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:

UK dads who lost their daughters to suicide finish 300-mile walkGuardian
October 23, 2021
A group of three men who lost their daughters to suicide finished their 300 mile walk across England to raise awareness for suicide prevention. The ‘Three Dads Walking’ are Andy Airey who lost daughter Sophie, 29, in 2018; Mike Palmer who lost daughter Beth, 17, in March 2020; and Tim Owen who lost daughter Emily, 18, in March 2020. After crossing the finish line Airey said, “We have been talking about our girls all day every day so it’s like they are travelling with us all the time. We have always got a hole in our lives that are our girls, but it has been fantastic to share some time with a lot of people and help some people along the way.” The dads raised more than £500,000 for UK suicide prevention charity Papyrus, garnering donations and attention from celebrities like Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig.

What Every Parent Needs To Know About Kids And Suicidal ThoughtsHuffPost
October 22, 2021
This article, prompted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Children’s Hospital Association’s joint statement warning that there are “soaring rates of mental health challenges” among young people, discusses how parents can become alert to signs their child is struggling, and how they can help. If parents are worried about their children, Steven Meyers, professor of psychology at Roosevelt University in Illinois, recommends they have a conversation with them. “It begins with a less threatening talk about negative feelings, frustrations, and mood. When there are problems that are evident, the wording becomes more specific,’” he said. Parents will likely find it painful that their child is struggling, said Jenni Torres, senior vice president of curriculum and instruction at Waterford.org. “We might feel guilt or anxiety that we as parents have somehow failed,” she said. “But at the end of the day, we need to know that our child’s well-being is the most important thing. And we don’t need to be ashamed about having these conversations and about saying that we’re struggling.”

What to know about ADHD and suicidal thoughtsMedical News Today
October 20, 2021
A recent study of medical students in China has found a strong correlation between people in that group with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and thoughts of suicide. Researchers found that ADHD is an independent risk factor for suicide.

Children’s mental health crisis a ‘national emergency,’ pediatric groups declareABC News
October 19, 2021
The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Children’s Hospital Association have released a statement saying that they have seen a “shocking” increase in children seeking urgent mental health help. “Young people have endured so much throughout this pandemic and while much of the attention is often placed on its physical health consequences, we cannot overlook the escalating mental health crisis facing our patients,” American Academy of Pediatrics President Dr. Lee Savio Beers said. “Today’s declaration is an urgent call to policymakers at all levels of government — we must treat this mental health crisis like the emergency it is.” In the first 6 months of 2021, children’s hospitals all over the US reported a 45% increase of self-injury and suicide cases in young people ages 5 to 17 compared to the same period in 2019.

$1.2 million grant for Western University research into suicide preventionCTV
October 19, 2021
Western University has been given a $1.2 million grant for suicide prevention research. Dr. Marnin Heisel will be leading the research and focusing on two populations: those living in long-term care facilities and middle-aged older male veterans and first responders. “Those struggling with workplace, family or other stressors, who don’t receive help, and who additionally find themselves facing challenges to their identity associated with leaving their career could be at elevated risk,” said Heisel. “The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly highlighted serious health-care challenges in long-term care homes, necessitating the need to enhance identification of health risks in this vulnerable population.”

Calgary kids and teens face growing mental health crisis as pandemic drags onCBC
October 18, 2021
Doctors at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary are reporting an increase in families seeking mental health help for their children. “We’re seeing dramatically higher numbers of children seeking emergency department care and being hospitalized because of self-harming behaviours, depression, anxiety, ingestions and these are really really concerning symptoms that don’t just simply resolve quickly over time,” said Dr. Stephen Freedman, pediatric emergency medicine physician at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. From January to July 2021 there was a 141% increase of children seeking help for self-harm at the hospital, and a 35% increase of children seeking help for mental health concerns when compared to the same period in 2019. 

Sleep loss affects how paramedics and health-care workers respond to patients’ feelingsConversation
October 18, 2021
Due to shift work, long hours, and stress, first responders and health-care workers are especially vulnerable to sleep deprivation and emotional fatigue. Studies have found that people who are sleep deprived are less likely to be empathetic, a quality that is vital to these professions. Lack of empathy is also a symptom of PTSD, along with emotional numbing and sleep disturbances. These symptoms and the presence of PTSD contribute to suicide risk.

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