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:

More than 5,800 youth suicides across Canada signals mental health ‘crisis’The Star
September 14, 2018
Data compiled by a Toronto Star/Ryerson School of Journalism investigation has found that over the past 13 years, 5,800 youth have died by suicide, the youngest being 8 years old. Data comes from all coroners’ offices in the provinces and territories, except Nunavut.

Depressed on the farm: ‘Horrible crop’ takes its toll on mental healthCalgary Herald
September 14, 2018
A 2016 University of Guelph study found that farmers are one of the most at-risk groups for mental health issues, and that 40% of farmers feel uncomfortable seeking professional help due to stigma. Sean Stanford, who has a farm south of Lethbridge, was diagnosed with anxiety two years ago and makes conscious choices to help manage his mental health. “Taking breaks — something as simple as taking a grain sample to town and talking to the people at the grain elevator — can be enough to reset my mind and take me out of the monotony of combining a horrible crop,” he said. “And I make sure that I make phone calls throughout the day and talk to different people. It’s a distraction from what’s going on.”

More than half of transgender male adolescents attempt suicide, study saysWashington Post
September 14, 2018
A new study has found that transgender adolescents in the US attempt suicide at a much higher rate than their straight peers. 51% of trans male adolescents reported at least one suicide attempt. “For every transgender group, it’s orders of magnitude too high,” said Greta Gustava Martela, a trans woman who founded the Trans Lifeline. “And there’s nothing shocking about it. If you look at the things that cause people to be suicidal, whether it’s social rejection or homelessness, they all affect trans people more.”

Nearly 40% of female suicides occur in IndiaGuardian
September 13, 2018
A new study has found that nearly 2 in 5 women in the world who kill themselves are Indian, representing 36.6% of global female suicide deaths. “Our social norms are very regressive,” said Poonam Muttreja, the executive director of the Population Foundation of India, a public health group. “In the village, a girl is called her father’s daughter, then she is her husband’s wife, and when she has a son, she is her son’s mother.” Experts cite early marriage, male violence, and “other symptoms of a deeply entrenched patriarchal culture” as factors in the high rates.

Mysterious Good Samaritan leaves handwritten suicide prevention messages on Lions Gate bridge CBC
September 13, 2018
An anonymous person has left messages of hope on Vancouver’s Lions Gate Bridge, where, at least once a month, the BC Crisis Centre receives a call from someone in distress. “It’s really, really, incredibly touching that someone has decided to make this effort,” said Liz Robbins, the distress services co-director of operations at the B.C. Crisis Centre.

Dozens choose death by train each year. Transit agencies are stepping upThe Star
September 12, 2018
70 to 80% of the 1,200 people who have been struck and killed on Canada’s railway systems within the past 10 years died by suicide. Transit agencies all over Canada are taking action, by installing suicide barriers in stations, and training their staff to recognize someone who may be at risk on train platforms. These suicide prevention initiatives can effectively disable a person’s suicide plan. Suicide prevention researcher and psychologist Dr. Antoon Leenaars said, “If they fundamentally focus on just one method, you know the lethality is higher… They’re mentally constricted and they don’t think of alternatives.”

6 questions you can ask a loved one to help screen for suicide riskConversation
September 12, 2018
Andrea Pumariega, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Florida, discusses how we can better prevent suicide in the context of primary health care. The Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) is one of the tools, adaptable for a number of settings, that can be used for anyone over the age of 8. The C-SSRS asks patients six questions that must be asked “within an empathetic conversation indicating concern… in a nonalarming, matter-of-fact manner.” Questions ask about thoughts of suicide, and whether or not a suicide plan is in place.

Derry has a high suicide rate – but could redesigning the river help the city?Guardian
September 10, 2018
Northern Ireland has the highest rate of suicide in the UK, and designers in the city of Derry in the region are looking at how redesigning the river space might contribute to the improvement of the mental health of its residents. One planned change to the river space includes the addition of 12,000  “reeds” to one of the bridges, which move in the wind and change colour when people walk by. The reeds serve as a suicide prevention barrier, to stop people from jumping from the bridge, but they also change the atmosphere of the space. Ultimately, the project hopes to create connection among the people of Derry, creating a more positive atmosphere not only aesthetically, but mentally, too.

When someone is thinking of suicide, these are the people who talk them out of itCNN
September 10, 2018
*Method warning* This article talks about the ins and outs of the Atlanta call centre for the Georgia Crisis & Access Line, which receives 800 to 1,000 calls per day. Unlike most crisis centres in the US, which are staffed by volunteers, the company Behavioral Health Link, a crisis services company, is hired by the state of Georgia to answer phones. Employees are either licensed clinicians or “care consultants.” Care consultants all have master’s degrees and are extensively trained, and can refer callers to licensed clinicians if needed.

Twitter is expanding its suicide prevention partnerships to more countriesAdWeek
September 10, 2018
Twitter marked World Suicide Prevention Day by adding the suicide prevention ribbon emoji to hashtags related to the day.

Suicide prevention day: After their son died, a dream was bornCBC
September 10, 2018
Eli Cooper died by suicide in 2010 at the age of 30, and now his parents Deborah and David Cooper are creating a mental health treatment centre for young adults living with mental illness, called Eli’s Place. Eli’s Place would house up to 40 people 19-35 suffering from mental illness in a rural setting for 6-months, after which they would receive housing and employment support for a 12-month transition period.

As subject matter experts, we at the Centre for Suicide Prevention are often called upon to speak with the media about suicide and its prevention. Here’s who we spoke with last week, on World Suicide Prevention Day:

Discuter et écouter pour briser l’isolement et prévenir le suicide Radio-Canada
CSP Subject matter specialist Trish McAllister-Hall talked to Radio-Canada on World Suicide Prevention Day about what it’s like to be in suicidal crisis.

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day – Global Calgary
Executive Director Mara Grunau spoke with Global Calgary on Monday morning about the importance of asking someone directly if they are suicidal. After asking, “remain calm, listen. If you can say the word (‘suicide’) then all they have to do is say ‘yes.'”

World Suicide Prevention Day prompts conversation about death, mental health and stigmas – Global Edmonton 
“World Suicide Prevention Day is an opportunity to chip away at the stigma (surrounding suicide)… we want to encourage people to reach out for help… but we need to create an environment where they feel comfortable doing that… we need to be active listeners,” Mara Grunau, Executive Director, said on Global Edmonton yesterday.

World Suicide Prevention Day – 680 CJOB 
“If we can create enough space for the person to unload, often, they will be able to identify their own reasons for living and they will hold on to that and that will take them through other difficult situations that may come in the future,” Mara Grunau, Executive Director, with Geoff Currier on 680 CJOB.

Letter: World Suicide Prevention Day – Morinville News
Morinville News published the Centre for Suicide Prevention’s World Suicide Prevention Day press release as a letter in their editorial section. “People who consider suicide are in crisis: they are experiencing such deep, psychological pain that they have lost hope. Their vision becomes so narrow that the only way they can see an end to their pain is through death. Too often, these people suffer alone and die alone. People in crisis need our help. Taking the time to have a caring conversation with someone and being willing to sit in their discomfort with them can be the beginning of their recovery from suicidal crisis.”

United for suicide prevention – Lethbridge Herald
September 11, 2018
Centre for Suicide Prevention’s Robert Olson presented at the Lethbridge Family Services and Community Interagency Suicide Prevention Council’s World Suicide Prevention Day event.

UCalgary hosts suicide awareness concert Mysterious Barricades on Sept. 7 – UToday
Centre for Suicide Prevention was honoured to be a community partner for the second year in a row for the Mysterious Barricades Calgary concert. Mysterious Barricades is a cross-country event that features concerts from coast to coast, dawn til dusk, on September 15, to raise awareness for suicide prevention.

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