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:

4 ways the Centre for Suicide Prevention is using Run for Life to promote mental health and prevent suicide – Calgary Journal
October 19, 2018
On October 14, 2018, Centre for Suicide Prevention hosted the first annual Run for Life, the goal of which was to create a safe, supportive space for survivors of suicide loss, survivors of suicide attempts, and anyone in the general public passionate about suicide prevention to come together to remember those we’ve lost to suicide and foster hope. “Suicide is still highly stigmatized,” explains Mara Grunau, executive director of the Centre for Suicide Prevention. “People have a difficult time talking about it. It’s not that they don’t want to know about it necessarily, but it’s very uncomfortable so they shy away from it… If you can say things like ‘Oh I’m doing this run, will you sponsor me?’ It’s a little bit of a safer way to bring up the conversation.”

Kativik school board in northern Quebec calls emergency meeting in wake of youth suicidesCBC
October 16, 2018
Kativik Ilisarniliriniq is the school board serving Quebec’s Inuit territory Nunavik. Last week, they called an emergency meeting to respond to several youth suicides over the past few weeks. “The tragic events of the past month testify to the importance and urgency of addressing the underlying causes of depression, anxiety and trauma affecting Nunavik youth,” said Robert Watt, president of Kativik Ilisarniliriniq. Nunavik has had 13 suicides since January. “We do not have the luxury of deciding what to offer people who are experiencing a mental health crisis. We have an epidemic of suicides. We have a crisis on our hands and if we can’t provide the medical and other mental health support in the communities, it is not going to get better,” said Mary Simon, who is from Nunavik, in a Facebook post responding to one of the recent suicide deaths, that of her 22-year-old niece.

Quebec Inuit leaders plead for mental health support in wake of youth suicides
October 19, 2018
Since January 2018, Nunavik, Quebec’s Inuit territory, has experienced 13 suicides. Nunavik’s population is around 12,000, and Puvirnituq, a small village of just 1,779 within that territory, had 11 suicides. “When you look at the lives that are being lost through suicide, it is a state of emergency. If it was happening anywhere else in Canada, I don’t think that we would be standing aside and watching it happen,” said Mary Simon, an Inuit rights advocate. Harriet Keleutak, general director of the school board, said of the psychologists that are flown into northern communities temporarily, “They come, they don’t get to know our students. They leave. We need someone local… Right now when somebody says ‘I want to die, I want to kill myself,’ [in the Ungava region of Nunavik] youth are put at the hospital in isolation rooms until they calm down. Once they calm down they go back home. That’s not help. That’s just calming a child who is having a crisis, without having a plan for the future.”

How human brain donations could help prevent suicideNational Post
October 16, 2018
Examining brain tissue can help researchers determine some of the causes of mental illness, says Dr. Gustavo Turecki, co-director of the Douglas Bell Canada Brain Bank in Montreal. The bank houses donated brains, about 400 of which are donated by families of people who have died by suicide. “Mental illnesses… are illness of the brain and we need access to brain tissue in order to understand the causes of these illnesses,” says Turecki.  “The brain is still very poorly understood… it’s responsible for so many things… yet we understand very little of how it works and we understand very little of these illnesses that are so important in our society and affect so many people.” Turecki also discusses the importance of not only examining brain tissue but also personality characteristics, past experiences, and more, to understand mental illness and why someone might consider suicide.

Latina Suicide Rates Are Out of Control — Here’s WhyRefinery29
October 15, 2018
*Method warning* A 2017 survey of Latina youth aged 10-24 living in the US found that 10.5% had attempted suicide in the past year compared to 7.3% of young white women and 5.8% of Latino males. Depression and suicidal ideation are highly stigmatized in the Latino community, making it hard for those struggling to reach out.  “Parents are trying to impose traditional cultural values of family and socialization of women when that’s not these girls’ experience,”  Dr. Luis Zayas, the dean of the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at the University of Texas, Austin, said. “They might want her to behave how they did in a small city in Mexico or the Dominican Republic versus being in the U.S. in an entirely different culture. She may then feel left out or like she’s straddling the two cultures, and that’s where it hurts.”

The smartphone app that can tell you’re depressed before you know it yourself MIT Technology Review
October 15, 2018
Mindstrong Health has developed a smartphone app that collects data about how the phone it is installed on is used: it tracks things like how the phone user types, scrolls, and taps while using other apps. It’s argued by Mindstrong Health that it can make inferences about a person’s mental health based on these measurements.

Climate change already causing increases in stress, depression and negative mental health, study showsIndependent
October 14, 2018
Mental health data from US residents and climate data has been combined and analyzed by scientists who found that on months with temperatures over 30 degrees Celsius or over 25 days of rainfall, more people reported stress, depression and emotional problems. Nick Obradovich, the study’s co-author and Massachusetts Institute of Technology research scientist, said: “It’s really important to consider this as yet another piece in the puzzle of understanding how climate change will influence society, and the conclusion here is that it’s not likely to be good.”

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