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Description: September is Suicide prevention awareness month in both Canada and the United States. Suicide rates have risen in the United States through the current year and seem to be and are projected to increase in Canada as well. The additional burdens of social, economic, employment, isolation, stress and uncertainty arising from factors associated with the Covid-19 pandemic are contributing to serious concerns about the current and immediate future suicide rates and associated mental health issues. September is typically a month where we get back to things after a summer break but this year what we are getting back to is much less settled and less clear than in any year in memory. As such, anyone with any capacity remaining to reflect and plan future actions should include some reflection upon the factors that threaten to bump up societal suicide rates and to think about some of the things we can potentially do about it at our local social levels. Have a read through the linked article for some suggestions and consider attending the webinar noted below, happening of September 22 and including a friend of mine, Keith Dobson, professor of Clinical Psychology from the University of Calgary.

Source: Mental Health, Suicide and the Covid-19 Pandemic, Carlin Barnes and Marketa Wills, Suicide, Psychology Today

Navigating Mental Health: Protecting employees in the post-pandemic world, The Globe and Mail Events September 22, 1:30 PM EDT (Free event, Registration Required)

Date: September 1, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by Лечение Наркомании from Pixabay

Article Link:

Centre for Suicide Prevention

The first place to consider the suggestions offered is through self-reflection. How are YOU doing right now? If you are not sure or if you ARE sure and it is not good, please talk to someone. If you do not have a friend you can talk to call (In Canada call 1-833-456-4566; In the United States call 1-800-273-8255). If you are OK then reflect on the suggestions and try to keep them close to the front of mind as you engage with friends, relatives, co-workers, fellow students, or anyone and if anything tweaks your thoughts, reach out. Our social safety nets are potentially seriously stretched these days and as such it is advisable that ALL of us switch our empathic, social monitoring skills up a notch or two as someone may needs us to be there.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are some of the factors currently at play that make these times potentially more hazardous for people’s mental health and wellness?
  2. What sorts of things should be watching and listening for in those around us and close to us these days and this month in particular?
  3. What resources are available in your community that may be able to provide support and care for those who need it these days?

References (Read Further):

Gunnell, D., Appleby, L., Arensman, E., Hawton, K., John, A., Kapur, N., … & Chan, L. F. (2020). Suicide risk and prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lancet Psychiatry, 7(6), 468-471. Link

Kawohl, W., & Nordt, C. (2020). COVID-19, unemployment, and suicide. The Lancet Psychiatry, 7(5), 389-390. Link

Thakur, V., & Jain, A. (2020). COVID 2019-suicides: A global psychological pandemic. Brain, behavior, and immunity. Link

Sher, L. (2020). COVID-19, anxiety, sleep disturbances and suicide. Sleep Medicine. Link

Pakpour, A. H., & Griffiths, M. D. (2020). The fear of COVID-19 and its role in preventive behaviors. Journal of Concurrent Disorders. Link

Brown, S., & Schuman, D. L. (2020). Suicide in the Time of COVID‐19: A Perfect Storm. The journal of rural health. Link