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:

How to maintain mental healthCentre for Suicide Prevention
Last week was CMHA’s Mental Health Week, and the theme this year was about acknowledging that we all have mental health and we can all do something to help maintain it and keep our lives in balance when we face inevitable ups and downs. This blog post suggests ideas of how to maintain that balance.
Find out more about CMHA Mental Health Week

Nunavut community rocked by 12 youth suicide attemptsHuffPost
May 13, 2018
The small Nunavut community of Pangnirtung hadn’t experienced any suicide deaths for more than one year, but in February 2018, there were 12 suicide attempts in two weeks. Pangnirtung has a community hall, sports arena, youth clubs, and engaged elders. The community is close to a national park and a fish-processing plant provides jobs. However, Pangnirtung doesn’t have addiction treatment programs, emergency shelters, or crisis support services, just a few mental health staff who are overworked. Violence is a common occurrence, and alcohol is frequently brought into the dry community. “It is very difficult when we know the resources are not available for people that need counselling or support in terms of getting help with addictions,” said local MLA Margaret Nakashuk. “There’s nothing local in our community — or any other small community in Nunavut.”

How Jeremy Quaile’s suicide changed the way I behave on social mediaCBC Opinion
May 12, 2018
In this opinion piece, Krystal Stewart reflects on how she’s changed her behaviour on social media in light of the suicide death of Jeremy Quaile, a man ostracized on social media and in real life after being accused of animal cruelty in the death of his dog. A fuller picture of the story, revealed after his death, showed that Quaile had struggled with mental health issues including addiction and that he had been significantly impacted by the backlash he faced on social media after the death of his dog. Stewart admits that she herself had drawn attention to the story, and had also posted about the fact that he hadn’t shown up for his court date, which was set to take place after his suicide death. Stewart was then the recipient of social media backlash herself, after tweeting “Good” in response to news of his death. Stewart says that has caused deep self-reflection and that she is now considering the following before responding on social media to any news stories: “Do I know the whole story? What information is missing? If I write what I want to write, what impact will it have on others — and on myself? Can I channel this emotion in a more productive way that will actually help my cause?”

His college knew of his despair. His parents didn’t, until it was too lateNew York Times
May 12, 2018
*Method warning*
Graham Burton died by suicide in his college dorm, after struggling to adjust to post-secondary life. In his journal he expressed that he believed he was “a failure with no life prospects.” He struggled to sleep, missed classes, and handed-in late assignments. Professors at his college expressed concerns about Burton’s distress, but the school didn’t respond, citing privacy rules that prohibit them from contacting parents. His parents also note that warning signs were present before his death.

A call to arms to protect veterans’ mental healthHuffPost Blog
May 11, 2018
Robert Whitley, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at McGill University, wrote a blog post for Mental Health Week highlighting the need for more mental health supports for veterans. A survey done in 2013 found that the majority of veterans report very good or excellent mental health. However, 24% reported a mood disorder (usually depression), anxiety, or PTSD. They are two times more likely to experience a mental  disorder.

Judge slams Edmonton prison’s ‘institutional culture’ in wake of inmate suicideEdmonton Journal 
May 10, 2018
An Alberta judge who conducted a fatality inquiry into the suicide death Jesse Ryan McAdam, 22, an inmate at the Edmonton Institution, has made some recommendations. These include creating an inmate advocacy agency, training of correctional staff in assessing suicide risk, and changing the perception of how segregation is viewed by Correctional Services.

Toronto considering erecting suicide barriers at 10 bridgesToronto Star
May 9, 2018
Each year in Toronto approximately 10 people die by suicide by using one of the city’s many bridges. Transportation Services is reviewing 10 “priority” bridges, the names of which are not being released so as to limit possible suicide risk, to see if they can be made safer. The city is considering bridge barriers, the placement of emergency phones and crisis line signs near bridges as well as the addition of patrols or camera surveillance.

Doctors have an alarmingly high suicide rate, and no one is sure how to help themGizmodo
May 9, 2018
New research presented last week at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting has shown that physicians are most likely to die by suicide than members of any other profession in the US. Anywhere between 28-40 per 100,000 medical doctors die each year from suicide, while the average rate is much lower, at 13.42 per 100,000 deaths. It was found that many doctors who were struggling with mental health issues were reluctant to seek out psychiatric help. “To reduce the number of physicians taking their life, fear of stigma and other risk factors have to be addressed through more research aimed at effective and early intervention,” wrote the study authors.

24/7 First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line now available onlineIndigenous Services Canada
May 8, 2018
Indigenous Services Canada announced last week that the First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line has expanded its services to include mental wellness counselling and crisis intervention through online chat. The help line already provides 24/7 services in English, French, Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktitut.

First responders turn to each other for support in suicide preventionCBC
May 8, 2018
Peer and family support groups for Ottawa first responders received suicide prevention training last week. “All of us in the first responder community have lost friends and peers to suicide and we’re really trying to prevent that from moving forward,” said Lorraine Downey, coordinator of the Ottawa Paramedic Peer Support Group. “We tend to be the ones to help people, we don’t tend to be the ones to ask for help. So we’re looking to change that stigma.”

Anishinaabe police officer walking across Canada for Indigenous youth mental healthCBC
May 8, 2018
Kevin Redsky, a member of the Anishnabek Police Service, is leading the Hope in the Darkness National Walk for Youth Mental Health, an initiative that partners police with Indigenous youth to walk together across Canada to learn from each other’s experiences with mental health. “My personal experience, the struggles that my family has seen … we know we want to have those discussions because what’s in existence now to treat mental health [issues] is not working,” said Redsky.

Court says schools can be liable for suicides but clears MITNational Post
May 7, 2018
The Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts has ruled that MIT is not responsible for the suicide death of a student, however they noted that schools can be found liable for a student’s death if they fail to act after becoming aware of a suicide attempt while the student is enrolled in the school or if they learn that a student has threatened suicide.

Alberta announces $5M grant to support mental health in schoolsGlobal
May 7, 2018
The Government of Alberta has allocated $5 million for hiring school staff and building school-based community health programs. The Mental Health Capacity Building in Schools Initiative currently supports 37 school-based mental health programs and helps around 65,000 students. The additional funding will develop 15 additional programs and help more than 100,000 students in Alberta.

Report shows demand threatening to overwhelm mental-health clinics for veteransToronto Star
May 7, 2018
The federal government has expressed its intention to bring down wait times at Veterans Affairs by hiring more staff and reducing bureaucratic barriers, as wait times for veterans wanting to see a mental health specialist or psychiatrist are quite long.

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