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:

From youth in segregation to first-time home buyers: Six data gaps Globe readers have encounteredGlobe and Mail
May 6, 2019
There are gaps in data collection that affect suicide and its prevention in Canada. Because of the lack of indicators such as ethnicity and education levels in death data, it is difficult to tailor suicide prevention programs specifically for at-risk populations. Globe and Mail spoke to Centre for Suicide Prevention, and, among other experts, they “say we have a poor grasp of which Canadians take their own lives, making it harder to prevent such tragedies, even with more funding. The suicide rates for different professions, and different ethnic groups, are particular blind spots.”

CBE launches independent bullying review, two months after young girl’s suicide Calgary Herald
May 12, 2019
The Calgary Board of Education is reviewing the suicide death of 9-year-old Amal Alshteiwi, as bullying may have been a factor in her death. Nasra Abdulrahman, Alshteiwi’s mother, believes the CBE failed to address her concerns about bullying while Alshteiwi was still alive. Kelly Schwartz, an associate professor at the University of Calgary’s Werklund School of Education specializing in youth mental health, said that, “So many kids, when they bully, don’t even realize what they’re doing is nasty or mean. And most kids who do, don’t have sociopathic tendencies, they’re just bad with relationships. We need to support kids in developing relationships, developing empathy and remembering how you felt when you were bullied.”

Parliament passes Charlie Angus’s motion to establish national suicide prevention action plan CBC
May 9, 2019
NDP MP Charlie Angus brought forward a motion to establish a national suicide prevention action plan and last week, parliament voted to pass the motion. Currently, Canada has a framework for suicide prevention, but an action plan, or strategy, has been found to be more effective. Jonathan Solomon, the Grand Chief of Mushkegowuk Council, “We were losing so many young people, even babies as young as 10 years old. We begged there should be a national strategy. So I would say it’s about time.”
Learn more about why Canada needs a national suicide prevention strategy.

What to Say (and Not to Say) to Someone Grieving a Suicide New York Times
May 8, 2019
This article, written by a survivor of suicide loss, is a guide for how to speak with someone who has lost a person they love to suicide: “Don’t feel afraid to say the name of the person who died, to share your memories of that person, to create space for the survivor to share their own memories, to honor their loved one’s life. Let the grieving person say what they need to say, feel what they need to feel.”

Systemic change needed to address suicide among physicians in Canada, doctors sayCBC
May 6, 2019
Dr. Sarah Tulk and Dr. Joy Albuquerque are bringing to light the issue of physician suicide in Canada: their rate may be double that of the general population.  “I can tell you, anecdotally, that there have been physician deaths that I’m almost 100 per cent certain have been suicides but nobody’s talking about it because the family doesn’t want to talk about it, colleagues don’t want to talk about it,” says Dr. Gigi Osler, president of the Canadian Medical Association. Tulk and Albuquerque say systemic changes are needed to address the issue. Tulk herself has had thoughts of suicide: “I did feel suicidal. That’s what sparked my interest and desire to talk about it. I’m doing really well and I want people to know that recovery is certainly possible.”
Related: Health professionals face an increased risk of suicide. Let’s confront it. – CBC Blog

Regina student says ‘life is worth living’ with tribute to friend who died by suicideCBC
May 6, 2019
Kaleab Schmidt, 14, died by suicide last year. Now, his friends are paying tribute to his life and spreading a message of hope to others who may be feeling suicidal. “Everybody teaches everybody how to love each other but when are we going to learn to love ourselves?” asked Schmidt’s friend Belan Tsegaye, who made a video in his honour. “I know how it feels to feel down, and depressed. I would want to at least change one person’s perspective on life.”

Netflix and Suicide: The Disturbing Example of “13 Reasons Why” – New Yorker
May 6, 2019
This article critiques Netflix and its decisions around the controversial series 13 Reasons Why. This critique comes after a study found that there may have been an increase in suicide following the release of the series. More broadly, this article questions the actions of major corporations like Facebook, Twitter, and Uber, and expresses frustration at the fact that these companies say they have good intentions but don’t go far enough to demonstrate that. “Netflix responded to the recent National Institute of Mental Health study with circumspection: ‘This is a critically important topic and we have worked hard to ensure that we handle this sensitive issue responsibly.’ Except, of course, when it came to the option of not doing the show at all.”

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