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:

Calgary woman running for mental health awareness, after partner’s death CTV News
October 6, 2020
Andrea Gordon, who lost partner David Quistberg to suicide in June, ran everyday in September for a total of 230 kilometres to raise awareness for suicide prevention and funds for Canadian Mental Health Association – Calgary and Centre for Suicide Prevention. “It’s shocking to wake up one day and have your life be everything that you know, everything that you’re used to and in the flash of a moment everything’s different, everything’s ripped out from under you,” said Gordon. She also says running has helped her maintain her own mental health since the loss of her partner.

Resources for parents of youth who are thinking about suicideCentre for Suicide Prevention
October 9, 2020
On World Suicide Prevention Day, PLEO: Parents’ Lifelines of Eastern Ontario launched a new resource to support parents of youth who are thinking about suicide by sharing helpful and hopeful messages from parents and youth with lived experience, suicide prevention experts and clinicians. The resource includes tip sheets for parents and videos with information about accessing services, signs and awareness, safety at home, and communication. Centre for Suicide Prevention’s Mara Grunau was interviewed for the video series. Grunau says, “We need to take all threats of suicide seriously… these are red flags. You may need to probe (young people) a bit, ‘Sometimes, when people say things like that, they’re thinking about suicide. Are you thinking about suicide?’ Ask the question directly.”

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation declares state of emergency after rash of suicidesGlobal News
October 11, 2020
Sioux Valley Dakota Nation in western Manitoba has declared a state of emergency after experiencing several suicides in the past month, and have written to Indigenous Services Canada asking for immediate mental health supports. “It’s overwhelming, our community members are reaching out and… they want to know why? Why are these things happening, what can we do?” said Chief Jennifer Bone. “I want our community to know that they aren’t alone and no one is alone and myself as chief, I offer all my support and power and I’ll continue to do the work on behalf of every citizen here to procure support moving forward.” The community currently has one mental health worker and a 24-hour crisis phone line staffed by volunteers. Adrienne Vaupshas, spokesperson for Indigenous Services Canada Minister Marc Miller, said that $141,000 will be provided for mental health supports, and an emergency response team will arrive in the community Oct. 14.

Report examines gaps in service after youth died while living in group homeCBC
October 9, 2020
Newfoundland and Labrador’s Child and Youth Advocate has released a report examining the suicide death of an 18-year-old who was living in a group home at the time of their death, the 10th place they lived while in care of the province. Child and Youth Advocate Jacqueline Lake Kavanagh says that though this person’s case was complex, the system could’ve worked better for them, as they encountered many rejections and delays. “When young people are not stable enough emotionally to engage, it’s really important to stay with them,” Lake Kavanagh said.”What we saw in this case was that it was the needs of the system, sometimes, that seemed to prevail.” In her report, she notes that “Thoughtfully incorporating the voices of young people into all planning processes involving them must be a priority for all service providers. If this does not happen, significant barriers will impede successful outcomes for the young people seeking help in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

How to talk about suicide online safelyBattlefords News-Optimist
October 9, 2020
Cathy Wheaton-Bird, who works in suicide prevention in La Ronge, Saskatchewan, gives tips on how to discuss suicide safely on social media. Before posting about suicide, Wheaton-Bird recommends asking, ‘Why am I posting this?’ and to take time to think about it before actually posting. She also suggests people educate themselves about suicide before posting about it, and to find out what resources are available in their community, because if they do post about it, people who are experiencing thoughts of suicide may reach out to them for help. A trigger warning may also be helpful for any post about suicide, as well, focusing on hope. “When you’re sharing thoughts, feelings, and experiences about suicide you need to put some focus on… hope, and that people do recover and that there is such a thing as resilience. If you’re talking about your own experience don’t forget to mention how you got help because that’s really, really important and that can actually help somebody else if you tell someone how you got help.”

Sharon Osbourne gets candid on mental health, past suicide attemptUSA Today
October 9, 2020
TV host Sharon Osbourne recently opened up about her mental health struggles, and a past suicide attempt. “Four years ago I was finding things very, very difficult, and I’ve been medicated for 28 years,” Osbourne said. “I tried to take my life, and it wasn’t for attention. I just couldn’t bear it.” After her attempt, she sought help at a mental health facility. She says that being honest about how you’re doing is important, “I’m still here. I still do what I do, and you struggle.”

Actor Courtney B. Vance opens up about his family’s battle with mental health and suicideGood Morning America
October 8, 2020
Emmy-winning actor Courtney B. Vance is opening up about losing his father to suicide and how therapy, “saved each of (my family member’s) lives.” Vance says. “I could have been a statistic myself. If the hero in my life, my father, did that to himself, that potentially could have been an option for me.”

Rothenburger: Why we shouldn’t fear the ‘suicide’ word in obituariesCFJC Today Kamloops
October 8, 2020
In this opinion piece, Mel Rothenburger, retired newspaper editor, discusses how mentioning suicide as a cause of death in an obituary can help break down stigma. “If we’re to make progress in suicide prevention, we have to first candidly admit the reality of it. Thousands of Canadians die each year from suicide, and each year thousands of funeral services of people who killed themselves are held in which the term is never mentioned,” says Rothenburger. “We think, somehow, that we’re doing a service for the lost loved one by denying the cause of death. Actually, we’re denying that person the dignity of an explanation, of candor about the tragedy of his or her passing.”

Doctors die by suicide at twice the rate of everyone else. Here’s what we can do.Washington Post
October 6, 2020
American suicide rates are increasing and physicians have one of the highest suicide rates of any profession in the US. Self-care may be difficult for physicians, especially during the pandemic, which is generally contributing to a growth of isolation, economic stress, and decreased community support. Many physicians have undiagnosed depression and are often hesitant to seek help due to stigma within the profession. This article suggests that, in order to maintain mental health, doctors work in teams, share responsibilities, build in time to debrief with one another, find ways to connect with others on a regular basis and create boundaries between work and home time.

Social sameness can raise or lower suicide riskFuturity
October 6, 2020
A new study has found that there is a correlation between suicide and social ‘sameness.’ Social sameness is defined as “living in communities with other individuals who share common social characteristics, such as employment and marital status, ethnicity, or place of birth.” Social sameness can contribute to an increased or decreased risk of suicide. The study found that suicide risk was decreased for those who were younger than 45, unemployed, widowed, white, Black or not born in the US. Suicide risk was increased for those born in the US, had never married, or were Alaska Native, Native American, Hispanic, or Asian. “This study breaks a longstanding barrier to understanding the link between individual suicide risk and community-based risk,” says Bernice Pescosolido, coauthor of the study and a sociology professor at Indiana University Bloomington. “This offers new insights into how complex the relationship between suicide and cultural and social connections is. Science has been challenged to get beyond the split between looking at individuals and looking at communities in the US. Sameness allows us to think about the role of connectedness in new ways.”