody having severe PTSD with psychosis, he needed to talk to someone… He wasn’t going to talk to his friends, because in Greg’s eyes, his friends were very successful. He didn’t see the struggles of his soldier friends. He saw it as, ‘Everyone is so successful and moving on with their life (after the military). Why is my brain broken? Why did it happen to me? Why am I being punished?'” She also describes some of her grief journey, “It’s very hard for me to say the word suicide, but we have to say suicide. I’ve tried not to say, ‘Greg passed away,’ because people are going to figure it out. They’re going to know… Now, when someone asks me how my son died, I don’t hesitate or try to be polite. I tell them the truth.”

Suicides indicate wave of ‘doomerism’ over escalating climate crisisGuardian
May 19, 2022
**Graphic method warning** This article discusses suicide in the context of climate change, and was prompted by the public suicide death of a climate activist Wynn Bruce, 50. The heavy emotions related to the reality of climate change are also discussed. Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University, explains, “Climate doomerism can be harmful, because it robs us of agency, the agency we still have in determining our future. I fear that doomism and defeatism leads us down the path of inaction, or worse. It would be much better for folks to channel those emotions toward the common goal of speaking truth to power and holding our policymakers accountable for addressing the mounting climate crisis.”

After suicide attempt, dad finds new meaning as bone marrow donor to son with cancer TODAY
May 18, 2020
Geovani Gálvez, 29, struggled with thoughts of suicide during the COVID-19 pandemic and is sharing his recovery journey. Gálvez was going through a divorce and experiencing stress at his job in health care. “I really hit a low from all that, and that’s where I started having those suicidal thoughts. I felt like I didn’t have a purpose,” said Gálvez. “I felt like there wasn’t an end to the problems. With the pain that you’re going through on the inside, you just want it to end.” Gálvez found a sense of purpose again in life when he found out that is son, Levi, 6, would need stem cell therapy to treat his rare cancer. He donated bone marrow to his son and says, “If I wouldn’t have been alive, this whole stem cell transplant wouldn’t be happening. We wouldn’t have stood a chance if I would have been gone.” Gálvez says his recovery was also aided by a chaplain and counsellors who helped him navigate his emotional state: “I felt a big relief, like a big weight off my shoulders because I knew I couldn’t deal with this alone, and I knew that I needed to talk to somebody. I was always used to being the one that helps others and being helped myself (was tough).”  

Parents of Saskatchewan suicide victims feel offers to help are being ignoredGlobal
May 18, 2022
Families in Saskatchewan who have lost loved ones to suicide are not satisfied with the provincial government’s efforts to prevent suicide, despite the province having its own suicide prevention plan. They were invited by NDP mental health critic Doyle Vermette, who called upon the government to create a bipartisan committee to examine the issue and consult people with lived experience. “Let’s make sure there’s not barriers and hurdles for families, let’s make sure we’re hearing what the experts are saying,” Vermette said. “Let’s listen to families, let’s listen to leaders, and front-line workers who can give good suggestions. Let’s look at other jurisdictions and make some recommendations.” When the Saskatchewan Strategy for Suicide Prevention Act was passed in April of 2021, the bill required the government to consult with non-governmental organizations and entities. Marilyn Irwin, who lost son MacRae May to suicide in 2018, said she reached out to provide insight to the government, and she received a response to say that her information had been provided to the appropriate branch for consideration. Irwin says, “I wanted some sort of response, even if was just to say they’d already spoken to someone. Instead I received no response. It’s not so much that I feel left out. As a parent I feel like the issue is being brushed aside or that it’s not important.”

Better screening of gun owners could save lives lost to suicide, study shows Today
May 17, 2022
A new study shows that the patterns of suicidal behaviours demonstrated by gun owners are different than those of non-gun owners. Gun owners were less likely report experiencing suicidal ideation, and the research indicated that gun owners think about suicide differently, suggesting the need for a different set of suicide screening questions for this group. “We’ve learned that gun owners and non-gun owners are very different when it comes to the types of suicidal thoughts they say they’ve had,” said study co-author Craig Bryan. “The key difference being that gun owners were much, much less likely to say that they were experiencing thoughts about wanting to die.”

Losing a parent to suicide brings debilitating grief. Writing about it gave me room to feelGuardian
May 16, 2022
In this article Isobel Beech describes her grief journey after losing a parent to suicide. Beech explains, “There was a week or two of numbness. I suppose it was shock. And then I began pretending everything was fine. I pretended I was hungry, pretended I wanted to see people. I even pretended I was processing the loss.” It wasn’t until over a year later, when she began writing her book, Sunbathing, that she started to process the loss. Beech says, “Grief, in the end, after the numbness and pretending, wasn’t just painful and painfully lonely. It took the comfort out of the everyday, so that I was required to search for it. There was a time, a year into it, where I began… waking up to the incessant beauty of life on earth, because losing a person had reminded me: this is not for everyone. And it is not for long.”

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