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:

Grappling With The Rise Of Work-Related Suicide During The Pandemic: How To Support Yourself And Fellow CoworkersForbes
September 5, 2020
Employers have an important role to play in preventing suicide – work stress (including excessive workload and interpersonal issues) and long hours are contributing factors to suicide and workplace issues are on the rise. Suicide can be prevented in the workplace by: being aware of the signs of suicide, providing training for employees, taking threats of suicide or attempts seriously, arranging help for co-workers, and reaching out for support when it’s needed.

Having thoughts of suicide during the pandemic? Here’s how to cope and get helpMarketWatch
September 4, 2020
A study published last month by the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that, in June 2020, 10.7% of Americans had seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days. This is compared to 4.3% who said they had seriously considered suicide in all of 2018. Younger adults, essential workers, unpaid adult caregivers, people without a high school diploma, and Black and Hispanic people were all more likely to report suicidal thoughts than other demographics. “While not monolithic, these groups represent people in our society who simultaneously have the least access to resources and protections and the most pandemic-related stressors,” said Jonathan Singer, the president of the American Association of Suicidology and an associate professor of social work at Loyola University Chicago. “We have a patchwork quilt of supports that for the most part consider the needs of these groups of people last instead of first.”

Financial strains significantly raise risk of suicide attemptsEurekAlert! Science News
September 3, 2020
A new study has found that financial strains such as low income, unemployment, and high amounts of debt are associated with suicide attempts. Authors suggest that these factors be considered in any mental health intervention effort. The study was undertaken before the COVID-19 pandemic. “Our research shows that financial stressors play a major role in suicides, and this needs to be recognized and appreciated in light of the unprecedented financial instability triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Eric Elbogen, Ph.D., a professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke, and lead author of the study.

In its ‘biggest update,’ Dictionary.com revises outdated entries on race, sexuality, suicideCTV News
September 3, 2020
In its latest update, Dictionary.com has revised definitions that included ‘commit suicide,’ to instead say, ‘died by suicide,’ or ‘end one’s life.’

Exposure to workplace sexual harassment linked to an increased risk of suicidal behaviorScience Daily
September 2, 2020
A new study has found that workers who have experienced sexual harassment in their workplace are at a greater risk of suicide, however, workplace interventions focusing on the social side of the workplace could help reduce that risk. Over 85,000 people were included in the study. Participants completed a questionnaire between 1995 and 2013 about work-related sexual harassment. 4.8% of workers surveyed reported harassment and a total of 125 people died by suicide and 816 made an attempt during the follow-up period. “Promising, evidence-based solutions exist and should be widely implemented and evaluated. Victims of sexual harassment should receive mental health screening and treatment to mitigate risks for subsequent mental health concerns and suicidality,” conclude study authors.

Gun Control Is the Key to Addressing America’s Suicide CrisisThe Atlantic
September 1, 2020
*Method warning* Controlling the means by which people can kill themselves is an effective form of suicide prevention – the Israeli army stopped allowing soldiers to bring home their firearms and this led to a 40% reduction in suicides, for example. This article argues that, “American suicide rate would be much lower if guns were not so prevalent in our civil society. A landmark 2018 National Institutes of Health–funded study conducted by the RAND Corporation found a strong correlation between communities with high rates of gun ownership and high suicide rates. The NIH study also confirmed other research showing that the stronger a state’s gun laws, the less likely the state is to have a high suicide rate. Universal background checks, locally issued gun permits, and waiting periods—policies that put time between a decision to purchase a gun and the gun’s receipt—all lead to fewer suicides.”

How Men Can Feel More Open Talking About Suicide PreventionMen’s Health
September 1, 2020
It can be difficult for people to discuss suicide, and especially men, who often face societal pressure to never discuss their feelings, let alone their mental health and thoughts of suicide. “As human beings, men and women, we all struggle at different times,” says Christine Moutier, M.D., the chief medical officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “So suicidal thoughts and anything along that kind of spectrum is actually so much more common than any of us really realize, and these are things we can and should talk about.” It’s important for men, especially, to feel comfortable to talk about suicide because men die by suicide three times more often than women. “The idea that men don’t talk about these things and don’t get therapy—that’s not true anymore. Men absolutely avail themselves to therapy and can benefit from it tremendously,” said Moutier.

Mental Health, Suicide, and the COVID-19 PandemicPsychology Today
September 1, 2020
In 2020, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that suicide deaths for people  16 to 64 have increased 35% in less than 20 years. New factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic could contribute to a further increase, including factors like social isolation, loneliness, unemployment, grief, trauma, and a widening of the net of groups at-risk for mental health conditions. We all have a role to play in preventing suicide by looking out for those around us: are they exhibiting signs that they’re struggling? If so, we can support them by letting them know we’re there for them, and creating a safety plan, which includes calling 911 in case of imminent suicide plans. Asking them to talk about what their emotional pain feels like can also be a helpful process for them, in addition to asking if there is anything you can do to help them feel better, and helping them access therapy.

Male suicide rate hits two-decade high in England and Wales | SocietyThe Guardian
September 1, 2020
The Office for National Statistics in the UK has published data finding that there was an increase in male suicide rates in England and Wales – their rate is now 16.9 per 100,000, compared to 5.3 per 100,000 for women. Both numbers are the highest they’ve been since around 2004 – though the male rate is consistent with 2018 data. Vicki Nash, the head of policy and campaigns at the charity Mind, said: “Not all suicides are mental health-related but many are, and we know that a significant proportion of people who take their own lives have asked for support for their mental health within the last 12 months, which means that services are failing people when they need help the most. With more and more people seeking support for their mental health, it is absolutely crucial that services are equipped to meet the demand. No one in touch with services, asking for help, should reach the point of taking their own life.”

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