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:

Will Smith discusses suicide in new YouTube series trailerCNN
October 31, 2021
In a trailer for actor Will Smith’s docuseries “Will Smith: The best shape of my life,” Smith says at a table surrounded by family members that he considered suicide at one point in his life. The docuseries follows Smith as he adopts a new fitness regime. The six-part series begins airing on YouTube starting Nov. 8. Smith says of the series, “I’m about to show the world how little I know about myself. What you’ve come to understand as Will Smith, the alien-annihilating MC, bigger-than-life movie star, is largely a construction, a carefully crafted and honed character designed to protect myself to hide myself from the world.”

Mamakwa pushes Ford on northern suicide crisis Kenora Online
October 27, 2021
Sol Mamakwa, Kiiwetinoong MPP and the NDP’s Indigenous and Treaty Relations Critic is calling on the Ontario government to take action to prevent suicide in northern Indigenous communities by providing necessary mental health supports as soon as possible. Mamakwa said, “This year we have had multiple young people die by suicide in Eabametoong, Webequie and Wunnumin Lake, and Poplar Hill. The mental health crisis that exists across the North is not letting up… Mental health should have a no wrong door approach… Jordan’s Principle ensures all First Nations children, no matter where they live, can access the services and supports they need, when they need them.” Ontario has pledged $3.8 billion in additional mental health and addictions funding for the province over the next decade with an increased focus on First Nation communities.

Opinion: My daughter was driven to suicide by social media. It’s time for Facebook to stop monetizing misery.Washington Post
October 25, 2021
Ian Russell lost daughter Molly, 14, to suicide in 2017. Molly logged in to Instagram shortly before her death where her father says, “She’d been pushed into a rabbit hole of depressive content.” Following Molly’s death, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri vowed to “to do everything we can to keep the most vulnerable people who use our platform safe.” However, last week, “Facebook whistleblower” Frances Haugen testified to a UK Parliamentary Joint Committee that, though Facebook (who owns Instagram) has repeatedly said that they are committed to young people’s wellbeing, it’s also covering up internal research about the negative effects of the platforms on young people. Russell is again calling social media platforms and governments to ensure these platforms become safer spaces for young people, “(US) Congress and (UK) Parliament must use every tool at their disposal to obtain all internal research and documents that pertain to the health and well-being of our children, and pass legislation to protect the families they represent. It’s what Molly and far too many other young people who have suffered as she did all deserve.”

Embracing the taboo: Why it’s critical to discuss suicide at workEmployee Benefit News
October 25, 2021
**Method and content warning** Marta Rivera Diaz attempted suicide as a 15-year-old and now, at 43, she’s become an advocate for suicide prevention and emphasizes the role that communities – schools, families, workplaces – have to play in preventing suicide. Diaz says, “We have to be invested in a relationship with somebody in order to notice the signs. We have to be committed to being a community and a support system and be able to say to someone, ‘Something with you seems off, and I want to talk to you about it.’”

Study examines alarming upward trend in Black youth suicideBoston Herald
October 25, 2021
**Method and language warning** Using information from US databases, researchers have found that young Black people have experienced a marked upward trend in suicide. Dr. Arielle Sheftall, lead author of the study, said, “We found that the annual percent increase among Black girls was twice that of Black boys, which was very surprising because this finding goes against what we usually see in the literature.” Researchers found that relationship disruption, ADHD, legal problems, family or school problems, mental health diagnoses and reluctance to seek help were all contributing factors to suicide in young Black people.

People with autism at higher risk for suicide, self-harm: study Medical Xpress
October 25, 2021
A newly published systematic review of autism and suicide studies has found that there is a link between autism and self-harm and suicide. Children and adults with autism had an increased risk of suicide. Study senior author Dr. Guohua Li said, “Our findings are of public health importance in light of the continuing increase in the reported prevalence of autism and the high prevalence of self-injurious behavior in this population—especially relevant during a period of heightened rates of depression, anxiety and suicide associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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