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:

Oilpatch workers susceptible due to nature of job Red Deer Advocate
May 25, 2017
Men as a group tend to be more at-risk of suicide than women, and especially men working in hyper-masculine workplaces such as the oilpatch. Robert Olson from the Centre for Suicide Prevention says of the male population, “We’re stoic and self-sufficient, and unfortunately all these different factors coming at an individual may have compiled, and when one more event is piled on … you’ve just had enough.” The Alberta oilpatch is a place where many people come to work from outside the province, meaning that they may not have the social supports and stability they need when they’re struggling with their mental health.

There’s a higher suicide risk in cancer patients, especially lung cancer – Global
May 25, 2017
Weill Cornell Medical College has released a study finding that cancer patients have a higher risk of suicide than the general population, and especially those with lung cancer. Their risk was 4 times that of the general population or 420% elevated risk, while cancer patients in general had a 60% higher risk of suicide.

Oilpatch downturn takes tragic toll on lives of those affectedRed Deer Advocate 
May 24, 2017
Corey Stevens is an oilpatch consultant living in Red Deer, Alberta. Ever since the economic downturn he’s been struggling to make ends meet, and so have many others he knows. Stevens lost 5 friends to suicide, all who worked in the oil industry, in just 4 months. “I’ve just found there’s no outreach for men to go to … There’s always a place for women and children and that’s understandable, that should be first. But it’s sad seeing these men that provide for their families their whole lives and then they end up losing everything,” says Stevens.

Child advocate tells government to listen to at-risk children after heart-rending teen suicideCBC
May 24, 2017
Del Graff, Alberta’s child and youth advocate, released a report on Levi (a pseudonym), 15, who died by suicide while in the care of child intervention services. Levi was a First Nations teen who died two years ago, after being involved with Children Service’s for 13 years of his life. In his report, Graff recommends involving children in decision-making and developing a way to identify those who may be homeless.”We see it far too frequently where the planning is focused primarily on the parents’ behavioural change and not adequately on care for the child or the child’s experience, in terms of trauma and difficulty and the turmoil that comes from that,” said Graff.

PEI to create suicide prevention plan CBC
May 23, 2017
The government of PEI is working with the Canadian Mental Health Association PEI to develop a suicide prevention plan. The plan has been allocated $55,000, and a report will be released next year after key stakeholder consultation. The strategy is going to include prevention goals, priority areas for reducing suicide risk, recommendation for coordination of existing services, and key measurement indicators.”We’ve got to engage the community. One of the things we’re concerned about is that there are many folks that struggle that don’t reach out for help. We’ve got to do some community engagement and get a gauge on those perspectives,” said Reid Burke, executive director of CMHA PEI.

Indigenous support workers to get suicide-prevention trainingWinnipeg Free Press
May 23, 2017
Thanks to funding from Bell Let’s Talk and Unifor (a union representing Bell workers), Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre will train around 2,000 people in the suicide awareness workshop safeTALK. Ma Mawi is a community service organization located in Winnipeg, and they’re teaming up with Canadian Mental Health Association Manitoba and Winnipeg to offer the training.

Federal inmate dies by suicide after 118 days in solitary confinementCBC
May 23, 2017
Guy Langlois, 38, died by suicide in his prison cell after being in solitary confinement for over 100 days. Langlois was in solitary by his own request, because he feared for his own life. He struggled with mental illness throughout his life, and was spending 18 years in prison for a second degree murder that he was convicted of when he was 20. Langlois had been moved to nine different prisons and was set to be sent to a tenth just before he died, which was across the country and far from family, where he would be unable to speak French, his native language. Correctional investigator Ivan Zinger said that unfortunately, Langlois’ story is common: “Here we have, again, a case of somebody who has a long-documented history of psychological distress and mental health issues staying in segregation for almost four months, and (dying by suicide) in segregation on the day that he was to be transferred across the country — far, far away from his family and his community and his support network.” Zinger adds that no one with mental health issues should be in prison. To learn more about suicide in prison, check out our article on the subject.

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