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:

’13 Reasons Why’ impacts teens – CityTV Edmonton
A new study released last week surveyed teens, asking if they felt an increase in suicidal thoughts after watching the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why. Especially among those who identified with the main character who died by suicide, there was a reported increase. “If you’re already at risk and you have graphic depictions of suicide in front of you that can definitely increase your risk,” said Mara Grunau, executive director of Centre for Suicide Prevention.

Calgarians can provide a hand up to those in need through the Herald Christmas Fund – Calgary Herald
November 22, 2018
Every year, the Calgary Herald chooses 12 organizations for their Christmas Fund. Calgary Herald asks Calgarians to donate to the organizations, and this year, Centre for Suicide Prevention is honoured to have been chosen as one of those selected.

Suicide is declining almost everywhere – Economist 
November 24, 2018
Globally, the suicide rate has fallen 38% from its peak in 1994. This article proposes a number of factors in this reduction. The lives of Asian women, who have the highest rates in China and India, have been improved by urbanization. Many formerly Soviet countries have now “settled down”, and according to Olga Kalashnikova, a psychologist at the suicide and crisis-psychiatry department of Moscow City Hospital No 20, “Now people know how to get by, and how to get by without the state.” State intervention in alcohol use may have also contributed, as well as intervention in poverty reduction and means restriction.
Related – Why suicide is falling around the world, and how to bring it down more – Economist

Can an algorithm stop suicides by spotting the signs of despair? – Globe and Mail
November 24, 2018
Computer algorithms are being used to analyze online content (like social media posts) for warning signs of suicide. Dr. Zachary Kaminsky from the Royal Mental Health Centre in Ottawa is testing one such algorithm with the hopes that the algorithm could alert others of a person who is at risk and intervene with them before attempting suicide.

Japanese volunteers curb suicide, with kindness and pancakes – Economist
November 24, 2018
Yukio Shige and Misako Kawagoe run a suicide prevention centre in Japan, close to the cliffs on the Mikuni resort. Throughout the years, Shige and Kawagoe have seen many people come to the cliffs to die by suicide, and have intervened and helped 640 people so far.

‘An incredible window into the brain’: New treatments target severe depression – CBC
November 23, 2018
Magnetic seizure therapy (MST) is a new alternative to Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) as a treatment for severe depression. It’s now being tested on 150 patients at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto. “Hard-to-treat depression is a huge public health problem” says Dr. Jeff Daskalakis at CAMH’s Temerty Centre for therapeutic brain intervention. “The idea that we have treatments that could potentially rectify or improve their illness can be very reassuring to patients.”

Some jobs have high suicide rates, but that doesn’t mean they’re ‘suicide professions’ – Global 
November 22, 2018
A new report released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)has listed which professions have the highest rates of suicide. However, just because someone works in a profession with high suicide rates, this doesn’t mean they are more likely to think about suicide. Therefore, experts like psychiatrist Dr. Mark Sinyor argues, we shouldn’t assume causation. Instead, says Alison Caird, executive director of the Toronto Distress Centre, this information can be used to help people on a preventative level:  “If we know who is the most vulnerable in our community, we can reach out to that population. We know men are more likely to take their own lives, so we can target marketing strategies to those folks. We can prevent someone from doing this.”

Opinion: ‘Culture’ is not going to bring down the Indigenous suicide rate – Guardian
November 22, 2018
In this article, Dameyon Bonson, who works in Indigenous suicide prevention in Australia, argues that the “culture as suicide prevention mantra” is problematic, as the word “culture” is never clearly defined.

Gun Shops Work With Doctors To Prevent Suicide By Firearm – NPR
November 21, 2018
The Colorado Firearm Safety Coalition was founded by doctors, public health researchers and gun shop owners and has the motto “fighting suicide, together.” “If you want to reduce suicide deaths, you have to talk about firearms,” Dr. Emmy Betz, ER physician and public health researcher says. “And if you want to reduce firearm deaths, you have to talk about suicide. They are so linked in this country. And when we talk with patients, it should not be about Second Amendment rights. It should not be about politics.That has no place in the exam room. This should really be about home safety.”

Suicide: Study finds 4 genes that may raise risk – Medical News Today
November 20, 2018
A new study has found that there are four genetic variants that may increase suicide risk. Modern genome sequencing techniques have been used to find the genetic factors. The four genetic variations found to possibly raise the risk of suicide-related death were SP110, AGBL2, SUCLA2, and APH1B. The study was limited, though, in that most people were from Northern European ancestry. Study author Hilary Coon, PhD,  professor of psychiatry at University of Utah, notes that, “Clearly genetics is only one part of [the] risk when it comes to suicide […] But we are hoping these discoveries will lead us to highly susceptible individuals so we can develop better interventions to help them circumvent this risk.”

Mel B opens up about her suicide attempt in 2014 – Cosmopolitan
November 19, 2018
Spice Girl Melanie Brown (Mel B) has opened up in her memoir, Brutally Honest, about her suicide attempt in 2014. At the time, Brown was in a emotionally and physically abusive relationship.

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