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:

WalMart ‘Suicide Scar Wound’ costume provokes outrageSnopes
Oct. 22, 2016
WalMart has removed ‘suicide scar wound’ Halloween costume latex make-up from its shelves, following public outrage started by the post ‘Hey Wal-Mart, suicide is not a costume’ on the Scary Mommy blog. The make-up is offered by a third-party vendor, and was also available on other websites, but has since been removed.

Ottawa not funding enough mental-health workers after suicides: NDPGlobe and Mail
Oct. 21, 2016
Charlie Angus, NDP critic for Indigenous and Northern Affairs, and MP for the northern Ontario riding where Attawapiskat is located, has criticized the government for failing to address the mental health issues of Indigenous people. “Until we start to see that willingness to move a major, major response and a commitment and an engagement with the communities to put children first, we’re just repeating the ‘60s scoop. We’re repeating the residential schools. And we’re repeating the failure in this generation in community after community,” said Angus.

‘People should know’: Sisters open up about 13-year-old brother’s suicide in Fort Albany CBC
Oct. 20, 2016
Garrett Tomagatick is the fourth person to die by suicide in the community of Fort Albany in northern Ontario this year. Tomagatick was only 14 when he died; his death follows that of a 13-year-old girl. Tomagatick’s sisters are speaking out about his death,  saying “it can be hard for people in their tight-knit reserve to reach out for assistance because rumours spread quickly like a ‘gossip trail.'”

Saskatchewan First Nations facing ‘state of crisis’ after 4 youth suicides – CBC
Oct. 20, 2016
Following the suicides of “four young children”, all girls, from northern Saskatchewan communities, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indigenous Nations (FSIN) has said it is in a “state of crisis.” The FSIN is coordinating an action plan with community leaders and youth to help prevent suicides. FSIN felt strongly that youth should be heavily involved in any plan development, and that a commitment from the federal and provincial governments is needed.

‘When anyone takes their life, we’re all touched by it’: Artist hopes to raise awareness of Inuit suicide with four huge paintingsVancouver Sun
Oct. 20, 2016
Inuit artist Elisapee Ishulutaq, 91, has completed a series of 4 large paintings entitled ‘In His Memory’ about a boy who killed himself, based on Ishulutaq’s memory of a suicide that happened in the 1990s. “I drew this because I don’t want this to happen to others again… I wanted to show that when anyone takes their life, we’re all touched by it,” said Ishulutaq. The works are meant to raise awareness for the issue of Inuit suicide and are are currently on display in the Marion Scott Gallery on south Granville in Vancouver.

Rash of suicides in northern Sask. a tragedy: TrudeauCTV
Oct. 19, 2016
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has responded to the recent suicide deaths of four young girls in northern Saskatchewan communities, saying “It’s obviously a tremendous tragedy in Saskatchewan that happens all too often, too many young people losing their lives,” and, “We continue to be committed to working with indigenous communities across the country to deal with this ever-occurring tragedy.”

‘We Matter’ campaign speaks directly to Indigenous youth contemplating suicideCBC
Oct. 19, 2016
Brother and sister team Tunchai and Kelvin Redvers from the Northwest Territories have started a campaign directed specifically towards Indigenous youth who are feeling suicidal. The campaign encourages people to leave video messages telling their stories, and expressing support for Indigenous youth. So far 20 videos have been posted, by Indigenous teens themselves as well as well-known people such as Joseph Boyden and Don Burnstick.”By sharing our voices, by everybody standing up and sharing their own stories and their own messages… we think we can really help people that are feeling alone,” Kelvin Redvers said.

Northern Saskatchewan communities in shock as 4th girl takes own lifeCBC
Oct. 18, 2016
Yet another girl has died by suicide in northern Saskatchewan; she is the fourth to die in less than a week. This girl is the youngest of the four at just 10 year old. She was from Deschambault Lake, which is in the same region as the other two communities, those of La Ronge and Stanley Mission. The communities are now working together to figure out what can be done to prevent more suicides from happening.

Bigger conversation about Indigenous suicides needs to happen: RecolletCBC
Oct. 17, 2016
Statistics Canada released a report earlier this month that emphasizes the fact that Indigenous young adults are much two times more likely than non-Indigenous young adults to have thoughts of suicide. Angela Recollet, executive director of the Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre in Sudbury, ON, says that the mainstream Canadian population needs to be educated about the Indigenous population in order for things to really change. “I believe very strongly that mainstream society is now at a turning point where they have education to those true facts in history and that we all have to create a safe place of belonging for our youth,” Recollet said. “I think the more important conversation to be had is not about the stats, it’s about the realities of suicides and the conditions within our communities both on and off reserve.”

People come together following loss of 3 girls in northern SaskatchewanCBC
Oct. 15, 2016
Two northern Saskatchewan communities have experienced the tragic suicides of three girls in just four days, all between the ages of 12 and 14. Karen Sanderson, executive director of the Piwapan Women’s Centre in one of the communities affected, La Ronge, said that while the girls were surrounded by supportive people, the community as a whole is missing things like suicide and crisis intervention services. “When it comes to supports in the community, Sanderson said something is needed long term, as quick fixes aren’t working.”

Government of Canada Announces Mental Wellness help line for Indigenous peoplesGovernment of Canada
Oct. 17, 2016
On Oct. 1, the Government of Canada launched a help line for First Nations and Inuit people. The help line “provides immediate, culturally competent, telephone crisis intervention counselling support for First Nations and Inuit, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

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