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:

Stories after suicide Ryerson Review of Journalism
October 30, 2017
The Ryerson Review of Journalism examines suicide reporting: how it should be done, and why proper reporting is so important. Mara Grunau, Centre for Suicide Prevention, spoke about the importance of striking a balance between not reporting on any suicides at all and reporting too many details to the point where the article could be triggering. “We don’t know who’s going to be reading the article. And if someone who’s already at risk of suicide is reading the article and it’s outlining how the person died, what their method was…that can be triggering for that person… Historically what has happened is that out of fear of doing it wrong, the mainstream media has not reported on suicide at all…and that’s not helpful either.”

First Responders Half MarathonBreakfast Television Calgary
October 31, 2017
Mara Grunau, Executive Director of Centre for Suicide Prevention and Trevor Soll, from the First Responders Half Marathon, were on BT Calgary last Monday to talk about the race which took place yesterday, Sunday, November 5, proceeds of which will came to the Centre. Grunau spoke about the importance of education and breaking down stigma: “When we reduce the stigma we’re able to empower people to help but we’re also able to create a culture where people are comfortable asking for help.”

‘Hopefully we can make a difference’: Edmonton veterans march for suicide preventionCBC
November 4, 2017
Ian Hall, veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, organized a march this past weekend in Edmonton of more than 30 veterans to raise money for suicide prevention. “I can tell you the names of at least 10 people that I served with who (died by suicide),” Hall said. “It is a reality and I think by coming out and talking about it, raising money and getting groups together, hopefully we can make a difference.”

The death of Wonder Woman Globe and Mail
November 3, 2017
This Globe feature tells the story of Ruth Kelly, CEO of Venture Publishing, and publisher and editor-in-chief of Alberta Venture magazine. Kelly worked 80 hour weeks and was known by many for her work ethic and philanthropic efforts. This past June, Kelly died by suicide. Her company was struggling, and, as Dr. Michael Freeman, who studies entrepreneur suicide at the University of California, points out: “(Entrepreneurs) can’t untangle themselves as just a person… For the entrepreneurs who are overly invested in the identity of the business, taking a step back is really, really difficult. And that is the beginning of this downward spiral. The tragedy is about how people who have that temperament, which is so great until it isn’t, can lose perspective in situations like this.”

Crisis hotline calls ‘referencing suicide’ skyrocket after Fort McMurray wildfire CBC
November 2, 2017
Some Other Solutions (SOS), the local crisis line for the Fort McMurray area, reported 900 crisis calls for the period of January to November 2017, compared to 400 in 2016 and 600 in 2015.  “An alarming number [of hotline calls] that we are seeing is the number of times that people are calling in and they are referencing suicide,” SOS executive director Jason King said. “Right now, that’s up significantly.” King says it’s not necessarily a bad sign that calls have increased, rather, “I see it in the sense that people are recognizing where they are — reaching out for help.”

First Nations healers honoured for unique approaches to mental health, addictionsCBC
November 1, 2017
Elder Little Brown Bear and Liz Stone are being honoured by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) for their work in mental health. Both recognize the importance of blending traditional Indigenous knowledge and practices with mainstream knowledge and practices, and have had great success.”We’re dedicated to helping Indigenous people and Indigenous community healing work. So a lot of that comes through a therapeutic place connecting to ceremony, working on individuals, working in groups, working with the community – combining western and traditional methods of healing,” said Stone.

Construction industry pushing to lower high rates of suicide, depression among workersHR Dive 
October 31, 2017
In the US, it has been found that construction workers are 4 times more likely to die by suicide than the general US population. The long hours and inconsistent work schedules of construction workers are thought to be factors in their higher suicide rate. Employers are beginning to recognize this stress on workers’ mental health, and are establishing mental health programs and initiatives like 24/7 access to mental health providers. Learn more in our toolkit about the workplace and suicide, including why construction workers have a higher risk of suicide.

Brain patterns may predict people at risk of suicideNPR
October 30, 2017
A new study has shown that people who are contemplating suicide have brain activity that is different from that of people who are not. In a study of 34 people, a computer program was 90% accurate in differentiating between those who were suicidal and those who weren’t.  “We’re very bad at identifying which people who are presenting with risk are in fact going to go on and have a suicide attempt,” says Lisa Pan, an author of the study and an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Barry Horwitz, chief of brain imaging and modeling at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, said, “Just looking at behavior is probably inadequate for a lot of purposes. It’s much better to be able to see what the brain is doing.”

Reviews of suicides of 2 Indigenous teens lead to more recommendations from child advocateCBC
October 30, 2017
Alberta’s child and youth advocate has come out with two new reports, each on the suicide deaths of  Indigenous teens, “Jimmy” and “Donovan.”  Both teens accessed, or tried to access, provincial services for assistance before their deaths. This report has led to new recommendations to the government, in addition to others already made. The two new recommendations include: ensuring that the Ministry of Children’s Services and Justice and Solicitor General work together to help youth stay in contact with their families, and that the province adopts policies that take into account the needs and vulnerabilities of youth at-risk who ask for help.

Families launch lawsuit after two men die by suicide at Hamilton hospitals Toronto Star
October 30, 2017
The family members of two men who died by suicide at hospitals in Hamilton, Ontario are now suing the hospitals. The men died while in care, and under supervision specifically because they were at risk of suicide. Instead, the families allege, the men were left alone for extended periods of time and left with means to kill themselves. “Hospitals are supposed to be safe havens for people in crisis,” Michael Smitiuch, the lawyer representing the families, told a news conference. “Loved ones should be comfortable knowing that when their loved one is under constant or direct supervision that they’re safe.”

Subscribe to this weekly mailing list