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:

Run for LifeCTV Calgary
From September 19-26, Centre for Suicide Prevention hosted the 4th annual Run for LIfe, a virtual event encouraging people to do any activity throughout the week to raise awareness for suicide prevention and remember those we’ve lost to suicide. Participant Andrea Gordon said that running is part of her healing process, “I run because it’s a place that I can process and I can heal.” Mara Grunau, executive director for Centre for Suicide Prevention said, “It builds connection. It gives people the opportunity to share their grief and to come together with other people who have had similar experiences. And it also gives us permission to talk about something that’s difficult to talk about for all of us, and that’s suicide.”
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Suicide: Myths, Media, and Difficult DiscussionsPsychiatric Times
September 27, 2021
This article is a Q&A with Christine Moutier, MD, Chief Medical Officer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention that discusses youth suicide and what mental health professionals can do to prevent it. Moutier also explores some reasons why girls 12 to 17 have a higher number of emergency department visits for suicide attempts than boys of the same age. Moutier says, “The difference in suspected suicide attempts between adolescent males and females could be attributed to the possibility that adolescent females disclose suicidal ideation or behavior more than adolescent males… The pandemic’s potential impact on family and parental stress, coping and mental health, social distancing, remote schooling, and other factors may be impacting girls in some unique or disproportionate ways compared with boys. This could relate to how boys and girls are socialized differently, possible differences in baseline social dynamics … possible differences in how screen time, social media and video game engagement impacts youth, and their developmental needs being differently disrupted in some way.”

Approaching structural issues that lead to suicidality through the lens of Indigenous studies – Varsity
September 26, 2021
Recent research explores how Indigenous practices can be used to prevent suicide among that population. Authors Jeffrey Ansloos, assistant professor of Indigenous mental health, education, and social policy at U of T, and Shanna Peltier, a graduate student at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, note, “engaging with Indigenous knowledge should not reiterate colonial power dynamics through capitalist appropriation or extraction.” Methods based in Indigenous knowledge explored in the research include Felt Theory, affective-biosociality, land-based relations and approaching a complex problem through empathy.

Suicide prevention for our youth is doable: We must act nowWashington Post Religion
September 24, 2021
Faith leaders have a role to play in suicide prevention among youth in their communities, and suicide prevention training is one way to learn how to support people who are struggling. The author of this article, Glen Bloomstrom, says faith leaders need to be aware of the ways in which they may be perpetuating stigma, “For various reasons, the stigma is even more prevalent in places where we are called to ‘love one another’ — in churches and faith communities. Too often people of faith insist a good Christian, a practicing Jew or a faithful Muslim would never have such thoughts if they believe their faith. Unfortunately, despair comes into the life of every human being at some time or another. Loss, pain and disappointment are more frequently recognized today as contributors to mental illnesses. But however suffering is categorized, all are a part of the human condition and may sometimes lead to suicidal thoughts.”

Suicides in Canada fell 32 per cent in first year of pandemic compared with year before, report finds Globe and Mail
September 22, 2021
A new study has found that Canadian suicide rates fell by 32% in 2020 compared to 2019.
“It’s a remarkable finding, that during this awful time, we saw a decrease,” said the report’s lead author, Roger McIntyre, a University of Toronto professor of psychiatry and pharmacology. “This tells us there are things that we can do. We don’t need to accept suicide rates, we need to rethink how we’re approaching this from a policy perspective.”

Barrie police dog named after OPP officer who died by suicideGlobal News
September 22, 2021
Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Sgt. Sylvain ‘Roots’ Routhier died by suicide in 2018. A police dog in Barrie, Ontario, is being named ‘Roots’ to honour the memory of Sgt. Routhier and bring awareness to the mental health challenges that police workers face. “We are grateful to be able to honour Sgt. Routhier and the many others in the policing profession, sworn and civilian, as well as the members of our community, who struggle with mental health every day,” said Barrie police chief Kimberley Greenwood. OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique said that improving the culture of mental health in policing is a priority for the force, “We will continue to engage in these vital conversations with our policing partners, while ensuring our members and their families get the support they need.”

Positive On-Screen Mental Health Portrayals Help Teens Discuss Issues, Survey FindsVariety
September 21, 2021
A survey of young people 13-18 commissioned by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) found that 78% of young people think the media industry has an important role to play in the responsible portrayal of mental health issues, body image issues, suicide, and self-harm. David Austin, Chief Executive of BBFC said, “In 2021, teens are concerned about mental health, and how this can impact young people emotionally. For teens’ emotional wellbeing and development, clear content warnings need to be displayed on all films and TV shows.”

CDC study finds ties between online bullying, violence, hate speech and suicide or self-harmZD Net
September 20, 2021
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have tracked how previous online behaviours such as bullying, violence, hate speech, or behaviours indicating low-severity self-harm and depression among youth may be used to predict suicide risk. Lead author, Dr. Steven Sumner of the CDC said  “It’s important that we pay attention to and really understand the new online risk factors that children are facing today in order to strengthen our prevention efforts.”

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