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:

Investigation: Tortured MindGlobal
Nov. 13, 2016
Centre for Suicide Prevention’s Karin Lavoie was interviewed as part of this piece on the failings of schools in Ontario to properly address mental health issues in students across the province. The piece profiles students who have struggled with mental health issues and who have lost friends to suicide. Mainly, though, the article brings attention to the fact that Ontario has experienced an increase in the suicides of youth ages 10-19. In 2013, there were 54 suicides, while 81 suicides were reported in 2014.

Dallaire asks commanders to get more involved in preventing suicides of soldiersGlobe and Mail
Nov. 13, 2016
Retired Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire is calling on military commanders to become more involved in the prevention of soldier suicides. Dallaire said commanders have a vital role to play in suicide prevention, “It is by simply observing people and being with them and noticing them – and the chain of command has that responsibility in garrison as much as in the field – that we will reduce the [suicide] numbers significantly.”

Amid youth suicide crisis, letter-writing campaign connects with indigenous youth CTV
Nov. 12, 2016
Fran Forsberg, foster parent and children’s rights advocate, suggested via her Facebook page that people write and send letters of support to the youth in northern Saskatchewan communities who have recently experienced a high number of suicides.Over 2,000 cards and letters have already been sent. “The children up in these northern communities need to know that their lives matter,” said Forsberg on Facebook. “I ask that you take a few minutes of your time to a write a card or letter of encouragement to these youth. Answer the call to know we are all connected, that they are loved, that they are not alone.”

Leaders meet over First Nations suicide crisis in SaskatchewanCTV
Nov. 11, 2016
Brad Wall, Premier of Saskatchewan, and First Nations leaders in La Ronge, Saskatchewan, met last week to discuss a long-term plan to prevent suicides in the northern communities of the province, who hae recently experienced several suicides in a short period of time. “In the short-term, the province has deployed more than a dozen mental health therapists and offered new training to local teachers. One part of the long-term plan to combat the crisis is a $17 million treatment, addictions recovery and fitness centre, but it’s not yet clear whether it will be funded.”

Ottawa using consultations to delay action on suicide problem, veterans sayGlobe and Mail
Nov. 10, 2016
Former mental health advisers to Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr have said that they believe “an information vacuum, bureaucratic intransigence and a lack of leadership are stalling action to combat a growing suicide problem,” according to this Globe article. Brian McKenna, a veteran on the consultation committee says, “It needs to be shown to us this committee is going to have some bite and it’s not just going to provide top-cover to this government to do nothing and be able to say, ‘Look, we consulted the veterans.’”

At suicide hotlines, the first 24 hours of Trump’s America have been full of fear Washington Post
Nov. 10, 2016
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the US received 2.5 times the average amount of calls during the American election and while results were coming in. “We didn’t see numbers like this in 2008 or 2012,” Lifeline director John Draper told The Washington Post. “This was an extraordinary year by any stretch of the imagination.” The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention hotline for LGBTQ youth, also received a high increase in calls which lasted through the next day after the results had been announced.

PTSD service dogs to be named after veterans and first respondersCBC
Nov. 7, 2016
Hope Heels, an Edmonton organization that provides sufferers of PTSD with service dogs has named future service dogs after veterans lost to suicide in an act of commemoration. Kristine Aanderson, board chair of Hope Heels, said, “We wanted to try to contribute in one small way to ensure that the service of these men and women isn’t forgotten.”

Suicide prevention fence being installed on Burrard Bridge this weekThe Province
Nov. 7, 2016
The Burrard Bridge in Vancouver will see the addition of a $3.5 million suicide barrier fence, the installation of which will began last week. “We applaud the City of Vancouver for adding the barriers,” Vancouver Coastal Health Medical Health Officer Dr. Emily Newhouse said in a city release. “This new fencing will save lives. The research shows that suicide attempts from bridges are impulsive. Generally, if someone is prevented from jumping off a bridge, they don’t try other means of killing themselves.”

Suicides of Afghanistan war vets reinforce calls to fix casualty support unitGlobe and Mail
Nov. 6, 2016
8 veterans who lost their lives to suicide were treated for mental illness in a casualty support unit, The Joint Personnel Support Unit, which was criticized for lack of staff support, resources, and training. This unit is often the “last stop” for a soldier before they are released from service. These deaths “underscore the extreme vulnerability of some soldiers in the JPSU and reinforce calls to fix the ailing casualty support program, which has been under review for more than a year.”

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