Hello Friends,

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:

Leafs forward Nic Petan and his family open up about the loss of his father to suicideCTV
November 15, 2019
Franc Petan, 56, died by suicide on September 19, 2018. In this video, Franc’s family, including son Nic, Toronto Maple Leafs forward, and Alex, hockey player in the European league, talk about their memories of him, and how they’ve coped with his suicide. They started to notice a change in Franc after he sold his beloved restaurant. A few months later, he attempted suicide. With son Alex, Franc went to  seek help and was shortly thereafter diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He started medical treatment and seemed to be doing much better, enjoying a family holiday with Alex and Nic. Following the trip, Franc died by suicide, and since, Alex, Nic, and their mother, Rosanna, have been on a grief journey, part of which included a golf tournament fundraiser for the Canadian Mental Health Association. 

9 Things All Parents Should Know About Teens and SuicideSelf 
November 15, 2019
This article dispels myths and presents facts to parents wondering about teens and suicide. It talks about the fact that asking about suicide doesn’t increase the risk of suicide, and that there are many observable warning signs of suicide, such as expressing hopelessness and going through significant life transitions.

Suicide rates fall after gay marriage legalised in Sweden and DenmarkGuardian
November 14, 2019
A new study by the Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention and Stockholm University has found that since legalizing gay marriage (Sweden in 2009, Denmark in 2012) suicide rates among people in same-sex relationships have fallen in Sweden and Denmark, however, they are still more likely to die by suicide than people in heterosexual relationships. “Although suicide rates in the general populations of Denmark and Sweden have been decreasing in recent decades, the rate for those living in same-sex marriage declined at a steeper pace, which has not been noted previously,” said researchers. Annette Erlangsen, lead author of the study, suggested that this decline could be attributed to the fact that, coupled with other gay rights legislation, legalization of gay marriage may have reduced feelings of social stigmatization among some gay people. As well, marriage is a protective factor against suicide.

Beyond ‘I’m OK’: The conversation men need about suicideEdmonton Sun
November 13, 2019
Middle-aged men die by suicide more often than any other group – for every one female suicide, there are three male suicides. Stigma is still a barrier to men thinking about suicide. They may face stigma with their family, their physicians, or their friends, and stigma reduction is crucial to building the trust required for a person to discuss their thoughts of suicide. “The reduction of stigma is really designed to let people know it’s OK to reach out for help, it’s OK to talk to your doctor, it’s OK to start this process,” said Jag Atwal, who works with the Alberta Health Services and organizations Edmonton’s first annual Breaking the Silence event to promote local mental health services and educate people. “In the field, you’ll hear that ‘men don’t talk,’” says long-time City of Edmonton social worker Dean McKellar. McKellar says men talk, they just talk differently. “If you ask a guy ‘how are you,’ you are going to have to ask him three or four — maybe even five times — and each time you’ll get a different level of response.” McKellar believes that building trusting relationships is key, as well as not rushing the conversation. “It’s about working with men instead of working on men, about engaging men where they’re at and letting them determine the pace of engagement,” said McKellar.

Family suicides in Turkey speak of a society that has lost hopeGuardian
November 13, 2019
Since 2012, the suicide rate in Turkey has increased drastically, but coverage of the issue has been “extremely judgmental and politicized…in which the victims were accused, shamed, and sentenced one last time. Stripped of any empathy or context the suicide was regarded as a rebellion against god…” Nuanced and informed conversation around the rise in suicides seems difficult – those who discuss socioeconomic factors in relation to the risk of suicide in Turkey are accused of being “betrayers” and it has been suggested that Turkey punish academics and economists who do so.

How a student seeking mental-health treatment got handcuffed by U of T policeCBC
November 13, 2019
A student at the University of Toronto Mississauga campus has told CBC news that she was handcuffed by campus police while at the Health and Counselling Centre to see someone about her thoughts of suicide. Five days earlier, a student died by suicide at the downtown campus. After developing a safety plan, the student was told by a nurse at the centre that they needed to speak with campus police briefly before she could leave. She told the officers where she had thought she would go to die by suicide, and they told her they would need to arrest her.

Province urged to call inquiry into death of 12-year-old Toronto boy who police say died by suicideToronto Star
November 12, 2019
Arka Chakraborty, 12, died by suicide earlier this year. He moved to Canada last year from India with his mother, Durba Mukherjee. Chakraborty was described as an “ideal student” who was “loved by his friends and was always eager to help them,” but he reported incidents of physical and verbal bullying to his mother, who brought the incidents to the attention of the school. After getting into a fight with another student and going to hospital as a result, Chakraborty died by suicide, leaving behind a note that said he felt that no one would miss him because he didn’t have any friends. In a letter to the premier, Mukherjee’s lawyer, Barry Swadron, alleges that the school did not handle the situation well, and is asking for an inquiry into his death. Chakraborty’s school says they’re keeping the details of their investigation into the death private. 

‘Horrific’ level of stigma: biggest barrier to suicide prevention is discriminationGuardian
November 12, 2019
Christine Morgan, chief executive of Australia’s National Mental Health Commission, was appointed by the Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, to put forward recommendations for suicide prevention. Morgan told Morrison that her organization is finding stigma is still a significant barrier faced by Australians who are thinking about suicide. “When you are looking at somebody wanting to talk about their suicidation, they need to feel safe,” Morgan said. “They need to talk to somebody and not be judged for it so they can open up and reach out for support – but the barriers are very real. This is a much, much bigger issue than I had realized.” Last Wednesday, a suicide prevention summit was held in Canberra at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, who heard from 100 invitees, some experts, some with lived experience, about suicide and its prevention.

Suicide prevention: Portishead barbers aim to ‘cut’ male suicide BBC
November 12, 2019
Bosscut Barbers in the UK has been set up by Martin and Caroline Brittaine, who have struggled with severe depression, in an attempt to create an environment where clients feel comfortable opening up about their issues. Sessions were held to train the barbers in how to support their clients. Bosscut Barbers is part of the Lions Barber Collective, a campaign to raise awareness for men’s physical and mental health. Tom Chapman, founder of The Lions Barber collective, said, “We are in a unique position to help our clients, They share aspects of their lives with us, then walk out leaving it behind knowing it goes no further.”

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