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:

How can we heal suicide-related trauma? CBC Nunavut asks at public event Saturday CBC
October 27, 2018
Last Saturday, CBC hosted a panel discussion in Iqaluit, Nunavut, where people talked about how they’ve healed after suicide-related trauma. Suzanne Sagmeister was on the panel; she collected stories of suicide loss survivors in 2015 for her book Life after Dark: 100 Stories of Hope From Survivors of Suicide.

The quiet suicide epidemic plaguing French farmers France 24
October 26, 2018
Approximately one farmer dies by suicide in France every two days. Dairy farmers specifically have a rate 50% higher than the national average. Farmers, unlike most professions, don’t get a break from their work, especially not dairy farmers, who have to milk cows every day. In addition, many farmers aren’t comfortable opening up about their feelings. Financial and social pressures also play a role: “Psychological suffering and suicide occur when there’s a feeling of hopelessness, as if there’s no other choice. That could be not being able to pay back a bank loan or pay the vet bill. Why is that happening? Put simply, the price they can sell their produce for is not enough to cover their expenses. And so they work harder, hoping to earn more money. But then they become exhausted. And the debts continue to pile up and they think: ‘what else can I do? I’m working harder but I can’t get out of this…’ The causes are multiple and in addition to the financial reasons, loneliness among farmers also comes into play. The feeling of isolation can lead to suicide,” said Isabelle Grégoire, a social worker in Nantes, a city in one of the regions most affected.

Michael Phelps Opens Up About His Struggles With Depression and Thoughts of SuicideMen’s Health
October 26, 2018
Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian to date, spoke about his depression at the Talkspace Conference: Mental Health and Young Americans. Talkspace is an online counselling service. Of his depression, Phelps said: “There’s not a positive thing that goes through my head… “I’m basically my own punching bag.” Phelps copes with, among other things, exercise and positive thinking, “You believe the things you tell yourself… We deserve to be happy.”

Movember a time to talk men’s mental healthStony Plain Reporter
October 26, 2018
This article argues that, while issues like men’s physical health need to be discussed, so to does men’s mental health: “While more awareness has been raised in recent years through various campaigns and crusaders like TSN’s Michael Landsberg, the topic is still very much viewed as taboo, only to be dealt with in hushed tones, lest someone has the idea implanted in their mind. It is this type of head-in-the-sand approach that has us in the epidemic we currently are in,” says the author.

How our drinking water could help prevent suicideVox
October 24, 2018
Some researchers are arguing that by putting lithium, a naturally occurring element in the earth’s crust and powerful psychiatric drug, into our drinking water, we can prevent suicide. Among these researchers is Nassir Ghaemi, a Tufts psychiatry professor who co-authored a 2014 review of studies into lithium in drinking water. “In general, in the United States, lithium levels are much higher in the Northeast and East Coast and very low in the Mountain West… And suicide rates track that exactly — much lower suicide rates in the Northeast, and the highest rates of suicide are in the Mountain West,” says Ghaemi.

How One Colorado Town Is Tackling Suicide Prevention — Starting With The KidsNPR
October 23, 2018
Colorado has the 8th highest suicide rate of the 50 US states. High school students in Grand Junction, Colorado, are hoping to help prevent suicide through a peer support program called Sources of Strength: “The idea of having a peer, or someone who is supporting you who has been through (the) experience (of losing a loved one to suicide), I think is incredibly valuable,” Kari Sewell, community member and suicide loss survivor, says. “You’re traumatized — you don’t know which way to turn.”

Do chatbots have a role to play in suicide prevention?  – Conversation
October 23, 2018
Lifeline, an Australian crisis centre, has launched it’s first suicide prevention chatbot, for the family and friends of those in crisis. The chatbot, #BeALifeline Direct Message (DM) Chatbot, was developed with Twitter and aims to help the loved ones of a person at risk learn to speak to someone they’re worried about.

Ottawa ready to help as Inuit health officials grapple with spate of suicides CBC
October 22, 2018
In response to communities in northern Quebec asking for help in dealing with a spate of suicides in Inuit communities, the federal government has said that they’re ready to help. “Inuit want to be able to receive services that are culturally appropriate, in their own language,” said Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor. “So we’re looking at ways to get more people trained — in nursing, in psychology or social work — that would be a step in the right direction.”

A New Prescription For Depression: Join A Team And Get Sweaty NPR
October 22, 2018
A new study that analyzed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey data has found that people in the US who exercise report fewer days of bad mental health than those that don’t. One of the study’s authors, Adam Chekroud, believes that exercise in a team setting could be even more beneficial: “Some sports might just be hitting on more of those elements than other sports,” he says. “If you just run on a treadmill for example, it’s clear that you’re getting that biological stimulation. But perhaps there are other elements of depression that you’re not going to be tapping into.” As people with depression often isolate themselves, exercise with a team, “can help alleviate symptoms and deal with this very pernicious symptom of depression.”

What’s Life Like After Depression? Surprisingly, Little Is KnownNew York Times
October 22, 2018
A new research paper has been released the explores how people who have had depression recovered in an attempt to understand how recovery from depression is possible. “If you got a depression diagnosis, one of the most basic things you want to know is, what are the chances of my life returning to normal or becoming optimal afterward?” said Jonathan Rottenberg, a professor of psychology at the University of South Florida. “You’d assume we’d have an answer to that question. I think it’s embarrassing that we don’t.”

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