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:

In Japan, more people died from suicide last month than from Covid in all of 2020CNN
November 29, 2020
Japan has released suicide data to indicate that there have been more suicide deaths in October 2020 alone than COVID-19 deaths from January to October 2020. 2,153 people died by suicide in Japan in October 2020 while 2,087 people have died from COVID-19 for the year to date. In the decade leading up to 2019, Japan saw decreasing suicide numbers, however, this year may reverse the trend. The number of women dying by suicide is increasing, though men have a higher number of suicide deaths overall. In October, there was an increase of around 80% of women who took their lives compared to the same time last year, while men saw an increase of around 20%. Women may be more affected as a larger percentage of women work in industries heavily affected by layoffs, including hotel, food service, and retail.

Suspended Ottawa police officer dies by suicideOttawa Citizen
November 28, 2020
Const. Nelson Lizotte, 57, died by suicide on November 26. Lizotte had been suspended from the Ottawa police in February and attempted suicide upon notice of his suspension. Lizotte is the third Ottawa Police Service officer to die by suicide since 2014. Following the deaths of Staff Sgt. Kal Ghadban in 2014 and Det. Thomas Roberts in 2019, Ottawa Police Service has worked to balance officer wellness and accountability.

Mother of Chantel Moore seeks answers, change after son’s suicideCTV News
November 27, 2020
Martha Martin, the mother of Chantel Moore, 26, who was killed during a wellness check by police in Edmundston, New Brunswick on June 4 is mourning yet again after the loss of her son Mike Martin, 23, who died by suicide on November 14. “My son and my daughter had always been really close and I feel like the system has let both of my kids down,” said Martin. Judith Sayers, president of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council, said of Mike Martin that, “He was very young. He was reeling still from the impact of the death of his sister. He was having a hard time dealing with that.” Martin is still unsure of the details of her son’s death, which took place in Surrey Pretrial Services Centre in BC. Martin is demanding answers, and Sayer says, “There hasn’t been enough change. I think this is just another wake-up call for people in Canada to say ‘Yeah, let’s change this and let’s change this now so no more lives are lost.’”

Three Key Factors Tied to Higher Suicide Risk in BPDMedscape
November 27, 2020
A new study has identified three specific symptoms related to increased suicide risk in people with borderline personality disorders (BPD). These symptoms include: identity disturbance, chronic feelings of emptiness, and frantic efforts to avoid abandonment. Knowing these symptoms can help clinicians screen for the symptoms when assessing suicide risk in patients. People with BPD are at a higher risk of suicide compared to those with other personality disorders.

Guard member shares past, gives voice to suicide preventionUnited States Army
November 25, 2020
Army Chief Warrant Officer Clifford Bauman is opening up about having attempted suicide and his path to recovery. Bauman says that he internalized his emotions following an 18-hour search for survivors in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. He was diagnosed with PTSD, and misled a counsellor that had been assigned to him into believing he was doing well:  “I just wanted to get that stamp that said I was ‘fit for duty’,” said Bauman. He then attempted suicide, and had a three-day stay in a mental health care facility, where he decided to “not worry about my military career and just really focus on getting better.” He learned to effectively cope with his PTSD after being more honest and open with his counsellor. Now Bauman uses his experience to encourage others to seek help, speaking at events and conferences to raise awareness for suicide prevention. “I don’t do it for glory. I do it for the sole purpose to help somebody not to go down that path. That’s really all I care about,” said Bauman. He likens his experience to a C.S. Lewis quote: “‘I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.’ That sums up everything I have gone through in one sentence. It really resonates with me.”

Rise in suicides prompted by pandemic is met with lack of U.S. actionThe Washington Post
November 23, 2020
Christian Robbins, 16, recently died by suicide. Robbins had struggled with his mental health, and was supported by friends in the past. However, Robbins was separated physically from friends during the pandemic, and father Ted Robbins wonders if he would still be alive if he could have had that support. A recent US survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in August 2020 there was an increase in young people who said they had seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days when compared to young people who had been asked the same question in 2018. 25.5% of young adults said they had seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days in August 2020, while in 2018, 10.7% of young adults expressed serious thoughts of suicide.

Seek help if you need it, Metrolinx says following string of suicide attempts on GO systemThe Star
November 23, 2020
*Method warning* Metrolinx, a transportation network in Ontario, recently reported a spate of suicide attempts and deaths on the GO Transit rail network, and now they’re encouraging people to seek help if they are struggling. They recommend contacting ConnexOntario, a provincially-funded mental health services organization with 24/7 availability. They have also convened a suicide intervention group to help them prevent suicides on their network, trained station staff to recognize someone in crisis, and, as a deterrent to accessing the train tracks, installed specialized rubber mats at stations that are difficult to walk on.

Can an algorithm prevent suicide?New York Times
November 23, 2020
This article explores the efficacy of algorithms in suicide prevention and the idea that algorithms may be more accurate in predicting suicide risk than human beings. The Department of Veterans Affairs in the US has begun using an algorithm to assess suicide risk in veterans. The algorithm works by assessing factors like mental health diagnoses, substance abuse, employment and marital status, physical ailments, prescription history, and hospital visits.

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