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:

Schools in Alabama warn parents about Blue Whale ‘suicide game’ app Computerworld
May 10, 2017
The “blue whale challenge”, an online app which encourages self-harm, is placing vulnerable young people at risk.The app, which consist of 50 tasks to be completed on 50 consecutive days, ends with the final task on the 50th day to “commit suicide”.

The game was invented by  Phillip Budeikin, a 21 year old Russian. He is being held on charges of inciting at least 16 teenage girls to commit suicide. He claims his mission is ‘cleansing society; of “biological waste”.
Blue Whale Challenge is spreading rapidly, including to North America, Australia and New Zealand,  which have prompted warnings from police and school officials worldwide.

Police in New Zealand, and elsewhere, are urging parents and school staff to be aware of the danger and not let their children “fall prey” to the suicide game.

Male suicide: Gender should not be a death sentence The Guardian
May 10, 2017
The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) in the United Kingdom provides support for males in crisis as well as addresses and challenges traditional stereotypes of male masculinity. Their aim is to effect positive change in British society.

Their research shows that only 55% of men tell someone about having depression(compared to 67% of women) and they believe this lack of help-seeking has a direct impact on the 3 to 1 ratio of male to female suicides.

The article also mentions the work of organizations such as Lift The Weight and Heads Together that are trying to alter the mental health landscape by encouraging men to talk about their struggles. They utilize  famous “tough-guy” men like Stormzy and Rio Ferdinand  who share how communication with others of their mental health hurdles helped save their lives.

Nearly half of female prisoners have attempted suicide, figures reveal The Independent
May 9, 2017
A recent report by Prison Reform Trust shows that 46% of female prisoners in England and Wales have attempted suicide at some point, compared to 6% in the general population. The same report shows suicide, for both male and female prisoners, has doubled in prisons since 2013.

The report has prompted calls for this crisis in the penal system to be addressed. Campaigners and advocates have urged for increased supports and standards in prisons for the vulnerable.

Netflix’s teen suicide drama renewed for a second season Winnipeg Free Press
May 9, 2017
The controversial Netflix series 13 Reasons Why has been renewed for a second season. Many in the  suicide prevention and mental health communities have claimed the series glamourizes suicide and a debate has emerged as a result.

The series is based on Jay Asher’s novel which has been a popular young adult book for a decade. It tells the story of Hannah Baker who leaves behind 13 audio cassettes for fellow classmates after taking her life. The tapes inform each recipient of their responsibility for her suicide.

Netflix says the second season will go “beyond the premise of Asher’s novel”.

Despite the controversy and backlash to the series, Netflix believes it has “opened up dialogue”  about suicide.

Whale Cove has Nunavut’s lowest suicide rate—here’s why Nunatsiaq Online
May 8, 2017
Whale Cove, on the western coast of Hudson Bay, is home to fewer than 500 people. But unlike other areas of Nunavut, which has the highest rates of suicide of any province or territory in Canada, it has kept its instances of suicide to a very low rate. Whale Cove has only a rate of 4.5 per 100, 000 —the lowest in Nunavut. There have been only two suicides in Whale Cove from 1999 to 2016.

Whale Cove is a tight-knit community where people lead traditional lives and take care of each other.They know each other well and they have a sense of interdependence.

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