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:

National Day for Truth and ReconciliationCentre for Suicide Prevention
September 30, 2021
On September 30th Centre for Suicide Prevention acknowledges National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day to honour the lost children and Survivors of residential schools and their families and communities. Indigenous people have known and endured colonization and racism for many generations. “More than 150,000 children attended residential schools; many never returned.” This year, unmarked graves of First Nations children were unearthed at former residential school sites, providing hard evidence to all people living in Canada of the evils Indigenous people have experienced and continue to experience. The outcropping of the intergenerational trauma inflicted on First Peoples for more than a century continues today – higher suicide rates, homelessness, addictions and violence are all outcomes of this cultural ravaging. We need to take action. We encourage everyone to read the TRC’s 94 Calls to Action, acknowledge the land, and learn more about the history of residential schools.

Run for Life adds pop-up station to online event in StrathmoreToronto Star
September 30, 2021
Centre for Suicide Prevention held a pop-up event recently in nearby Strathmore, Alberta to promote Run for Life, its annual campaign to raise awareness about suicide.
Jeff Foster, with the Centre for Suicide Prevention, says that town of Strathmore has been a strong partner with CSP and Run for Life and asked CSP to come out to do an in-person pop-up.
“Response in Strathmore has been great, especially throughout the entire virtual event. We have tons of registrations and participants from Strathmore, and then just coming out here and being with some of the people who have registered and partnered and just anyone else who wants to come and learn how to prevent suicide and be more aware of suicide is great” Foster said.
Over 400 people participated in the run this year which was virtual because of the ongoing pandemic. It ran from September 19 to September 26.

Mental health literacy key to helping students stay wellGlobe and Mail
October 1, 2021
Andrew Baxter, who leads Mental Health Literacy, a free online service providing mental health literacy resources for schools in Canada, says there has been an increasing demand for child and youth mental health services in Canada in recent years. This may mean that students are struggling more nowadays but might also mean “they feel more empowered to address mental health needs”.
The pandemic has also contributed to greater demand. But Baxter thinks the pandemic may “ultimately serve to make them (children and youth) more resilient”.

Alberta health-care providers face growing mental health toll as ICUs pushed to breaking pointCBC News
September 29, 2021
Healthcare workers in Alberta were “gutted” that Premier Jason Kenney did not announce a firebreak lockdown or further restrictions when he spoke to media on Tuesday.
Currently, 1100 Albertans are being treated in hospital for COVID-19 and 263 of them are in ICU. These are the highest numbers for Alberta during the entire pandemic and are the highest numbers in the country.
Emotional exhaustion is taking a toll on the health-care providers as a result. Dr. Sue Reid, physician health advocate and former member of the Alberta Medical Association’s physician and family support program advisory committee, believes that there will need to be “massive mental health and psychological supports for our workforce”. With seemingly no end to this pandemic she feels there can only be “frustration, exhaustion, burnout” in the immediate future.

Families bereaved through gambling-linked suicide launch education programme – Evening Standard
September 28, 2021
Gambling with Lives, a UK charity organized by families who have lost loved ones to suicide, has launched a program to raise awareness among young people of the harms that gambling can cause, including suicide.
There are between 250 and 260 suicides in the UK every year with links to gambling problems. Northern Ireland, where it is being launched, has the highest rate of gambling disorder in the UK.
The program aims to be preventative and proactive and to encourage conversation among the young about gambling addiction.

New research reveals full extent of veteran suicide crisis as royal commission begins work – ABC News
September 28, 2021
A royal commission into defence and veteran suicides in Australia has determined that more than 1,200 Australian Defence Force veterans have died by suicide in the last twenty years. This is almost three times higher than numbers previously reported. The highest rates occurred among navy veterans, followed by army and air force veterans.

Pennsylvania lawmaker’s bill aims to prevent suicide through voluntary Do-Not-Sell Firearm RegistryBradford Era
September 27, 2021
Pennsylvania state senator John Kane has introduced a bill allowing residents the option to reduce their own access to firearms. The legislation aims to reduce suicide deaths in Pennsylvania by asking residents to “confidentially add their name to a federal and state background check system that would prevent them from purchasing a firearm”. Evidence has shown that a delay in the purchase of a firearm can reduce suicides and attempted suicides.

Ontario expands mental health support program for farmers across provinceCBC News
September 27, 2021
The province of Ontario has ear-marked $385, 000 for a mental health literacy program for farmers and producers called In the Know. The program was designed by researchers at the University of Guelph and teaches farmers about mental health issues and strategies to cope with stress. It is offered through the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).

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