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:

Preventing physician suicideAmerican Medical Association
September 17, 2021
Physicians are at higher risk for suicide and thoughts of suicide than those in the general population. Among physicians, thoughts of suicide are associated with medical errors and high workload, and physicians who think about suicide are less likely to seek help. Other factors associated with suicide in physicians include: depression, emotional exhaustion, substance-use disorder, impaired relationships, and self-destructive tendencies. The AMA suggests taking proactive steps to identify and address distress to ensure the well-being of colleagues and reduce the risk of suicide. They say that, “Organizations should also note the importance of creating a supportive atmosphere in the workplace, which can be instrumental in addressing physician distress. Physician advocates can be valuable assets to an organization by providing support services to those in need of help.” Offering confidential resources for support both inside and outside an organization is also recommended.

Opinion: Canada’s gun-violence epidemic doesn’t look like what you might thinkGlobe and Mail
September 16, 2021
**Method warning** This opinion piece argues that debates about gun control should include discussion of expanding access to mental health care. This is because suicides account for the majority of gun deaths – for example, in Ontario, where 67% of gun deaths were suicide. The author of this piece, Jooyoung Lee, associate professor of sociology and a faculty affiliate at the Centre for the Study of the United States at the University of Toronto, says, “If we took these numbers seriously, then our leaders’ conversations about gun violence might also involve debates over how to expand the reach and accessibility of mental-health care for Canadians. Or we might be hearing leaders talk about ways to reduce suicide in places such as Nunavut, which according to the Centre for Suicide Prevention has a suicide rate that is five times higher than the next highest province or territory. Or we might also have a sustained policy discussion about why people living in rural communities and middle-aged men are the most at-risk group for death by suicide.”

Attempted suicide high among some soldiers soon after ideation diagnosisHealio
September 16,2021
A new study has found that suicide risk is highest in the days following an ‘ideation diagnosis’ in certain US soldiers, such as females and combat medics. Study author Holly B. Herberman Mash said, “The goal of the current study was to identify specific factors that may increase this imminent risk among those with suicidal ideation, which can be targeted in interventions by clinicians and leadership.”

Suicide of Fredericton teen was preventable, provincial advocate findsCBC
September 15, 2021
A report by New Brunswick’s child and youth advocate into the suicide death of Lexi Daken, 16, has found that her death was preventable. “Having reviewed all the circumstances of Lexi’s passing, we come to the regrettable but inescapable conclusion that this death, like many youth deaths from suicide could have been prevented,” says the report from New Brunswick’s child and youth advocate. In particular the report found that on-call psychiatrists tend to be reluctant to come in after midnight unless there is a serious mental health crisis situation, which may have factored into the ER physician’s willingness to contact them. The report says, “The fact that the ER physician left the decision up to Lexi of whether to consult the on-call psychiatrist is in our view unjustifiable.” There was also found to be a lack of standardized suicide risk assessment practice, a chronic shortage of psychologists and psychiatrists, and an over-reliance on crisis care and lack of prevention services. “I always believed that if Lexi got the help that she asked for that night … there would have been a different outcome,” said Lexi’s father Chris Daken.

How 13 Reasons Why sparked years of suicide-contagion researchArs Technica
September 15, 2021
**Method warning** This article explores the depiction of suicide in the media, specifically in the context of Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, and whether or not depictions of suicide contribute to suicidality.

How Reservation Dogs Is Opening Up a Crucial Conversation About Suicide in Indigenous CommunitiesTime
September 14, 2021
Reservation Dogs is a series about young friends living on a First Nations community in Oklahoma who experienced the loss of a friend by suicide. Reservation Dogs actor Devery Jacobs says, “This topic isn’t merely a storyline. It’s one of the first times Indigenous people have had an opportunity to collectively mourn and heal in a mainstream production. Everyone behind Reservation Dogs, all of the key creatives and cast members, have deeply personal elements of ourselves baked into this episode—and I am no exception.” Jacobs talks about the consideration that was taken into the portrayal of the suicide, “Ensuring that we didn’t capture graphic imagery was paramount—for communities that have experienced so much trauma, it’s crucial to avoid triggering or re-traumatizing viewers, as we endeavor to depict the issue with humanity and empathy.”

Study examines teens’ thoughts, plans around suicide UW News
September 14, 2021
A new study of 7500 high school students living in the US has found that Black high school students are almost twice as likely as white students to attempt suicide without reporting prior thoughts or plans. It was also found that all students who reported certain factors or behaviours, including bullying, sadness or hopelessness, history of sexual violence, misusing opioids, were more likely to attempt suicide.

U of R student researching impacts of exercise on suicidal ideationRegina Leader Post
September 14, 2021
Kelsey Vig, a University of Regina PhD student, is studying the impact of exercise on people who experience thoughts of suicide. Vig says, “I realized (suicide) doesn’t really need to be that scary. I think a lot of people are quite hesitant to research it or even talk about it.” Vig says of her research that she was interested in the questions, “Is it that people who are more physically active, does that lead to less thoughts of suicide? Or do people who have thoughts of suicide, is there something that makes them less likely to exercise? Is there something else affecting that relationship?”

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