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:

Can a federal bill on suicide prevention save lives in Canada? CBC 
May 22, 2018
Last week, NDP MP Charlie Angus launched a campaign of support for his motion calling for a National Suicide Prevention Action Plan. Mara Grunau and Robert Olson from the Centre for Suicide Prevention were interviewed by a number of CBC outlets regarding the importance of this motion and the efficacy of suicide prevention plans. “We would like to see a coordinated approach because that will help to close the gaps and it’s more efficient because we’ll have an opportunity to leverage each other’s work,” said CSP Executive Director Mara Grunau.
Find out more about suicide prevention plans with our article on the subject
Related – NDP launches campaign for national suicide prevention planCBC

Mobile mental health crisis teams sent to northern Alberta after teen suicides Edmonton Journal
May 28, 2018
After two teen suicide deaths and two attempts in First Nations communities in Cadotte Lake and Little Buffalo, Alberta, the province is sending crisis mental health teams to intervene. Mental health teams were asked by the Cadotte Lake community to talk to students in Cadotte Lake School, where the suicide of one of their students “had a deep impact,” according to principal Eldon Okanee. Okanee explains that all deaths in the community, whether by suicide or otherwise, have an impact. “It’s been a difficult year for our school and the community and you see it in our students and our staff. Everybody is related up here,” he said. “There are a lot of people walking around here going through grief and mourning.”

‘He had a very sad heart’: This memorial day, remembering overlooked heroes NPR
May 26, 2018
This article, written for Memorial Day in the US, acknowledges the role suicide plays in military life, and discusses the stigma associated with soldiers who have died by suicide, apparent in their being overlooked by many memorial ceremonies.

Province to build youth mental health centre in CalgaryCBC
May 25, 2018
Alberta Health Services and the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation announced last week that there will be a new centre dedicated to youth mental health built in Calgary, Alberta, expected to open in approximately 2021. Walk-in services will be offered, as well as intensive outpatient therapy and a day hospital program. “Mental health is such a significant issue for young people and we all need to play our part and work together to reduce suffering for kids and families,” said Saifa Koonar, president and CEO of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation, in a news release.

How a public suicide harms the people who see itAtlantic
May 25, 2018
Seeing a public suicide death can be traumatic, and Ashley Tate Hatton studied these effects for her PhD project at the California School of Professional Psychology. All but one of Hatton’s ten subjects said they found the experience traumatic: nine said they had recurring visions of the incident, three had physical reactions when reminded of it, and eight said the event had a significant impact on their lives.

First step in preventing teen suicide is spotting teen depression: expertMontreal Gazette
May 25, 2018
Johanne Renaud, medical director of child psychiatry at the Douglas Institute, spoke at a conference last Friday in Montreal about the findings of a paper she co-authored, released last month. Findings note that while awareness of suicide as an issue among young people is increasing, it is still the second leading cause of death for teens in Quebec, following car collisions. Renaud talked about the importance of distinguishing between normal teen behaviour and depressed-teen behaviour. She also encouraged various forms of treatment for teen depression: “When you have regular activities, it’s very good, not only for your heart, but also for your brain… We need to emphasize this. It used to be they would just prescribe psychotherapy and medication, but you also need behavioural activities, like sports and proper diets.”

FSIN releases suicide prevention planGlobal
May 24, 2018
Saskatchewan’s Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) released a suicide prevention strategy last Thursday. The strategy was developed in response to the high suicide rates of some Indigenous people in Saskatchewan, where rates are four times higher than that of the general population. For males between 20-29, the rate is 10 times higher, while Indigenous girls ages 10-19 die 30 times more often. The strategy highlights community-based prevention and suggests programs rooted in traditional activities be developed with the involvement of Elders. Other action items include heavy investment in early childhood development, resiliency, and parental support, along with better mental health care services, screening, and follow-up.

Is help finally at hand for suicide crisis on America’s farms?Guardian
May 23, 2018
People who work in the agricultural industry die by suicide at a rate higher than any other profession in the US. Washington state recently signed into law a farmer suicide prevention bill. Now, two bills are being introduced to the US House and Senate aimed at addressing farmer suicide, the Stress Act and the Farmers First Act, which, if passed, will be included into the 2018 federal farm bill. These bills would include reauthorization of a program that provides grants to create crisis lines and provide counselling for farmers.

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