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:

Medicine Hat’s suicide numbers are on pace to double last year’sMedicine Hat News
October 3, 2020
Medicine Hat, Alberta, had 5 suicides in 2019: 3 male, 2 female. So far in 2020, there have been 8 suicide deaths: 7 male, 1 female. Police chief Andy McGrogan wants to remind residents to, “Call if they need help. There are all kinds of suicide prevention lines and mental health lines. Reach out and talk to somebody.” Canadian Mental Health Association and Alberta Health Services are working together to prevent further suicides.

Physician Suicide Is a Daily OccurrenceElemental
October 1, 2020
Physicians die by suicide two times more often than those in the general population. They often have stressful working conditions and excessively long hours, and the pandemic may cause additional stress. Physicians are dealing with patients who need a higher level of care, and management guidelines for COVID-19 change rapidly. The author of this article, Dr. Jeff Livingston, encourages physicians to seek help if they’re struggling. He also encourages people to know the warning signs of suicide and reach out to someone they’re worried about.

Suicide rate among active duty troops jumps to six-year highUSA Today
October 1, 2020
The Pentagon released a report last week that found the suicide rate for active-duty American troops increased in 2019 to a rate of 25.9 per 100,000, compared to 24.9 in 2018 and 21.9 in 2017. “None of us has solved this issue,” said Karin Orvis, director of the Defense Suicide Prevention Office. “There is no quick fix.” In a joint statement, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Gen. James McConville said, “In the face of additional stress of a pandemic, we are working to improve access to behavioral health care while enhancing our resilience training and stigma reduction efforts,” according to their statement.

How to have open conversations about suicide with your kidsToday
September 30, 2020
Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention discusses how to talk about suicide with a child in your care. She says it’s important to recognize that everyone struggles with their mental health and to ensure your child knows that they can come to you to discuss their struggles. Conversations about mental health can happen everyday, including at the dinner table, where families can check in with each other, and everyone can share what stresses they’re facing and what they’re doing to cope. Moutier also recommends giving children your undivided attention so that you can pick up on subtle cues that they may be struggling. 

“Postvention” can be central in suicide preventionVeterinary Practice News
September 29, 2020
A new resource, After a Suicide: A Guide for Veterinary Workplaces, released by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the American Veterinary Medical Association, outlines how veterinary office managers can support staff after an employee dies by suicide. The guide was developed by experts in suicide prevention, veterinary medicine, as well as people in the veterinary medical community who have been impacted by suicide. Included are: best practices for how to respond in the immediate aftermath of a suicide, guidance on helping workplace community grief and cope, tips for working with media and community partners, and suggestions for memorialization of someone who has died by suicide. 

Is the Media Getting Better at Covering Suicide?Psychology Today Canada
September 29, 2020
This article examines how the media reports on suicide, and highlights the Mindset guidelines for reporting on mental health as an asset for journalists reporting on suicide. The media plays an important role in suicide prevention, as responsible reporting can help increase understanding and break down stigma, and irresponsible, sensational reporting can negatively impact those at risk of suicide.

Inner Man Project looks to change conversation around men’s health in Medicine HatCTV News
September 21, 2020
Medicine Hat has recently experienced several suicides, mostly male. In response, 7 Medicine Hat men co-founded ‘Inner Man,’ a Facebook forum that offers peer support and encourages men to share their experiences with mental health. Inner Man seeks to break down the stigma and offer a place where men can go for support. Co-founder Dylan Eckes says, “We’re trying to promote positive masculinity. It’s OK to be a strong-willed person, take care of your family, have good morals and be tough. But at the same time, connect with other men and your family in this safe space to talk about struggles and mental health.”

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