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:
Solemn vigil marks another year of transgender lives lost – The Signal
November 20, 2020
Transgender Day of Remembrance, November 20, is a day to remember transgender people who have died as a result of violence. A vigil for the day was held in Raymond Taavel Park in Halifax this past week. “Today is a day of remembrance, and the people we are remembering are those transgender lives lost to violence and transphobia,” said Charlie Johnson, who attended the vigil. “We are taking the time as a community to remember that we are still fighting the battle of egality and equality.” Transgender people also die by suicide, in part due to the discrimination they face; Centre for Suicide Prevention notes in their Transgender people and suicide toolkit that 22 to 43% of transgender people have attempted suicide.
Another death in the Moore family is connected to historic Indigenous trauma – The Star Calgary
November 18, 2020
Mike Martin was a relative of Chantal Moore, who was killed by New Brunswick police during a wellness check in June 2020. Martin died by suicide recently at age 23. In this opinion piece by Brandi Morin, an award-winning French/Cree/Iroquois journalist, Morin explains how the two events are linked: “Less than six months after Moore’s violent death comes more devastation from the suicide of her brother. It is all connected. Indigenous peoples in Canada grapple with violence and suicide in epidemic rates. In fact, Indigenous suicide rates in Canada are some of the highest in the world.” Morin points to Centre for Suicide Prevention resources that explain the effects of colonization, including residential schools experiences, forced adoptions and foster care, forced relocation and denial of existence as a people. Morin says, “…imagine if Indigenous peoples were given the chance to heal of the traumas of the past. If Indigenous people were treated equally in all aspects of society and free from the oppression of racism. What if Indigenous peoples had hope of a future with opportunities to live and thrive and follow the dreams of their heart? Freedom from discrimination. Expectation and security. Imagine.”
Guidelines for sharing experiences with suicide – Centre for Suicide Prevention
November 18, 2020
International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, or International Day for People Impacted by Suicide Loss, took place this past Saturday, November 21. Centre for Suicide Prevention released a guide that provides suggestions and considerations for those impacted by suicide who would like to publicly share their experiences. People who have been impacted by suicide, either through a suicide loss or a suicide attempt, may derive a lot of strength and growth by sharing their experience. They can be passionate advocates for suicide prevention and are in a unique position to influence other people’s attitudes about suicide.
Black youth in Edmonton face barriers when seeking mental health support, study shows – CBC
November 21, 2020
A new study from the University of Alberta (U of A) has found that Black young people in Edmonton face difficulty when seeking out mental health supports in the city. 30 Black young people were interviewed one-on-one and 100 in larger group interviews between August 2019 and March 2020. “Young people talked to us about the lack of Black representation in mental health service delivery, the lack of culturally appropriate services that are available and the lack of anti-racist practices. There’s also issues of cost, issues of stigma and also challenges in terms of navigating mental health because of their parents’ unresolved mental health issues that they are also dealing with,” said Bukola Salami, associate professor of nursing at the U of A, and lead researcher on the project.
Canadians in quarantine twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts, study shows – CBC
November 20, 2020
The University of British Columbia (UBC) and the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) conducted a survey of 3,000 Canadians who were randomly invited to respond to an online questionnaire from May 14 – 29, 2020. 11% of those surveyed who self-isolated due to COVID-19 thought about suicide within the two weeks prior to the survey compared to 5% who did not isolate but had thoughts of suicide. Senior author and nursing professor Emily Jenkins said that, “(Those who had self-isolate) were much more likely to experience suicidal thoughts and deliberate self-harm.” Almost 28% of people who self-isolated due to contact with someone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 thought about suicide. People who self-isolated due to travel were less likely to think about suicide; Jenkins suspects this is because they were likely expecting to isolate.
Study finds spike in suicidal thoughts, self-harm during, after pregnancy – USA Today
November 20, 2020
New research examining 600,000 insured people living in the US who were within a year of giving birth (either before or after) found that from 2006-2017, there was a 0.4% increase per 100 people who were diagnosed with ‘suicidality’. Researchers speculate that this increase is due to more physicians recognizing thoughts of suicide, as well as to an increase in women within a year of giving birth thinking about suicide generally.
Can the World’s Doctors Survive Another Wave of COVID-19? – Time
November 19, 2020
During the pandemic, New York City ER doctor Jane Kim has lost three of her colleagues to COVID-19 and one to suicide. Kim relies on loved ones and counselling to cope with the stress of the deaths and treating patients in a pandemic. She worries that doctors are going to face a “tsunami” of new patients and, “I fear that we’re not ready—emotionally, physically, mentally—to go through that again. I’m not.”
Survey reveals impact of suicide on family and friends – Medical Xpress
November 18, 2020
Over one third of those who have lost a loved one to suicide have had thoughts of suicide themselves, according to new research based on a survey that collected responses from over 7,000 people between September 2017 to August 2019 in the UK. Two thirds found the support services in their area to be inadequate. “This survey highlights the devastating and long-lasting impact of suicide on families and communities. We are calling for more awareness of the impact of suicide bereavement, more support and resources and the need to reduce the stigma surrounding suicide,” said research team lead Sharon McDonnell at the University of Manchester.
‘How Did We Not Know?’ Gun Owners Confront a Suicide Epidemic – New York Times
November 17, 2020
Gun sales in the US have been rising since March, and some experts worry suicide rates may rise with them. Suicide prevention advocates and gun rights proponents are collaborating to develop strategies to prevent suicide.