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:

Research links living at high altitudes with Rocky Mountain ‘Suicide Belt’CTV
October 22, 2019

A news report looks at a study out of the University of Utah which examines the relationship between higher altitudes and its impact on brain chemistry and possible links to suicide. 

This connection caught many in Canmore by surprise. However, even if living at a higher elevation was proven to be a risk factor for suicide, it would still be only one factor. Mara Grunau, Executive Director for the Centre for Suicide Prevention, said “more research needs to be done locally as there are many other factors at play when it comes to people at risk of suicide”.

Peter Quinn of Bow Valley Victims Services hasn’t “noticed particular trends when it comes to suicides in the area but said he’s open to the study because mental healthy is very complex” and studies that address mental health usually help us understand it better. He adds that  Canmore and area have many resources available for people at risk or for those who are struggling with mental health issues.

US Sen. Reed wants to shorten the suicide prevention hotline – Washington Times
October 27, 2019

Rhode Island  senator Jack Reed is introducing a bill  to shorten the suicide prevention line from its current 10 digits to a more manageable 3 digits. The proposed number would be “988” and would also include the Veterans service line. Reed  believes the lengthy 10 digits of the current number is a  barrier to accessibility for many.

Quebec to review services given to Montreal man who killed his children, died by suicide CTV News Montreal
October 25, 2019
A Montreal man who killed his two children and then died by suicide has prompted the Quebec government to review the services it provided to the man prior to the tragedy. Health Minister Danielle McCann said the man had been provided with some health services in the past but ” we will review everything that was done. I know there were services given for this man and even that there was…a call for youth services”, she said.

Peres Separes, a support group who help fathers going through separation or divorce, received twice as many calls as usual in the days after the tragedy. The deceased man was in the early stages of separation from his wife.

Regional health authority CIUSS de l’est issued a communique offering counselling supports to anyone affected by the events. 

Suicide is preventable. Hospitals and doctors are finally catching up Time
October 24, 2019

A lengthy feature in Time magazine describes the changing healthcare approach to suicide that is gaining traction in the United States. New protocols that involve increased thorough screening, emphasis on written safety plans between clinician and patient (which deal with a patient’s suicidal behaviours directly, instead of focusing on any underlying mental illness), and robust follow-up care, are becoming more widespread.  

The piece details the origins of the Zero Suicide movement and its antecedents, like the Henry Ford Perfect Depression Care in Michigan and the Centerstone Mental Health Center in Tennessee, which helped to inform much of the forward motion these newer approaches are receiving. 

Grieving Toronto mother questions whether bullying led to son’s death ruled suicide Global News
October 24, 2019

12 year-old Arka Chakraborty died on June 21. A Toronto coroner ruled the death a suicide.

Arka’s mother believes that bullying may have played a part in her son’s suicide. She is demanding Premier Doug Ford launch a provincial inquiry into Arka’s death.

‘Truly groundbreaking’: Project Now sets goal to end youth suicide in Brampton and MississaugaBrampton Guardian
October 23, 2019

A collaborative project between the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, Peel Children’s Centre, Peel District School Board, Peel Public and Health Trillium Health Partners has received $3 million from the Ontario provincial government to end child and youth suicide by 2029.

The endeavour is called Project Now and “is a cross-sector partnership that improves access to mental health services in schools, hospitals and community-based agencies. The funding will support suicide prevention and mental health initiatives led by core partners”. 

As NYPD suicides rise, city to provide officers free mental health careNBC News
October 23, 2019

The rate of suicide for NYPD officers is twice as high this year in comparison to other years. An off-duty sergeant took his life last week, the 10th officer to take his life this year.

A program for officers, called Finest Care, is being launched to connect officers with mental health supports form New York Presbyterian/Columbia University to help address the problem.

Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, 25, plans to be ‘strong voice’ in Parliament for youth suicide preventionCTV News-
October 22, 2019

Newly elected NDP MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq will continue her advocacy for youth suicide prevention that she began as a guest  in 2017 in the House of Commons delivering a speech about the suicide crisis in Nunavut.

Qaqqaq won with 3,717 votes, or 41.2 per cent of the vote in her riding of Baker Lake, Nunavut. “Over the next four years, I want to see lots of change,” she said. “There is so much change that needs to be done in Nunavut and for the people in order for us to be able to succeed like we should be over the last few decades. I’m just super excited to be a strong and passionate vote in the House of Commons.”