Subscribe to receive the weekly news roundup straight to your inbox!

Suicide of Vancouver police officer to be examined at coroner’s inquestCBC
November 24, 2022
It has been confirmed that an inquest will be held into the death of Nicole Chan, 30, a Vancouver police officer who died by suicide. Following her death, Chan’s family filed a lawsuit saying that she was extorted by a superior officer with whom she was having an affair. The lawsuit also noted that BC workers’ safety agency accepted her mental health claim for ‘multiple sexual assaults.’ Chan’s inquest will begin in January.

RCMP called to investigate multiple cases of veterans being offered medically assisted deathCBC
November 24, 2022
An internal investigation was conducted by Veterans Affairs after a veteran, calling to seek mental health help, reported having been pressured by an employee to consider medical assistance in dying. The internal investigation revealed that up to 5 veterans were given the option of medical assistance in dying (MAID) by the same (now-suspended) Veterans Affairs Canada caseworker. Minister of Veterans Affairs Lawrence MacAulay said, “We expect all Veterans Affairs candidate employees to interact with veterans with care, compassion and respect and…  I condemn this behaviour in the strongest terms… We remain confident that this is all related to one single employee, and it’s not a widespread or a systemic issue.”

Mental health care provider shortage linked with increased youth suicide rates: study The Hill
November 22, 2022
A recent study has found that, in the US in 2015 and 2016, areas with a shortage of mental health workers saw an increase in suicide among young people 5 to 19. Areas with shortages had a 16% higher suicide rate for young people, after adjusting for the fact that rural areas and areas with higher poverty rates already had higher rates. It was also noted in the study that shortages were linked to increased firearm use. “Our results underscore the critical need to expand the mental health professional workforce in counties across the country,” said study author Jennifer Hoffmann of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “In addition, policies that restrict firearm access to young people may be considered as a suicide prevention strategy.”

Death of US Capitol Police officer by suicide qualifies for line of duty benefits, DOJ rulesCNN
November 21, 2022
Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood died by suicide on January 9, 2021, just days after he was in the line of duty during the attack on the US Capitol on January 6. His widow Serena Liebengood has since been calling for the US Capitol Police to declare that he died in the line of duty. “We were recently notified that the Department of Justice officially determined our beloved family member U.S. Capitol Police Officer (USCP) Howie Liebengood’s passing was in the line of duty under the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) program. The determination is significant, healing, relieving, and we are grateful for it,” said Liebengood’s family in a statement. Of his death, Serena wrote, “After assisting riot control at the Capitol on January 6th, USCP scheduled Howie to work lengthy shifts in the immediate days following. He was home for very few hours over the course of four days. Although he was severely sleep-deprived, he remained on duty- as he was directed- practically around the clock from January 6th through the 9th. On the evening of the 9th, he took his life at our home.”

Japan Region Taps Toilet Paper to Help Suicidal Youth, Here’s HowCNN News 18
November 22, 2022
Officials in the Yamanashi Prefecture in Japan are printing toilet paper rolls with hopeful messages and illustrations alongside crisis line numbers in an effort to prevent youth suicide. “You’re alone in the toilet. We felt that it’s at moments like this when you might be more prone to thoughts of anguish,” said Kenichi Miyazawa, a Yamanashi official. One message reads, “Dear you, spending painful days pretending to be okay for someone else…You don’t need to tell us everything… but how about just a little of it?” The toilet paper was distributed to 12 universities in Yamanashi last month.

Parents should discuss depression, anxiety and even suicide with kids: expertsGlobal
November 20, 2022
International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day takes place every year in mid-November, and this year, experts are encouraging parents to speak with their children about mental health and suicide. Suicide prevention and mental health advocate Mark Henick said, “More people die by suicide around the world than murder and war combined. But we talk about those things every day and we still don’t talk enough about suicide…. There’s this idea that if you talk to your kids about suicide, you’re giving them the idea to do it. That’s a myth. If they’re thinking about it, then they’re already thinking about it.”

Hiding In Plain Sight: Survivors Of Suicide LossForbes
November 17, 2022
Losing a loved one to suicide can lead to complicated feelings, including grief, guilt, and helplessness. In this article Vikki Mataragas opens up about her experience of losing son Michael Mataragas, 24, to suicide. Michael was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 22. “It’s heartbreaking to watch your child struggle,” said Vikki. “I definitely self-blame and wonder if there was something I could have done better or something that I could have done that I didn’t do at all. Knowing that other people have been through this kind of loss helps me realize that I’m not alone and that Michael wasn’t alone either.” Vikki also shares suggestions of how to support someone who has lost a loved one to suicide. Even the simple act of talking about the person who died can help, as Vikki says, “If anybody ever says Michael’s name, it’s music to my ears.” She also suggests asking permission to talk about the deceased loved one, for example, ‘Is it okay if I ask you questions or talk to you about Michael?’ “If I really don’t want to talk about it, then it gives me the opportunity to say it’s too painful to talk about right now,” she explains. Cambria Bruschke, principal consultant of national mental health and wellness at Kaiser Permanente, adds, “We need to show up in the same way we would for someone who has experienced any other tragic death – be there, listen, and encourage people to talk about their loved ones.”

Subscribe to the weekly news roundup