Hello Friends,

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:

We must all advocate for Indigenous rightsCentre for Suicide Prevention
October 25, 2017
This CSP blog post discusses the importance of advocating for Indigenous rights, whether we are Indigenous or non-Indigenous, an example of which was the late Gord Downie. Through his multi-media project Secret Path, Downie brought awareness of Indigenous issues to the fan base of his band, The Tragically Hip, and to the broader Canadian public. Some (though not all) Indigenous communities have high rates of suicide, at the root of which are the effects of colonization and social and economic inequity. These factors can lead to feelings of hopelessness and behaviours which can put individuals at risk for suicide.

Mayor suggests his office as space for mental health workers in bid to get care for Gjoa HavenCBC
October 27, 2017
Gjoa Haven, a hamlet in Nunavut, is experiencing “a substantial increase in both homicides and suicides, which we feel are directly related to the absence of professional mental health support” said a letter by the hamlet to the minister of health and minister of family services. Gjoa Haven has one psychiatric nurse, but people needing acute care are sent away from home. Joanni Sallerina, the mayor of Gjoa Haven is offering up his office space as a place for mental health care to happen, as there is currently no permanent space designated for this purpose.

The hidden tragedy of the opioid crisisTime
October 27, 2017
In 2015, 9% or 4,837 of opioid-related deaths in the US were due to intentional self-poisoning (suicide). This type of data collection differs from that of Alberta where opioid-related deaths do not include those caused by intentional self-poisoning. “It can be a tricky call to distinguish an intent to kill oneself from an accidental overdose when the person has died, unless there’s some other indication that a person has been engaging in what we call ‘preparatory behavior’” such as writing a will, says Dr. Gregory K. Brown, Director of the Center for the Prevention of Suicide at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania.

Reporting on suicide 3 years after Robin WilliamsHuffPost Blog
October 25, 2017
In this blog post, journalist Britney Dennison talks about the changes she’s seen in suicide reporting since the death of Robin Williams in 2014. Dennison reflects on the coverage of the deaths of Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell and Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, and discusses the importance of responsible media reporting so as to ensure stigma is reduced and contagion is avoided. “Talking about suicide is important. Doing so helps dispel myths and combat stigma. But journalists need to report thoughtfully and with the right intentions,” says Dennison.

Americans don’t believe owning a firearm boosts suicide riskReuters 
October 25, 2017
Despite research having shown that people who have access to lethal means, such as firearms, are at a higher risk for suicide, a recent survey has found that Americans still don’t believe owning a firearm puts them at a higher risk. “Medical societies recognize that removing guns from a suicidal person’s home can do more to immediately reduce the risk of death than any other known treatment, (but) most physicians do not counsel their patients to remove or even store guns in ways that make them inaccessible to at-risk people,” said Andrew Conner of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, who analyzed the survey results.

Wrestler to the rescueCBC
October 24, 2017
Wrestler Harry Smith, stage-name Davey-Boy Smith Jr., intervened with a woman last week who was threatening to jump off of a Calgary bridge. Smith saw the woman while driving past and pulled over to help another bystander already speaking to the woman. “People should know that they’re never alone… and should never be afraid to reach out,” said Smith on CBC’s the Eyeopener.

1 in 4 NL seniors has a mental health issue, providers struggle to copeCBC
October 23, 2017
According to Newfoundland and Labrador’s 2017 Vital Signs report, a quarter of seniors living in the province live with a mental illness or mental health concern.

Michelle Williams opens up about depression during her Destiny’s Child daysHuffPost
October 19, 2017
Michelle Williams, who was a member of the band Destiny’s Child, said that she suffered from depression and had suicidal thoughts during the height of the group’s fame. “So many people are walking around acting like they’ve got it all together and they’re suffering. For years, I was in one of the top-selling female groups of all time, suffering with depression,” said Williams. “I want to normalize the discussion (of mental health issues).”

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