Raising awareness and reducing stigmaBusiness in Calgary
October issue
This article highlights the Buddy Up men’s suicide prevention campaign, and how CSV Midstream Solutions (CSV), long-time Buddy Up Champions, collaborated with Centre for Suicide Prevention (CSP)  to offer Buddy Up Skills Training to staff. Akash Asif, Strategy & Operations Director at CSP, says “Buddy Up is meant to help raise awareness, reduce the stigma around suicide, encourage behavioural changes and provide opportunities to connect with buddies.” Daniel Clarke, CEO of CSV, says, “It is important for everyone at CSV to have an environment where people not only feel comfortable speaking to one another, but also have the tools and resources to identify and communicate effectively. We consider our support of Buddy Up to be a proactive measure that could save a life and at minimum, encourage a more open and communicative environment.” Buddy Up Skills Training offers different levels of suicide prevention training to staff, from a 20 minute suicide awareness webinar to a 2-day suicide intervention workshop.

‘Alarming’ suicide rates in northern Ontario, Sudbury health unit saysCBC
October 5, 2023
Sudbury, Ontario has suicide rates higher than the provincial average, according to Public Health Sudbury and Districts. Sudbury’s rate is 17.4 per 100,000, while the average in Ontario is 11.4. Erin Ballantyne, a public health nurse on the mental health and substance use team, explains that, since Sudbury is a large area with a sparse population, social isolation and limited access to services such as mental health services, housing, and substance use supports may be factors. Ballantyne also explains, “We also have an increase in health inequities in northern Ontario for specific groups such as our LGBTQ+ community, Indigenous Peoples and newcomers and because of those increased health inequities, those groups can also have an increased risk of poor mental health outcomes and mental health challenges and an increased risk of death by suicide.” Mark Fraser, executive director of Compass and the co-chair of the Suicide Safer Network in Sudbury, says that postvention services are needed, “In the Sudbury area, there is a strong need for post-vention services, meaning when there’s a death by suicide in our community, it causes ripple effect across our community and post-vention services are aimed at addressing that ripple effect.”

Montreal-based Sun Life insurance wants industry to review suicide rulesCTV News
October 5, 2023
Jacques Goulet, Sun Life Canada president, is advocating for the insurance industry to relax restrictions around life insurance benefits and deaths by suicide. Industry standard is to refuse to pay benefits when the insured person died by suicide less than two years after signing the life insurance policy, in which case, only premiums would be repaid. “This standard clause sometimes leads to heart-breaking situations,” says Goulet. “We’re working with the industry. It’s complicated for all the players to agree. If things don’t move forward at industry level, we’ll consider whether we’re going it alone or not, but we’d like to do it better within the industry.”

Suicide rates increased after extreme drought in the Murray-Darling Basin – we have to do better as climate change intensifiesThe Conversation
October 4, 2023
A new study has explored the correlation between suicide rates and drought in Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin, one of their biggest farming areas. It was found that suicide was strongly associated with extreme drought; in areas where extreme drought was experienced for more than one month in the previous year, there was a 32% increase in monthly suicide rates. Drought, which is predicted to become longer and more extreme with climate change, may affect suicide rates as it can reduce agricultural production, increase financial hardship, degrade the environment, and reduce employment. Study authors say that a multi-faceted approach must be taken to prevent these suicides. One approach including addressing the financial hardship caused by drought, “The relationship between drought and financial hardship seems to be key in farming areas. This points to the need for other forms of income on the farm, including from native vegetation and carbon credits. Work can also be done to promote drought preparedness, increase appropriate regional economic, social development and environmental policies and – where necessary – help people leave farming.” Telehealth services and primary health network services, men’s support programs, and drought counselling could also be beneficial.

Black Male Suicide: A Silent EpidemicForbes
October 2, 2023
**Method warning, Content warning – use of the word ‘commit’** A 2021 study found that Black men in the US had a larger increase in suicide attempts than any other racial group, and that Black teens saw a 47% increase in suicide rates from 2013 to 2019. Dr. Leslie Adams, an assistant professor in the department of mental health at Johns Hopkins and suicidologist says, “Racism is a dynamic force. There’s online discrimination and bullying coupled with the school system and the criminal justice system. All of those things have created the perfect storm.” Janel Cubbage, psychotherapist, says, “There’s this narrative that suicide is a white thing and that’s not true. There’s also this history that is associated with slavery. Suicide was very much a part of chattel slavery. Some of the very first suicide prevention technologies were developed on slave ships.” Suicide among Black people can be prevented by: restricting access to means, showing unconditional love and support to loved ones, connecting a person who is struggling to further resources. Cubbage also recommends “be(ing) more willing to have these conversations openly and recognize it’s not a personal or moral failing.”

How to cope with a loved one’s suicide, from someone who’s been through it – CNN
September 30, 2023
In this article, Alexandra Wyman talks about her experience losing husband Shaw Wyman to suicide, and the complicated grief that followed, including feelings of anger, guilt, fear, and shame. Wyman says that the sheriff who informed her of Shawn’s death had lost her own husband eight months prior, and told Wyman, “You’re not going to believe me, but I’m gonna let you know that you can get through this.” Wyman explains, “I did not believe her. But she was right. It takes work. And it can feel awful. But it’s absolutely possible and rewarding.”