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:

First Nations group seeks solutions for high youth suicide rates in SaskatchewanSaskatoon Star Phoenix
September 22, 2017
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) was directed to make suicide prevention a top priority and to develop a suicide prevention strategy for Northern Saskatchewan First Nations by May 31, 2018. Last Friday, they released a discussion paper on the strategy. “There has never been a suicide prevention strategy for our people by our people,” said FSIN Vice-Chief Heather Bear. Numbers released by the Office of the Chief Coroner of Saskatchewan reveal that suicide rates for First Nations people are 4 times higher than the general population. Jack Hicks, who’s a member of the FSIN working group to develop a strategy, says although it’s too early to say what is causing the higher suicide rate, often research shows that higher suicide rates are “socially determined” and adverse childhood experiences, as well as intergenerational trauma, are among key factors found in the research.

Veterans Affairs Minister won’t comment on possible probe into veteran’s triple murder-suicideGlobe and Mail
September 22, 2017
When asked if he believes a fatality inquiry into the suicide death of Afghanistan war vet Lionel Desmond is needed, newly appointed Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan said that he couldn’t comment, but that, in reference to newly discharged military members: “We want the Canadian Armed Forces members to begin the new chapter of their lives with the support and services they need to maintain wellness, feel respected and know that they are being properly supported.”

Ontario NDP leader calls for coroner’s inquest into St. Joe’s suicide deaths CBC
September 22, 2017
Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath is calling for a coroner’s inquest into the 11 suicide deaths of patients at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton since the beginning of 2016. St. Joe’s president David Higgins says they are committed to preventing suicide and are cooperating with the coroner’s office. “We have investigated each tragic death and also have sought outside review of the events, our care approach, our policies and procedures. The recommendations from this external report were made public and have been submitted to the Coroner’s office,” said Higgins.

Women vets have more than double the suicide rate of civilian womenNewsweek
September 21, 2017
Last Friday the US Department for Veteran Affairs released findings that show women vets have a suicide rate 2.5 times higher than non-veteran women, and their rate is increasing.

Former Innu Chief helping others deal with suicideLabradorian
September 20, 2017
George Rich of Natuashish, an Innu community in Newfoundland and Labrador, is organizing a support group for people who have lost friends and family to suicide. Rich is a survivor of suicide loss, and suggested that a support group for survivors be started. Since then, Rich has heard from many people interested in attending the group.

Suicide rate three times higher among construction workers, union warnsHuffPost UK
September 19, 2017
The Office for National Statistics in the UK shows that those working in skilled building trades are three times more likely to die by suicide. “The way in which the construction industry operates directly affects the mental health of workers. Factors that affect the mental health of workers include low and inconsistent pay, lack of job security, working away from home, mental health stigma, isolation and poor working conditions,” said Gail Carman, assistant general secretary of the union Unite. “We have some examples of good practice where Unite workplace representatives have a strong presence as mental health first aiders. This is simple, low cost and effective so the challenge is to scale up such interventions.” In Canada, construction workers are among the highest risk for suicide, too, with a rate of 53.5 per 100,000, as opposed to the norm of 11.5.

Calgary man’s struggles with mental health issues and addictions prompts inquiry after suicideCBC
September 18, 2017
James Reader, 26, died by suicide in 2015 at the Foothills Medical Centre, after years of mental health issues. An fatality inquiry is being conducted into Reader’s death. Reader admitted himself to the Foothills hospital, but was afraid to take the anti-psychotic medication he was offered because of potential side effects. Reader’s psychiatrist said that he appeared to be feeling better, so he was allowed to leave the hospital unit for short breaks, and three days later, he died by suicide. “I think they did everything they could do, he was a difficult patient to treat,” Cindy Reader, James’ mother, said.

Subscribe to this weekly mailing list