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:

Sending condolences to the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc First NationCentre for Suicide Prevention
May 31, 2021
Centre for Suicide Prevention sends its condolences to the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc First Nation for the tragic loss of its children. This is a day of reckoning for Canada – the unearthing of these children providing hard evidence for the evils Indigenous people have known and endured for generations. There is nothing we can say to ease the grief and suffering for this senseless loss of life and destruction of a society, but there is action to be taken.

Criminalizing conversion therapy prevents suicide in sexual and gender minoritiesCentre for Suicide Prevention
June 1, 2021
Centre for Suicide Prevention commends the Government of Canada for proposing the criminalization of conversion therapy throughout Canada through the tabling of Bill C-8. Conversion therapy seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity through repression. It is a practice that is associated with numerous psychological harms, including poor self-esteem, self- hatred, depression, anxiety, problematic substance use, all of which are contributing factors to suicide.

Canadian Mental Health Association Wood Buffalo wants you to ‘Buddy Up’MyMcMurray
June 3, 2021
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) – Wood Buffalo are Buddy Up Champions! Buddy Up is a suicide prevention initiative created by men, for men, encouraging guys to have authentic conversations with each other and support them when they’re struggling. “Men have a suicide rate that’s three times higher than women,” said Mike Jones with CMHA – Wood Buffalo. “Maybe it’s a guy that you work with, maybe it’s a guy that you see on the bus when you’re driving into site every day. It might not be somebody that you are necessarily best friends with but perhaps you could make a connection and you could potentially save a life.” Jones said Buddy Up is especially important in places like Fort McMurray, where there is a large male population who face unique stressors: “Not only because of the work sites and the workers that come from all over, but people are still dealing with insurance and issues from the fire, people are still dealing with insurance and the loss of property from the flood,” Jones said.

Crisis response in CalgaryCity News Calgary
June 3, 2021
The City of Calgary and Calgary Police Services are re-allocating $16 million towards crisis intervention programs. “More Canadians are self-reporting that they’re feeling unwell mentally,” says Mara Grunau, executive director at the Centre for Suicide Prevention, and in Calgary, “There’s all kinds of stressors that people are experiencing in their lives that are new, obviously COVID, but there’s lots of other ones as well, when we think about the energy sector and… the level of unemployment. Lots of different crisis services are needed.”

Calgary boosts funding for crisis response and mental health callsCTV News
June 3, 2021
Centre for Suicide Prevention and PolicyWise are taking the lead on a research project that will look into how to improve the Calgary’s crisis response system following a move from the City of Calgary and Calgary Police Services to increase funding to dozens of community groups and initiatives in an effort to better address mental health calls and complex responses.

CRTC wants Canadian’s opinions on 3-digit mental health – suicide prevention lineCKPG Today
June 3, 2021
The CRTC is inviting Canadians to provide comments and feedback regarding the implementation of a 3-digit suicide prevention line. CRTC is seeking input on the following questions: Should the CRTC establish a national 3-digit number for mental health crisis and suicide prevention services?; How much time would it take to implement a national 3-digit number?; Should a 3-digit number be deployed across Canada at the same time or phased in?; Should the caller’s location information be captured automatically when dialing the 3-digit number?; and Should Canadians be able to send text messages directly to the 3-digit number? Provide your feedback and support for a 3-digit line online using this form.

Commentary: Oh, Canada! Your New Law Will Provide, Not Prevent, Suicide for Some Psychiatric PatientsPsychiatric Times
June 1, 2021
**Method warning** Several countries currently allow for medical assistance in dying (MAID), and between 100 to 200 patients with psychiatric illnesses use MAID every year in Belgium and the Netherlands. The American Psychiatric Association issued a position statement in 2016 saying, “A psychiatrist should not prescribe or administer any intervention to a non-terminally ill person for the purpose of causing death.” The possibility of providing MAID for people with mental health issues is currently being reviewed in Canada. Mark S. Komrad, MD, author of this commentary piece says, “Bill C-7 and similar laws would represent a terrible shift in the deep ethos of psychiatry. Psychiatrists would have to decide which suicides should be prevented and which should be abetted.”

Family and community support help trans youth buffer bullying and discrimination: study – CTV News
June 1, 2021
UBC has released a new report showing that strong relationships and community involvement can help trans and non-binary young people cope with discrimination, including bullying and harassment. “Gender-diverse youth who reported greater feelings of family connectedness were much less likely to report extreme stress, suicidal thoughts and attempts, or problems with substance use, than young people whose families didn’t understand them or support them,” reads a news release on the research.

‘The kids are not alright’: Group sounding the alarm on children’s mental healthCTV News
June 1, 2021
Children First Canada, a national organization for children’s advocacy, says that children’s mental health has been suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sara Austin of Children First Canada says the pandemic is taking a toll as kids are confined at home for long periods and they’re being cut off from family, friends, supports, and programs that are essential to their well-being. “Over the past year, we’ve seen a 100 per cent increase in children being admitted for suicide attempts and a 200 per cent increase in children being admitted for substance-use disorders, including the use of deadly opioids,” she said (data is from McMaster Children’s Hospital in Ontario). Be on the look out for signs that children around you may be struggling, and if you’re concerned, reach out to a professional or call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 for help.

MP looking for communities to voice support for national crisis lineCBC
May 31, 2021
MP Scott Aitchison is supportive of a 3-digit nation-wide suicide prevention line to replace the current 10-digit line, 1-833-456-4566. “If you are suicidal looking for help, it’s currently a 10-digit phone call you need to call, Aitchison said. “We think this is one minor step in making access to help and support, and to reduce the number of suicides and eliminate suicides. This is a really important, small next step that should get done.”

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