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:
After a suicide attempt, the risk of another try – New York Times
Nov. 7, 2016
This article busts the myth that those who attempt suicide are not likely to attempt again, and exposes the fact that “within the first three months to a year following a suicide attempt, people are at highest risk of a second attempt.”
‘I feel happiness now’: Men stand up against suicide through art – CTV
Nov. 6, 2016
‘Still Here’ is a project by Man-Up Against Suicide, a UBC Men’s Health Initiative. This week in Vancouver, the art of 30 gay and bisexual men affected by suicide will be displayed as part of the initiative. “Part of Man Up Against Suicide is to work with gay and bisexual men who have struggled with depression and suicide or who have lost a male in their lives to suicide,” said Foster Eastman, an artist and project facilitator. “Art does open up dialogue, and makes people feel comfortable to talk about something that is very difficult to talk about.”
Honours delayed for veterans and soldiers who are dying by suicide – Globe and Mail
Nov. 4, 2016
Families of soldiers lost to suicide have to wait longer than those who have lost their loved ones in the line of duty to receive the Memorial Cross, and to have their loved one’s name inscribed on memorials, both of which happen after a soldier has died in battle. This is due to the fact that the deaths need to be “obviously related to service.”
Suicide toll reveals how system failed Canada’s soldiers and veterans – Globe and Mail
Nov. 4, 2016
31 veterans of the Afghanistan war lost their lives to suicide. Now the families have spoken out about the deaths as part of a Globe and Mail investigation into military suicides. The Globe found that 14 of the 31 had been diagnosed with PTSD, while 10 others had symptoms of PTSD but had never been diagnosed. 22 received mental health treatment after deployment, and 22 also used alcohol excessively.
Behind the story: How the Globe set out to commemorate Afghanistan war veterans lost to suicide – Globe and Mail
Nov. 3, 2016
Last year, the Globe and Mail investigated soldier and veteran suicides in The Unremembered series. The investigation revealed that an additional 54 soldiers had died by suicide who were not part of the original death toll count for the war in Afghanistan. The Globe has found that this number has climbed to 70, and no government or military plans are in place to remember them, so the Globe has commemorated the 31 soldiers whose families agreed to commemoration on the Unremembered website. Each soldier is profiled with pictures, general information, and information about their struggles with mental health.
Finding solutions to the youth suicide crisis in Saskatchewan – CBC
Nov. 3, 2016
Carey O’Soup, Saskatchwan’s new child advocate, has prioritized youth suicide and says, “We need to listen to the students, to the kids, to the children … they’re the ones that are going to tell us, you know what’s happening, and why things are the way they are.” Researcher Christopher Lalonde explains protective factors for Indigenous communities, factors which include things like self-government and control over community services.
Young adolescents as likely to die from suicide as from traffic accidents – New York Times
Nov. 3, 2016
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report last week that found that in 2014, the rate for suicide in youth 10-14 matched that of the rate for traffic collisions deaths. In Canada in 2012, 34 youth 10-14 died by suicide while 35 died in traffic collisions.
Military college under microscope over suicide, sexual misconduct reports – iPolitics
Nov. 2, 2016
The Royal Military College of Canada has been ordered to have a complete review by Senior Canadian Armed Forces commanders after three sudden deaths, suspected to be suicides, took place within three months of one another.
Suicide numbers continue to concern police chief – Medicine Hat News
Nov. 2, 2016
Medicine Hat has confirmed 7 suicides so far for 2016, and another 68 attempts. This number is down from 2014, when the city confirmed 12 suicides and from 2015 when there were 10. Police Chief Andy McGrogan said that “There may be a range of contributing factors including the economy and unemployment, ‘but drug and alcohol abuse are huge.'”
Saskatchewan’s new children’s advocate making suicide crisis his top priority – Global
Nov. 2, 2016
Carey O’Soup has been appointed as Saskatchwan’s new child advocate, and he has promised to make suicide a priority. “O’Soup said long-term solutions could include better mental health supports and education for youth and parents.”
Teen’s suicide prompts calls for changes to child sexual exploitation law – CBC
Nov. 1, 2016
The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate of Alberta released a report of findings of an investigation into the death of a 17-year-old, who died by suicide five months after child intervention services “ended involvement with her.” Prior to her suicide, the girl had “intimate relationships with adult men she met online”, leading to the recommendation that the government review child exploitation laws that focus on prostitution. Human Services Minister Irfan Sabir said that the provincial government is committed to working with Child and Youth Advocate Del Graff and that the government has accepted recommendations from the report, as well as a report released earlier this year about youth suicide. Of the 34 recommendations the report made, the government has acted on 8. Graff says that “From my point of view, that’s just not sufficient,” Graff said. “And the urgency is about the horrendous impact of youth suicide for families, for communities, for our province.”
Opinion: Putting Indigenous communities under suicide watch is no answer – Globe and Mail
Nov. 1, 2016
In this opinion piece Andre Picard, public health reporter for the Globe and Mail, argues that it is not helpful when media reports Indigenous suicides as numbers, as this could incite contagion. Communities that experience high numbers of suicides are listened to by the government, but usually crisis responses are short lived. Picard cites the research of Christopher Lalonde, a University of Victoria psychology professor who has studied First Nations suicide for over 20 years. Lalonde found that the main difference between communities with high rates and communities with zero or low rates of suicide was cultural continuity – control over health and education services, strong cultural practices, self-government, and title over land.
Sask. NDP calls for action after another Indigenous girl dies of suicide – CTV
Oct. 31, 2016
Yet another girl has died by suicide in Northern Saskatchewan; the sixth in just one month. Premier Brad Wall says his government has been working to support the communities, setting up a centre to coordinate mental health service delivery earlier in the month.
Nunavut counsellors see drum making as way to help students heal – CBC
Oct. 30, 2016
Last week, the Canadian Association of Suicide Prevention held their annual conference in Iqaluit, Nunavut, and invited people who have found healthy ways of healing from a loss or mental health issue to share them at the conference. David Serkoak talks about the impact drumming has had on his life, “Whether I am tired or not tried, hungry or not, because of my family history [drumming]… also gave me strength… And I know if it can heal me or help me, it can also heal someone else.” Many other healing strategies came out of last week’s suicide prevention conference in Iqaluit, Nunavut including sewing and jewelry classes.
TTC warns suicide attempts on subway system driving employee absenteeism – CBC
Oct. 29, 2016
The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has said that they suspect suicide attempts on the subway system could contribute to a rise in employee absenteeism. The good news is that there was a decrease in the number of suicide attempts on the subway and in 2015 11 people died compared to 26 in 2014. “The TTC calls suicide attempts ‘priority one’ incidents and CEO Andy Byford said the trauma is difficult for everyone involved.” Councillor Shelley Carroll is a member of the TTC board, and she believes that employees are not using the counselling offered after witnessing a traumatic incident. “We do have an employee assistance program. There is psychological counselling and assistance available,” said Carroll.