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Let’s Buddy Up!South Peace News
Buddy Up is a men’s suicide prevention campaign, a call to action to men, by men, to start authentic conversation among men and their buddies. “During our initial conversations with men, we identified a few important learnings. First, men recognize there is an issue and want to be a part of the solution. Secondly, although guys may not be willing to ask for help for themselves, we are very willing to provide support for our buddies and keep them safe,” said Akash Asif, Centre for Suicide Prevention’s Strategy & Operations Director. “With the tagline, ‘how are you doing’, we developed cartoon-like characters who each have a story. The characters make the campaign approachable because people can relate these characters and their stories with someone in their life. Alongside the characters, we developed a four-step guide for how men can support our buddies.”

This is really the end’: Asylum seekers in Canada struggle with suicidal thoughts Global News
October 13, 2022
This article explores the experiences of people seeking asylum in Canada, and how these experiences, including the arduous process of asylum seeking itself, can lead to despair and thoughts of suicide. This article follows the story of Aaliyah, who left her country of origin with her children to escape violence. Aaliyah says, “Last year… I was very suicidal. At some point, I felt like I was just going to end my life and then be done.” Aaliyah experienced trauma in her country of origin, but also throughout the five years she’s been in Canada, waiting for her refugee claim to be approved. Finally, in 2020, she was told that her claim would be accepted, only to find out a few weeks later that the government was appealing that decision. The appeal hearing has just happened and Aaliyah will find out the ruling in the next few months. In the meantime, she has had to go on short-term disability from her full time job because the stress became too much for her to handle. “The anxiety comes in waves… my world is utterly turned upside down.” Dr. Vanessa Redditt, a family physician in Toronto who works exclusively with asylum seekers, said it’s not uncommon for her patients to experience acute mental health crises while waiting for their claims to be decided. “A foundational step of healing from trauma is attaining a sense of security and safety,” Redditt said. “With uncertain immigration status, people don’t have that sense of safety.” Dr. Michaela Beder, a Toronto psychiatrist who specializes in immigration and severe mental illness says, “We need to rethink what it is we’re doing in our system that leads people to such immense distress that they would think suicide is the only option.”

Folic acid may help lower risk of suicide attempts, study says. Experts say it could be a ‘major breakthrough.’ – Yahoo News
October 12, 2022
A recent study has found that taking prescription folic acid is associated with a significantly lower risk of suicide attempts. A 44% lower rate of suicide attempts and self harm were observed in study participants who were taking folic acid. Experts caution that more research is needed, but Dr. Tatiana Falcone, psychiatrist, said that, if its efficacy is proven with further study,  “It will be significant for the patients that have low folate levels associated with depression or suicidal thoughts.” Folic acid, a B vitamin, promotes the generation of new cells in the human body, and some research has suggested that low levels of folate (a natural form of the B vitamin) are linked to depression, possibly because folate helps form serotonin.

N.L. suicide numbers up 25% in 2021, more than doubled in Labrador-GrenfellCBC
October 11, 2022
Newfoundland and Labrador’s Chief Medical Examiner has released suicide statistics for 2021, showing a 25% increase from 2020. Suicide disproportionately affects First Nations and Inuit communities, which can be found in the health region of Labrador-Grenfell, the region with the highest increase. “We have an ongoing challenge of suicide and suicidal ideation in our communities. We know that we need to do more, especially for young Inuit, who are most at risk of suicide,” Natan Obed, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, said. Nathaniel Pollock, an adjunct professor at the Labrador campus of Memorial University, says, “You see these spikes in the numbers. And in some instances that’s not part of a general trend in the province overall but that’s really specific to a place. That’s what we want to be using to make larger-scale decisions about what programs we fund and how we allocate resources and the kinds of policies and strategies that we use.”

New Poll Data Shows US Adults Believe Suicide Can be PreventedPsychiatric Times
October 10, 2022
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance), and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) recently partnered with The Harris Poll to explore the American public’s attitudes and beliefs about suicide. The poll found that 94% of American adults believe suicide is preventable and 83% said they would be interested in learning how to help someone who is thinking about suicide. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Dr. Doreen Marshall said, “Over the past few years, we have heard more of those in the public eye speak about their mental health struggles, and this has helped to increase dialogue about both suicide prevention and mental health. While I am glad to see that so many are interested in helping others, it does mean that we need to provide individuals the necessary education to be able to help someone who is struggling.”

Op-Ed: Anthony Bourdain’s death has us asking the wrong questions about suicideLA Times
October 10, 2022
A recently published unauthorized biography of Anthony Bourdain is asking the wrong questions about suicide, explains the author of this opinion piece, Clancy Martin, writer and philosophy professor. Martin says, “As is often the case with people who die by suicide, much of the chatter includes questions such as: How did they do it? Who was the last person they talked to? What was different about that day? What was the precipitating event? We want to understand, and sometimes, we look for someone to blame… But this way of thinking cheapens the death and struggles of anyone who has died by suicide or attempted it. Suicide, for most people, is a process. Sometimes that process starts at a very young age.” Martin goes on to explain that many complex and unique factors lead a person to consider suicide.

Suicide is not a crime — countries must stop treating it as oneAl Jazeera
Oct 10, 2022
In this opinion article, barrister and mental health advocate Ali Hasnain explains why “it’s time to decriminalize suicide globally.” In at least 20 countries worldwide, suicidal behaviour is a criminal offence, with a maximum penalty of 3 years in prison. Instead of being met with the support they need, people are “either arrested or subjected to extortion, along with their family members. Health workers and police officers often take advantage of the law and the suicide survivor’s vulnerable condition.” Hasnain explains the other issues with criminalizing suicidal behaviour, “The law also finds ways to punish the deceased posthumously, as well as their families. Bangladesh, Kenya and the Bahamas, for instance, have provisions in place to invalidate the wills of those who have died by suicide, creating barriers in matters of succession and inheritance.” Criminalizing suicide also “exacerbate(s) the existing stigma and discrimination against people with mental health conditions. People who attempt suicide are treated as criminals, potentially receiving a permanent criminal record, robbing them of opportunities in work and life they vitally need.” It can also “make it very difficult for people to talk to those around them and seek help out of fear of incriminating themselves and others,” and, finally, “Criminalisation leads to an under-reporting of incidences of suicide and suicide attempts, resulting in an inaccurate picture of the scale of the problem and less urgency in devoting resources needed to deal with the challenge.”

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