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:

Why Are More Black Kids Suicidal? A Search for Answers.New York Times
November 18, 2021
**Method warning** A study of high school students in the US found that Black adolescents were more likely to have attempted suicide than white adolescents, and a government study from 2020 suggested that Black young people, including children, who died by suicide were more than white young people to have had relationship problems or a history of suicide attempts. “These kids have stressors that are uniquely different than other kids,” said LaVome Robinson, the lead investigator of the Success Over Stress study which touches on themes like systemic racism and police brutality to help Black kids develop coping skills. Jordan Burnham attempted suicide when he was 18, and said “I didn’t necessarily want to die. But the part of me that had depression and shame and sadness everyday — I wanted that pain to die. I wanted that part to go away.” Burnham is now an advocate for suicide prevention and shares his message of hope and recovery in high schools.

Americans Will be Able to Text 988 for Suicide Prevention HelpBloomburg Business
November 18, 2021
In addition to using a three-digit number to call the national crisis line, people in the US will also be able to text the number, 988, likely starting in late 2022. During the transition, people in the US are recommended to call 1-800-273-8255 for assistance.

Iqaluit teens take to the street to demand more suicide prevention for Nunavummiut CBC
November 17, 2021
Young people in Iqaluit, Nunavut walked from Inuksuk High School to the Nunavut Legislature last week, calling on the government to do more to prevent youth suicides. Minnie Akeeagok, who attended the protest, lost her best friend to suicide less than a year ago. Akeeagok says, “This really has affected me. And this is what we need to be able to move forward and get better help for youth. There’s a lot of different resources … to talk and speak on how you’re feeling. You could talk to family friends, anyone’s here for you.”

‘People should be helped, not punished’: could Pakistan’s suicide law be about to change?Guardian
November 17, 2021
Suicide is criminalized in Pakistan, and has been since British rule. Now, however, a bill to decriminalize suicide has been passed by senate and will be debated in the National Assembly. There is some opposition to the bill by people who say the bill acts as a deterrent to attempting suicide, however, Taha Sabri, founder of Taskeen, a mental health organization in Pakistan, said they believe there is opposition because of the funds generated by police  – “they would lose a significant revenue source,” says Sabri, who suspects police are receiving bribery money to hide suicide attempts due to stigma. Dr. Summaiya Syed is head of the medico-legal department at Jinnah postgraduate medical centre said, “Instead of answering their cry for help, we are punishing them. Rather than sending them to a psychologist, we are sending them to the wolves. Why are we doing this? The key thing at play is social taboo. What prompts people to not report suicide? It’s better to make it look like an accident … People are ostracised and shunned … If you don’t change the thinking of the people, you don’t change the systems.”

‘His purpose in life was to help’ St. Albert Today
November 17, 2021
Warren Hillier, 40, an 11 year military veteran and first responder with St. Albert Fire Services, died by suicide earlier this month. “His purpose in life was to help. He really wanted to make a difference in the world,”said Hillier’s wife Michele Mamacos. Hillier contracted a severe physical illness in 2018 and was unable to return to work. “He became really angry. He fell into a very dark depression. Then it became a family issue.” Mamacos that, as a first responder for over a decade, Hillier responded to thousands of calls, interacting with families ” on the worst possible moment of their life.” First responders, Mamacos says, leave one call to go to another with the same high level of intensity. “They have to keep going because they also have a duty to do this. And so they are required to compartmentalize while on the job, to be able to keep saving lives and keep doing what they need to do,” said Mamacos.
Related: Mental-health struggles prevalent in first respondersSt. Albert Today

Opinion: Does the modern world still stand for suicide prevention? Unfortunately, the answer is maybe not. – Washington Post
November 16, 2021
This opinion piece discusses the issue of suicide prevention efforts in countries where medical assistance in dying is legal.

Colleges are turning to science to limit suicide contagion and help heal campuses NPR
November 16, 2021
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people living in the US, and they are the most susceptible to contagion. The American College Health Association conducted a national survey in the spring of 2021 and found that 1 in 4 students reported suicidal thoughts and 2% had attempted suicide recently. “Knowing this, we have to be even more alert,” says John Dunkle, senior director of the Jed Foundation. “Getting that postvention plan in place before a tragedy occurs is really critical.” The article goes on to describe best practices in crafting a plan for after a suicide, as many postsecondary institution are dealing with the aftermath of suicides in their student population.

Rising humidity could be linked to increase in suicides, report findsGuardian
November 15, 2021
New research has found a correlation between intense humidity and suicide, and that this link was stronger than the link between high temperatures and suicide. Report co-author Dr. Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson explains, “If you talk about mental health there are quite a lot of links – there’s anxiety, it’s hard to sleep, it becomes unbearable. Sleep deprivation is a massive thing … It’s difficult to sleep when it’s hot and even more when it’s humid.” Ayeb-Karlsson added that people taking antidepressants may be more affected by increased humidity because these medications can interfere with temperature regulation in the body. Ayeb-Karlsson also notes, “The study found interesting trends related to the increased suicide rates among, particularly, women and youth in relation to humidity. Women and children are known to be suffering disproportionately from the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events due to social structures and power relations. We need to look further into these relations and the contextual reasons behind this in diverse geographical areas and social groups.”

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