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:

Suicide becomes Movember topic as more middle-aged men die in ‘disturbing trend’ CBC
Nov. 20, 2016
This Movember focus is on men’s suicide – more middle-aged men die by suicide in Canada, the US, and the UK, than any other demographic – but this can be prevented. Sharon Basaraba is a syndicated health reporter and has noticed some trends, including that married men are less likely to die by suicide: “The idea is they have a built-in social network. Single men are much more likely to die from suicide statistically than men who are married, followed by men who have lost a spouse or are divorced. The suicide rate is twice as high between the ages of 40 and 60 or so for men who are widowed or divorced than it is for those that are widowed or divorced at other ages.”

Survivor Day 
Nov. 19, 2016
International Survivors of Suicide Loss (ISOSL) Day took place this past Sunday. ISOSL Day is a day of support for people who have lost someone to suicide.

Teen suicide rate 3 times higher in Winnipeg’s inner city, study showsCBC
Nov. 17, 2016
Last Thursday, a report was released by the University of Manitoba Rady Faculty of Health Sciences entitled The Mental Health of Manitoba’s Children. The report found that kids ages 13-19 in inner-city Winnipeg had a suicide rate 3 times that of their peers living in other parts of the city. Winnipeg has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the country, but the downtown area has higher rates of food insecurity and less affordable housing, and higher rates of teen pregnancy and lower rates of high school graduation than other parts of the city. The rate of suicide in youth ages 13-19 in the inner city is 156.8 per 100,000 as compared to the overall city rate of 45.4.

What do we know about suicide? Not nearly enoughHarvard Gazette 
Nov. 17, 2016
A new paper has looked at 365 studies of suicide risk factors spanning the past 50 years. The findings were that risk factors must be looked at together as a collective, instead of individually. “Most studies have looked at one factor at a time, like what’s the effect of depression on suicide, or what’s the effect of alcohol or substance abuse on suicide,” Dr. Matthew Nock, senior author of the paper said. “The problem is that, as a field, we haven’t done a good enough job testing the effects of combining multiple factors together. We’re using the same predictors, but we’re not getting any better.”

Cyberbullying, social networking, and suicidal behaviour in adolescents SPRC
A new study of Canadian youth published in European Psychiatry has found that adolescents ages 11-20 who use social networking sites were at higher risk for becoming victims of cyberbullying leading to psychological distress, which therefore placed them at higher risk for suicide ideation and attempts. “The authors also identified two important topics for further research: (1) additional factors that may explain the risk of suicidal ideation among young people who use social networking sites, and (2) the mechanisms connecting cyberbullying to the risk of suicidal behaviors. They suggested that adolescents who use social networking sites to cope with loneliness and depression may be more vulnerable to victimization by cyberbullies”

My colleague’s suicide showed how vulnerable medical professionals can beGuardian
Nov. 17, 2016
This anonymous piece, written by an emergency room nurse who lost a colleague to suicide, speaks to the immense pressure felt by ER staff, and the fact that many die by suicide.The piece also speaks to the camaraderie of colleagues in a hospital and the support they can provide for one another. “The secrets within the hospital walls bonding us together are the same web, that when one of us succumbs to the beast of depression, is torn apart forever.”

Marijuana appears to benefit mental health: studyTIME
Nov. 16, 2016
A new study published in the Clinical Psychology Review has found that people with social anxiety, PTSD, and depression can likely benefit from the use of marijuana. It was found, however, that in people with bipolar disorder, the substance had more negative side effects than positive ones. “This is a substance that has potential use for mental health,” says Zach Walsh, an associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia. “We should be looking at it in the same way [as other drugs] and be holding it up to the same standard.” It also seems as though it may help people recovering from addiction, though more study is needed.

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