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:

‘We’re sick of being in pain’: Suicide still devastating NunavutCTV News
December 2, 2021
Joseph Ashoona and Deion Pearce, two young people living in Iqaluit, are founding members of Nunavut Youth Leaders, the group who organized a protest to raise awareness for the issue of youth suicide in Nunavut last month. Pearce explains, “This is enough, we’re drawing the line here. We’ve lost too many friends, close friends [and] family members.” Ashoona says, “We just decided this is our time to speak up and the whole world needs to know how we are treated because it’s not right…its unfair how we are being forced to live.” Recently, in addition to long-standing housing, health, mental health and suicide crises, and the COVID-19 pandemic, Iqaluit has dealt with a water crisis. The suicide rate among Inuit is 9 times higher than that of the general population. Ashoona says, “We’re now in 2021, going to 2022 and next month, and we still face the same common death — suicide. We were wondering why Canada is not doing anything to improve [the fact] their own people are dying from suicide.” Action is being taken to prevent suicide through the Nunavut Suicide Prevention Strategy, which includes funding for communities and mobile counselling services. Ashoona and Pearce say they’re grateful for the services that are available but still see issues – they want more permanent, culturally-relevant and Inuktitut-speaking counsellors and language resources.
Related – ‘It’s unbearable’: Nunavut still experiencing a suicide epidemic, 6 years after crisis was declaredCTV News

Black men are dying by suicide at increasing rates in Colorado. Here’s how one Denverite wants to help.Denver Post
December 2, 2021
Halim Ali founded non-profit From the Heart Enterprises to help young Black men address mental health issues and issues that might impact their mental health or lead to thoughts of suicide, such as trauma and anger. In the state of Colorado, suicide rates for Black men have nearly doubled since 2013 – the rate is now 20.2 per 100,000, which is higher than the average American rate of 13.93. Ali’s organization along with two others will host full day sessions for young men. Ali says, “The goal is to let all of our men know of the services we provide and to create an open space where men feel like they can talk. I want them to know it’s OK to hurt. It’s OK to cry.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ali says, young people have faced additional complications, including more limited service access, and demand for mental health services among young Black men has increased significantly.

Take a STAND: How to combat suicide in construction Construction Dive
December 2, 2021
This article talks about tangible ways suicide can be prevented on construction job sites. Construction workers have a suicide rate higher than the general population and, as an industry, have some of the highest rates. “A stoic, independent, tough-guy mentality, may keep workers from seeking help. Others may not offer help because they don’t feel comfortable intervening,” said Michelle Walker of the Construction Financial Management Association. Recommendations for suicide prevention on job sites include: implementing a suicide prevention program, building in a “network of safety” that includes workers trained in suicide awareness and intervention, and creating a culture where workers feels safe to ask for help.
Learn more about workplace suicide prevention.

Seoul sets up AI-based CCTV control tower to prevent suicide on river bridgesAju Business Daily
December 2, 2021
**Terminology warning, use of ‘commit’ and judgment words for people who attempt suicide** CCTV’s have been set up at various points along the bridges crossing the Han River in Seoul, South Korea, in an effort to prevent suicide in those areas, which are hot spots. The CCTV feeds will be monitored using AI technologies to identify behavoiurs that that might indicate a person is distressed, at which point first responders will be notified of that person’s location and help will be sent. Choi Tae-young, Seoul’s emergency headquarters head, said, “We predict that this control tower based on information communication technology will help emergency workers quickly counteract suicide.”

USask PhD student uses computer modelling to better understand and predict suicideUniversity of Saskatchewan
December 1, 2021
Rifat Zahan, a University of Saskatchewan (USask) graduate student, is developing computation dynamic simulation models to study suicide and suicidal behaviours through Department of Computer Sciences in an attempt to understand the efficacy of suicide interventions. “Systems science models have long been used in infectious disease modelling, consumer behaviour, health-care delivery, operations research and business, but using such a tool in the domain of suicide is very limited,” Zahan said. “That’s why I chose to use a systems science approach to model the complex system of suicide.” Suicide prevention is an issue important to Zahan, who is from Bangladesh and says, “The culture I am coming from still suffers from different stigma associated with mental health and, especially, suicide. I have had friends, relatives and colleagues who were either directly or indirectly impacted by self-harm behaviours. In my community, I try to strongly advocate for mental health and well-being.”

‘It’s life-saving’: Addressing pandemic backlog in gender-affirming surgeries crucial for trans community, expert saysCTV News
November 30, 2021
Many gender-affirming surgeries have been postponed due to the pandemic, surgeries which can be life-saving for transgender and gender diverse people. Jack Woodman, Vice President of Strategy and lead for sexual and gender health programming at the Women’s College Hospital said, “For those that do [get surgery], it just really improves their mental health and quality of life and (advocate and actor) Elliot Page is absolutely right – it can be life-saving. Throughout COVID-19 we have seen so many inequities exposed and exacerbated and transgender healthcare has been one of the big ones. There’s already really limited access points for gender-affirming and related surgeries… so the pandemic didn’t create just a new burdensome waitlist for these surgeries, it exacerbated a really serious issue that already existed.”

Largest genetic study of suicide attempts confirms genetic underpinnings that are not driven by underlying psychiatric disorders EurekAlert!
November 30, 2021
The largest genetic study of suicide attempts to date has recently been released, and data indicates that there is a commonly found genome with DNA variations that may increase the likelihood that a person may attempt suicide. It was also found that there is an overlap in genetics related to suicide attempts and related mental illnesses. “This study is an exciting advancement of our understanding of how the genetics of suicide attempt relate to that of psychiatric and non-psychiatric risk factors,” said co-lead author of the study JooEun Kang of Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Alberta statistics indicate that suicide rate has decreased slightly since the pandemic startedGlobal News
November 27, 2021
Saturday, November 27, people in Calgary gathered virtually to remember those they’ve lost to suicide, in an event hosted by Canadian Mental Health Association – Calgary for People Impacted by Suicide Loss Day, which takes place every year on November 21. Greg Duhaney spoke about the loss of his brother Kevin Duhaney, 33, who died by suicide in 2012. Duhaney explains, “I didn’t experience anger, but I did experience a lot of self-blame and guilt. I had to revisit all those moments where I felt like it was my fault for where he ended up, but really ultimately, it was out of my control.” In Alberta, suicide rates have slightly decreased since the outset of the pandemic. Calgary board president of the Canadian Mental Health Association Dr. Michael Trew says, “I think at this point, we are left more with speculation than with anything else” and explains that the slight decrease could be due to a “collective sense of purpose and pulling together.” Suicide rates, according to research, tend to increase in the years following a crisis. Trew says, “There is a lag. Often a year or two before you actually see it emerging in the statistics. Whether we see something like that, I guess time will tell.”

Fund captures the spirit of giving to help our most vulnerableCalgary Herald
November 26, 2021
Centre for Suicide Prevention is honoured once again to be included among the 75 organizations featured in the Calgary Herald Christmas Fund. As in 2020, all funds raised will go towards Buddy Up: a suicide prevention campaign that promotes authentic conversations between men and their buddies. Donations can be made directly through the CSP website. All funds donated tomorrow, November 30, Giving Tuesday, will also go directly towards the Buddy Up campaign.

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