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‘Stubbornly high’ Nova Scotia suicide rate prompts calls for prevention strategyCTV News
September 14, 2023
Nova Scotia’s suicide rate has been elevated since 2012 and Dr. Simon Sherry, Halifax-based clinical psychologist and faculty member of the psychology and neuroscience at Dalhousie University, is calling for a provincial suicide prevention strategy, explaining, “We need government leadership to create a targeted and co-ordinated approach to the prevention of suicide.” Kelly Mae Mitchell lost daughter Aidaen, 14, to suicide in 2019, and is now the director of Aidaen’s Place Youth Wellness Centre in Yarmouth, NS. Mitchell agrees that a strategy would help, and adds,  “There’s so much that needs to be done by everyone — by family members, by schools and by friends — there’s just so much that makes that entire picture. There’s not one thing that’s going to fix it, there are so many pieces to that puzzle.”

I Lost a Close Friend to Suicide. Here’s Why Workplace Prevention Matters.Spring Health
September 13, 2023
The author of this article shares their personal experiences with mental health challenges and thoughts of suicide, as well as their experience of losing a friend to suicide. The article goes on to talk about warning signs and how suicide can be prevented in the workplace, including by helping employees who are considering suicide, and de-stigmatizing suicide prevention and mental health support. The author also suggests reaching out to someone you’re worried about, “Remember, you don’t need to have all the answers or say the perfect thing. Sometimes, a simple, direct question like, ‘Hey, are you struggling?’ or ‘Do you need support?’ or ‘Can I help you find resources?’ can make a significant difference. It might be the encouragement someone needs to seek help.”

Japan steps up efforts to prevent suicides among childrenJapan Times
September 12, 2023
Suicides among school-aged children in Japan are the highest they’ve been since comparable data has been collected, starting in 1980. In June, Japan’s Children and Families Agency adopted an emergency program to support related programs including checking on the mental and physical health of children through tablets distributed to them at school. 24-hour chatline Anata no Ibasho, located in Tokyo, says that children call about not wanting to go to back to school after long breaks and having suicide thoughts along with these feelings. Anxiety was also a common call issue. Toshihiko Matsumoto, head of the Department of Drug Dependence Research of the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry said, “It’s necessary to establish a system to study what’s behind suicides among children… It is also important to have a relationship that allows children to talk about negative things.”

WHO launches new resources on prevention and decriminalization of suicideWorld Health Organization
September 12, 2023
The World Health Organization (WHO) has released two new resources: Preventing suicide: a resource for media professionals (2023 update) and a policy brief on the health aspects of decriminalization of suicide and suicide attempts. Nathalie Drew Bold, WHO Technical Officer, said, “Criminalizing suicide only serves to exacerbate people’s distress. The decriminalisation of suicide and suicide attempts is a critical step that governments can take in their efforts to prevent suicide. WHO is committed to supporting efforts to decriminalise suicide.” Of the media resource, Dr Alexandra Fleischmann, Scientist at WHO, said, “Responsible media coverage of suicide is an important tool in our collective suicide prevention efforts. By using this resource, media professionals can help minimize imitative behaviours through accurate, appropriate, and empathetic reporting on suicide, and encourage people to seek vital help.”

Montreal doctor who lost brother to suicide calls for more mental health fundingCTV News
September 11, 2023
Dori Shiff lost brother Dan Shiff, 49, to suicide in April of this year. Schiff tried to check himself into the psychiatric ward at the hospital when he was feeling suicidal but there were no beds available. Schiff left the hospital and died by suicide a few days later. Psychologist Dr. Perry Adler says that mental health in Quebec has historically been underfunded, and data from the Fraser Institute shows that people in Quebec waited longer in 2022 than in 2021 for treatment after seeing a specialist. Family and friends can play a role in supporting loved ones if they think they’re struggling. Psychotherapist Corrie Sirota says, “Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions, and the tough questions are just honest questions. There are stigmas around ‘if I ask someone if they’re considering suicide,’ that ‘I’m planting the seed in their head.’ The answer is no, you are not.”

World Suicide Prevention Day: How to help someone who is strugglingEdmonton Journal
September 10, 2023
Alberta Health Services (AHS) released a statement for World Suicide Prevention Day this year highlighting how to help someone you’re worried about. “Talking about suicide and mental health can be difficult, but it’s one of the most important ways to help reduce stigma,” AHS said in their statement. “Together, we can help prevent suicide by showing understanding and compassion and by encouraging people experiencing mental health challenges to reach out for support.” They suggest using the ‘REACH’ acronym to remember how to help, “Recognize when someone is struggling; Engage in conversation and listen; Ask about suicidal thoughts and feelings; Connect to support and resources; Heal yourself by taking care of your own mental health.”

Suicide ideation is a problem in Canada. Here’s why experts think it’s more prevalent CTV News
September 9, 2023
A poll from Mental Health Research Canada has found that suicide ideation is “more predominant” in young people in Canada and is particularly high among older adolescents and those aged 18-34 years. The survey found that main contributors to declining mental health included: financial difficulties, inflation, and housing and food insecurity. Study authors say, “Financial instability is impacting suicide ideation, with those experiencing money problems being more likely to have considered it. Specifically, those who are unemployed (24%), have an income below $30,000 (21%), have financial troubles (41%) or have gone into debt due to inflation (30%) indicated having had suicidal thoughts in the past year.”