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:

Don’t be afraid to say the word ‘suicide’: A caring conversation can save lives – Edmonton Journal
October 7, 2019
Suicide prevention is everyone’s business, and there are steps we can all take to help save a life, including knowing the warning signs of suicide so we can recognize when someone we know may be struggling. If you’re worried about someone in your life, have a caring conversation with them. Mara Grunau, executive director of the Centre for Suicide Prevention suggests that when having a conversation, “Start with something like ‘Is everything OK?’ and then follow that with ‘I ask because you’ve been late for work and you’ve skipped our dinner dates three times in a row, and that’s not like you.’” It’s important to then give the person space to talk about their feelings. “Giving them an opportunity to vent is really important. Whether because of perceived stigma or just a general unwillingness to ask for help, most people at risk of suicide feel like their pain is bottled up inside them. Listening validates how they’re feeling, and that’s huge,” says Robert Olson, librarian at the Centre for Suicide Prevention. If you’re still worried about the person after what they’ve told you, ask them directly, “Are you thinking about suicide?” If they say yes, connect them to help, and let them know you’re there to support them. 
Learn more about how to have a caring conversation with our article on the subject.

How to Talk to Your Child About Suicide – Parents
October 3, 2019
It’s important to talk to children of any age about their feelings, as even children can think about suicide, even if they may not understand the concept completely. And while most experts advise against discussing tragedies with children under the age of 8, suicide is one exception. Alicia Raimundo, a mental health advocate and project manager of Foundry, says, “I would recommend talking to (young children) about someone passing from suicide like you would any other disease. Explain the act was caused by an illness called anxiety, depression, or trauma.” 

Panel on police suicides says officers need better mental health supportCBC
October 2, 2019
A panel assembled by Ontario’s chief coroner to investigate Ontario police suicides has released a report recommending the province track first responder suicides specifically, and emphasizing that the stigma around mental health must be broken down throughout police training and into their careers. “[Police officers] are people who have great responsibility within our society and yet they’re also under significant scrutiny and accountability for their action,” said Dr. Dirk Hyer, Ontario’s chief coroner. “When they have difficulties, whether they be mental health issues or others, then it’s very binary in the decision: they’re fit for duty or they’re not.”
Officer’s widow pleased with recommendations to stem police suicidesCBC

French police officers hold “anger march” over pay, suicidesToronto Star
October 2, 2019
Last week in Paris, thousands of French police officers took part in an anger march to protest officer suicides, working conditions, and wages. It’s the first mass police officer protest in France since 2001, and comes in part as a response to the fact that French senate reported that police officers have a suicide rate 36% higher than that of the general population. Yann Bastiere, a Montpellier police officer who went to Paris to attend the march, said,  “There are a lot of suicides, which shows that there is a big, big problem,” adding, “it’s too much.”

U of T president says safety barriers should have been set up earlier to prevent suicideCBC
October 1, 2019
The University of Toronto has erected temporary safety barriers on campus where a student died by suicide last week, in order to prevent further deaths. There have been three student suicides at the U of T since June 2018. U of T president President Meric Gertler said, “We all wish that we had (installed barriers) sooner,” and of broader campus suicide prevention, “we do acknowledge the importance of talking about the issue of suicide amongst young people and young adults in this country. And that’s something that we have started to talk about quite openly on this campus.”