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:

Why Do People Kill Themselves? Scientific American
October 2018
About one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds globally, and suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US. The reason people die by suicide differs from person to person, and is multicausal. This is why finding predictive variables is difficult, and also because the cognitive state of a person considering suicide may be inaccessible even to the person experiencing it. In consulting suicide attempt survivors, Ralph Lewis, a psychiatrist at the University of Toronto, remarks: “They say, ‘I don’t know what came over me. I don’t know what I was thinking.’ This is why suicide prevention is so important: because people can be very persuasive in arguing why they believe life—their life—is not worth living. And yet the situation looks radically different months later, sometimes because of an antidepressant, sometimes because of a change in circumstances, sometimes just a mysterious change of mind.”

‘This is a health crisis’- Ontario MPP calls for action after Bearskin Lake youth suicide CBC
September 20, 2018
A 13-year-old girl has died by suicide in Bearskin Lake in northern Ontario. She’s the second young person to take her life in the community after a 10-year-old girl died in 2015. Sol Mamakwa, the NDP member for the Kiiwetinoong riding where Bearskin Lake is located, raised the issue last week during Question Period to Premier Doug Ford. “In 2015, a 10-year-old girl took her life. This was also in Bearskin Lake. What is the Premier prepared to do to ensure that these pandemics of our young Indigenous people killing themselves stop once and for all?” Mamakwa followed up with another question, “Two years ago, the suicide rate for children under the age of 15 in First Nations I represent was 50 times higher than the national average. But what has changed since these children took their own lives? This is a health crisis. This is a mental health crisis. This is an intergenerational trauma crisis. This is a housing crisis.”

More doctor visits lead to fewer suicide attempts for fibromyalgia patientsScienceDaily
September 19, 2018
A new study has found that fibromyalgia patients who regularly visit their doctor are much less likely to attempt suicide than those who don’t. Patients who did not attempt suicide saw their doctor for an average of 50 hours per year whereas those who did only saw their doctor for one hour or less. People with fibromyalgia have a 10 times higher rate of suicide in those in the general population. “It’s not just about risk factors; it is about what keeps people from hurting themselves, protective factors,” said lead author Lindsey McKernan, PhD, assistant professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. “If you really break it down the people who were having suicidal thoughts weren’t going into the doctor as much. I think about the people who might be falling through the cracks. Chronic pain in and of itself is very isolating over time.”

Jane Fonda Opens Up About Her Mother’s Suicide: ‘It Has a Big Impact on Your Sense of Self’ People
September 19, 2018
*Method warning* Jane Fonda opens up to People magazine about losing her mother to suicide in 1950, when she was 12 years old. Fonda’s mother, Frances Ford Seymour, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and died while in a mental health facility. Fonda didn’t know her mother died by suicide until reading about it in a magazine: her father told the family she died of a heart attack. Fonda also didn’t realize until after her mother’s death and requesting her medical records, that she had bipolar disorder. She also talks about coming to terms with the guilt survivors of suicide loss often feel: “It wasn’t that I wasn’t lovable. They had issues and the minute you know that, you can feel tremendous empathy for them. And you can forgive.”

Solomon Thomas: My sister ‘was the light of my life’ESPN
September 19, 2018
In this editorial, written by the NFL San Francisco 49ers defensive end Solomon Thomas, Thomas discusses the life of his older sister, Ella Thomas, who died by suicide earlier this year. Ella struggled with anxiety and depression, and also a traumatic incident during her college years. He shares his advice to families grieving the loss of a loved one to suicide: “To families out there going through this: The best thing you can do is stay together. It’s always one day at a time. Today you might not be as wrecked as you were yesterday, but your mom might be. So pull together to support her. The next day, she’s probably gonna be the one lifting you up. That’s how it goes.”

Ombudsman mulls new investigation after three Ontario police suicides Globe and Mail
September 18, 2018
Following the suicide deaths of three Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers, Ombudsman Paul Dube has directed his stuff to assess new complaints and issues related to suicide and operational stress injuries among OPP officers in an attempt to assess whether or not a follow-up systemic investigation is warranted. “We have begun with preliminary research, and encourage people affected by the issue of operational stress injuries in the OPP to come forward with their stories as we lay the groundwork for a possible investigation,” said Dube.

Alberta’s mental health system ‘cracking at the seams,’ says co-author of review CBC
September 18, 2018
David Swann, a liberal MLA and co-chair of a committee that studied the mental health and addiction systems, says the mental health system in Alberta remains overwhelmed and in crisis, despite the implementation of a mental health plan three years ago. Though, he says, the current NDP government is doing more than has ever been done by any previous government to improve addiction services, mental health care continues to fall short. “We are incrementally dealing with a crisis that has moved way beyond the capacity of our current resources,” said Swann. “Almost everybody I speak to in the medical and social side that are dealing with these issues say they’re overwhelmed. It’s not getting better.”

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