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Canada is slipping too far down the slope of death on demandToronto Star

October 20, 2023

Conservative Member of Parliament Ed Fast has proposed a bill that would repeal access to MAID for people solely suffering from a mental illness. The bill was voted down. The expansion of MAID remains slated to go into effect in March 2024. Many mental health experts believe there are not adequate safeguards in place, or whether clinicians can readily determine if a person’s mental condition can be successfully treated, or if there is even adequate access to mental health care in our country. There is agreement among all parties to recall the special parliamentary joint committee on MAID to provide further guidance on how to expand it to people with mental illness. They are expected to report back to Parliament in three months.

Decriminalising suicide in Africa: A path to protecting future generationsThe Voice

October 19, 2023

Lady Dentaa Amoateng, a nurse and advocate for suicide prevention in Ghana, writes about the alarming suicide rate in her home country. She believes that Africa’s suicide crisis must be urgently addressed and the most effective action that many countries can take is to follow Ghana’s example and decriminalize suicide. Many nations still consider suicide a crime. She writes that “Decriminalisation is not merely a legal reform; it fosters a far more effective prevention environment, with the WHO and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) both recognizing its importance in tackling the mental health crisis”. Through decriminalization, compassion and assistance replace punishment as objectives, allowing for the establishment of essential services like crisis lines and other supports, she adds.

CMHA Waterloo Wellington mental-health survey brings ‘valuable insight’Cambridge Times

October 18, 2023

This is a commentary by Helen Fishburn, CEO of CMHA Waterloo Wellington in Ontario, describing a survey her organization undertook of Guelph/Wellington County and Waterloo Region residents about their mental health and well-being. Their findings included: 92 per cent of residents believe municipal governments need to prioritize mental health and well-being for their residents and 7 out of 10 have accessed mental health services for themselves or for someone else in their immediate family. Fishburn writes that there is “incredible need for local mental-health services, and it’s encouraging to see so many people are accessing the help they need”. The survey also revealed that residents favour food security, affordable housing, and personal safety over mental health service access. Fishburn observes that there is a direct link between these issues and mental health and opines that “bold, courageous leadership from elected officials and healthcare and social service leaders” is needed to address the mental health crisis.

Suicide prevention patrol: ‘We said hello. There was no response. The next thing, she was in the water’Irish Times

October 15, 2023

The Limerick Treaty Suicide Prevention (LTSP) organization is a volunteer group which patrols the river Liffey, which runs through Limerick. They keep watch over the river’s bridges and riverbanks to intervene with those who may be in the act of attempting suicide or contemplating it.

New research report uncovers issues faced by 2SLGBTQ+ people of faithFinancial Post

October 16, 2023

Rainbow Faith and Freedom (RFF) is a Canadian organization that addresses religious-based 2SLGBTQ+ homophobia. They have released a research project called Worshipping With Love which looks at this phenomenon. Their report has found that 54% of 2SLGBTQ+ people have experienced homophobia or transphobia in their place(s) of worship, and 44% of respondents aged 18 to 24 report that religion has been used as a justification for homophobia or transphobia directed at them or someone in their presence.

Suicide-prevention program teaches Alaska students how to identify their own strengthAlaska Public Media

October 16, 2023

Student leaders from grades 6 through 12 from 18 communities across Alaska met to talk about the strengths of students. It is part of a suicide prevention program called Sources of Strength. The leaders will be responsible for delivering the lessons learned from this summit to their peers in their home communities. “The program teaches students to identify the factors that make them resilient, and shows them how to create their own pathways to healing in times of stress or trauma”.  Alaska has very high rates of suicide, particularly among many of their Indigenous communities. Interestingly, the word suicide is not mentioned at all in the program. Rather, it focuses on resiliency and personal values.