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:

Mother speaks out against suicide forum after son’s deathBBC
May 8, 2021
Luke O’Hara died by suicide in February, and his mother, Julia McKeever, is now speaking out against online forum’s where people can seek out information about suicide. “I never imagined websites like that existed. I thought things like that would be on a black web but it was accessible as a normal website,” she said. McKeever found that O’Hara had posted 9 times on one forum, and though a few people reached out to ask how he was doing, no one tried to talk him out of dying. “Some of the messages were from people asking Luke how he was feeling and if they could help him, but no-one ever really talked you out of it. They were nearly encouraging each other saying: ‘We’re sorry this is how far you’ve come but we wish you luck on your journey,'” said McKeever.

Suicide Risk Prediction Tools Fail People of ColorWebMD
May 7, 2021
A new study has found that often commonly used suicide risk assessment models fall short in their prediction of suicidal behaviour in BIPOC populations. “You don’t know whether a prediction model will be useful or harmful until it’s evaluated. The take-home message of our study is this: You have to look,” said lead author Yates Coley, PhD, assistant investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. “In our specific example of suicide prediction, BIPOC populations already face substantial barriers in accessing quality mental health care and, as a result, have poorer outcomes, and using either of the suicide prediction models examined in our study will provide less benefit to already underserved populations and widen existing care gaps. We must insist that new technologies and methods be used to reduce racial and ethnic inequities in care, not exacerbate them.”

‘Pushed off a proverbial edge’: Former B.C. Mountie opens up about suicide attemptCTV News
May 6, 2021
Alice Fox, who was an RCMP officer for more than 10 years, opens up about her experience with PTSD and suicidal behaviour. She describes the moment when she believes her PTSD “took hold” from her, a day when she was doing a routine traffic stop and a driver of a pulled over car pulled out a gun: “I realized that could have been my last day,” Fox says. She encourages others with PTSD to seek help as soon as they can, “You have a choice, you can be locked into post traumatic stress disorder, or you can focus on post traumatic growth.”

Ottawa hospital researchers find higher rates of suicide among Ontario ICU survivorsGlobal News
May 5, 2021
Researchers from the Ottawa Hospital have found that patients discharged from the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) have a higher risk of suicidal behaviour than those discharged from acute care. They also found that younger patients who have a history of mental illness could be at an especially high risk of suicide attempts following ICU stays that are traumatic. Dr. Shannon Fernando, lead author of the paper said, “It used to be, the things we’d celebrate was a patient leaving the intensive care unit and ultimately leaving the hospital. That used to be considered, in ICU care, a big win. What I struggle with the most with this post-ICU research is, knowing that these patients suffered in this way and we weren’t really considering it.”

Calgary restaurant owner reeling from suicide of staff memberGlobal News
May 4, 2021
Skyler Wallinder, 24, died by suicide last month. He was a chef at Calgary’s Wine Bar in Kensington, and owner Cam Dobranski said, “Skyler was an awesome kid. He always had a smile on his face. He was very positive, and I enjoyed working with him. It’s just shattering. I am still reeling from it because I haven’t had time to slow down and really process everything.” Wallinder’s mother said Skyler experienced anxiety, and that concerns about job uncertainty and fear of contracting COVID-19 had made his anxiety worse. Dobranski says his team has amplified their efforts to look out for one another since Wallinder’s death. “We know people in our group that have struggles, and sometimes, I have my own, and we always do ask those questions: ‘How are you doing today?’ But with what happened with Skyler, I didn’t ask those questions because I had no idea.”
Related – Suicide of Cochrane chef highlights mental health concerns for restaurant workers amid COVID-19Global News

Tristen Durocher welcomes passing of provincial suicide prevention billGlobal News
May 4, 2021
Suicide prevention advocate Tristen Durocher was happy to learn that the suicide prevention bill tabled at the Saskatchewan legislature by NDP MLA Doyle Vermette was passed unanimously after being turned down twice, in 2018 and 2019. “It was very surprising and very unexpected,” Durocher said. “It shows that there was enough impact [last] summer in the public space to get enough people caring about this issue.” Last summer Durocher brought attention to the issue of suicide among Indigenous people in northern Saskatchewan with his group ‘Walking with our Angels.’ Durocher and his group walked 635 km from Air Ronge to the legislature where they set up a tipi camp and where Durocher fasted for 44 days.

Dramatic rise in child suicide attempts and deaths in northwest Syria InfoMigrants
May 4, 2021
A new report released by aid organization Save the Children has found that suicidal behaviour among children in northwest Syria, some of whom are living in displacement camps, has increased by over 80% in the first three months of 2021 when compared to 2020. Ahmed Bayram, Save the Children’s Regional Media Manager for the Middle East and Eastern Europe said, “While we cannot attribute this problem to one single issue, and while we can never say for sure what is behind every suicide case, we can look at the raft of challenges that children here are experiencing on a daily basis. These children are living amid poverty, family problems, lack of education, child marriage, child labour and bullying. This dire situation, made worse by COVID-19, has aggravated the stresses that children are grappling with. Children, particularly those in displacement, can register that their environment is not offering them the support that they need, they can see that their contribution is restricted with lack of education opportunities and no hopeful future prospect. After more than ten years of conflict, displacement and poverty, children have reached a point where they are giving up on life.”

Subscribe to this weekly mailing list