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:
The accuracy and reliability of suicide statistics: Why it matters. – Centre for Suicide Prevention
May 27, 2021
Suicide reporting is complicated. Suicide deaths can be difficult to determine and, as a result of this along with persistent stigma, suicide is often underreported. But there are practices we can adopt that would result in more accurate reporting which could guide more effective suicide prevention efforts. Our latest editorial article explores why there are inaccuracies and general underreporting in the tallying of suicide deaths, why accurate statistics are crucial, and what practices can do a more accurate job of recording these deaths. Short on time? Check out the condensed blog version of this article.
Sum 41’s Deryck Whibley and Wife Ari on How They Found Healing After Her 2013 Suicide Attempt – People
May 28, 2021
Deryck Whibley and wife Ari Cooper are opening up about Cooper’s suicide attempt 6 years ago. She said she had been struggling with her mental health and after a day of drinking, “I finally had let the feelings really consume me to where [dying] really did feel like the only option,” says Cooper. A friend showed up at around the same time Cooper was going to end her life. Initially, Whibley and Cooper didn’t discuss the attempt, but, Whibley says, “I just couldn’t stop thinking about it to a point where if I was working and I didn’t know where she had gone, I’d get nervous and run through the whole house, making sure she was okay.” Whibley wrote the song, “Catching Fire,” about his experience of the suicide attempt, and since then, Whibley and Cooper have openly discussed her attempt and both have become sober and Cooper has started seeing a counsellor. She says, “…Because of therapy, I was able to start opening up more to myself and to Deryck. And so he got more comfortable asking deeper questions and more meaningful questions to where now there’s not really anything that him and I hold back from each other. We talk about it in the same way you would talk about an injury. It’s a normal thing that we deal with day to day.”
New Study Shows Posts To Reddit Suicide Support Forum Peak On Mondays – Forbes
May 26, 2021
A new research study has found that, based on the analysis of 90,518 posts to Reddit’s moderated SuicideWatch forum, many people with thoughts of suicide experience an intensification of those thoughts between 2 – 5 am on Monday morning. Dr. Rina Dutta, the study’s primary investigator, said that, “Monday has often been identified as the day of the week which has the highest risk of someone taking their own life. From the data that we’ve studied, we can see a clear trend over weekly cycles that closely follows the suicide timing patterns reported in some earlier studies.”
The Vessel in New York is reopening, focusing on suicide prevention after three young adults took their own lives there – CNN
May 26, 2021
**Content warning: Suicide method** The Vessel, a 150-foot-tall staircase and New York City tourist attraction, is reopening after being closed to visitors since January following a suicide death of a man who was 21 years old. The man was the third person to die by suicide at the structure. New safety measures have been put in place, including more staff and security, the installation of National Suicide Prevention Lifeline signage and messaging at the entrance and on tickets to the attraction.
Young adults with schizophrenia have highest suicide risk – Columbia University Department of Psychiatry
May 26, 2021
A new study by Columbia University found that people with schizophrenia die by suicide 4.5 times more often than those who do not. It also found that people with schizophrenia between ages 18 to 34 are more likely to die by suicide than older people in that group and those who are 65+ have the lowest risk of death by suicide. This is the reverse of what is seen in the general population, where older adults are more likely to die by suicide than younger people. “When a person with schizophrenia is becoming suicidal, an attempt can happen with little warning,” said Mark Olfson, Elizabeth K. Dollard professor of psychiatry at Columbia and co-author of the study. “Often, suicidal behavior in schizophrenia is driven by psychotic processes. This aspect can make it difficult to anticipate and prevent.” Researchers suggest that therapists and physicians of people with schizophrenia should be vigilant in looking out for warning signs in this group. They also suggest making antipsychotic drugs more easily accessible, treating co-occuring substance use disorders, and making early psychosis detection programs more widely available. In addition, suicide risk screening be provided to those with schizophrenia as well as cognitive behavioural therapy to counter hallucinations and reduce suicidal thoughts.
Deaths by suicide declined at the height of the pandemic. Researchers have some ideas why. – USA Today
May 25, 2021
In the US, suicide fell 9% during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite fears that suicide may increase due to higher reported levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. Researchers, including Thomas Joiner, suicidologist and professor of psychology at Florida State University, believe this decrease can be attributed to the expanded availability of mental health services via telehealth and increased awareness of employers on employee mental health. April Foreman, a clinician and board member at the American Association of Suicidology also suggests that perhaps some of the people who died from COVID-19 would have died by suicide if COVID-19 hadn’t taken their lives. The age range and risk factors are the same, says Foreman. People who are 45+ and have higher rates of health problems and poverty have a higher risk of dying by suicide and also COVID-19. Foreman also says that often, people die by suicide in isolation, away from their families: “Suicide is one of those things that very rarely happens in front of other people, it happens when you’re alone,” she said. “While a lot of people were alone during COVID-19, a lot of people were locked down with their families.” Dr. Jeremy Samuel Faust, an emergency physician in the Division of Health Policy and Public Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital hypothesized that people may have been less likely to die by suicide during the pandemic because “People had a sense of shared purpose. They were home in March and April because we were making a collective sacrifice so we could help each other. So people felt we were part of something.”