Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Ending It All

"It's a troubling and a sad stat[istic]." It shows the seriousness of suicide and how important it is that we not shy away from conversations about suicide."
"We did have a very slight decrease [down slightly from 2014], but it's definitely not something to celebrate."
"This report is really a starting point for us. We hope this report will help us explore other questions. Where are the gaps in the data? What opportunities do we have from this data that can help inform or shape future policies or programs? We have the data. Now we want to hear the stories."
"The wonderful awareness campaigns we have are a great step, but it's also important that these young people feel confident and that they trust those who they're reaching out to."
Benjamin Leikin, supervisor, mental health unit, Ottawa Public Health
Hands holding
"We weren't reaching the young people themselves [through the 24/7 crisis line operation]."
"We all know that technology and mobile services are where kids typically communicate more, so we looked at a chat line as part of our crisis line."
Jeanne Lowe, executive director, Youth Services Bureau
Mental health experts advise parents and others working with children and teens to watch for changes in behaviour. These can include:
  • Changes in behaviours, friends, or normal activities
  • Changes in physical health and/or hygiene
  • Low energy, poor concentration
  • Declining school performance
  • Increased absenteeism
  • Marked personality change
  • Increased risky behaviour
  • Prolonged negative mood or attitude
  • Sudden positive mood after a long period of being ‘down’
  • Preoccupation with appearance and/or body image
  • Comments about feeling worthless, helpless, or hopeless
  • Comments about suicide and/or dying
Teens in crisis may talk more easily to their peers than to adults. All kids and teens should be encouraged to speak up if they are concerned about a friend—to tell a trusted adult, whether their own parents, a friend’s parent or a teacher, guidance counsellor or coach.

So if a parent, teacher or friend is noticing these changes, what can they do?  Sometimes it’s not easy talking to our kids.
  • Say something! Don’t be afraid of sounding clumsy
  • Be patient, compassionate, and non-judgmental
  • Ask the person how they are feeling and if they are thinking of suicide
  • If someone is suicidal, talking about suicide will not put them at greater risk
  • Really listen. Give 100% of your attention
  • Be sensitive, but direct
  • Let the person know you are concerned, and give examples of why
  • Example:  “I’ve noticed that you’ve been not yourself lately, I’m concerned about you. Could we talk about it?”
It cannot be considered anything but a mystery that so many people in any society seek to end their lives. In the New England States, suicide rates are on the increase, and though youth are thought to make up the greater proportion of those seeking to end their lives before they have even lived them into adulthood, statistics appear to belie the common perception that suicidal teens lead the death rate by one's own hand. There, it seems to be rural dwellers in their mid-50s and beyond who seem to top the scales for suicide.

People who suffer from mental illness, those who are facing economic turmoil, those who are lonely and/or have no one to depend upon to see them through emotional upsets. Figures in the Province of Ontario and more particularly in the nation's capital area appear to point elsewhere. The bulk of the increase leading to hospital admissions for mental-health conditions and addictions were seen to rise between 2007 and 2015 a whopping 45 percent, that increase led by those between the ages of 15 and 24.

Among Ottawa high school students, fifty-six percent surrender between two to four hours daily of their time to the use of smartphones and other electronic devices; over a quarter of that number claim to spend five or more hours daily using these devices. The question might very well be, are they a communication assist or an alienation tool taking constant users in a widening disconnect of normal social values?

The Champlain health region which includes Ottawa and the greater Ottawa Valley sees twenty-nine percent of Indigenous youth reporting symptoms of substance abuse in a truly problematic scenario. That represents one viral clue of alienation both from the wider society and the community group, the solution to which situation appears frustratingly elusive.

A newly published report by Ottawa Public Health, titled the Status of Mental Health in Ottawa, has determined that one of every nine students in the city has considered committing suicide in the year just past, with over 1,300 claiming to have made the attempt. Of those claiming to have attempted suicide, 60 percent made an effort to seek out guidance and emotional support, but failed to succeed in so doing for the simple reason it wasn't clear to them whom to turn to.

Of those questioned, it was discovered that 91 percent of those aged 12 or older felt satisfied with their lives, while 75 percent responded their feelings of happiness buoyed them on a daily basis the month previous. Clearly, this segment of society felt little in common with a much narrower segment for whom life satisfaction is elusive, leaving them to cope with darker emotions and puzzling over where they can find relief and support.

Ottawa's population is often thought of as a transient one, owing in no small part to the fact that a significant proportion of the population is employed by government as public servants. An average of 80 suicides take place each year in the city, of which roughly ten percent represent youth between 15 and 24 years of age. These numbers are reflected elsewhere in the Province of Ontario. A sense of belonging to their community is reflected in 63 percent of the city's residents, a rate lower than elsewhere in the province.

Unsurprisingly that proportion of the population living in low-income areas of the city are three times likelier to report "fair" or "poor" personal mental health conditions. In recognition of the vulnerability of youth in particular, the city's Youth Services Bureau has adjusted its educational and help programs to reflect how young people communicate; with the introduction of a chat-based crisis line.

Apart from the chat line with its 24/7 monitoring function, the agency has tasked itself to provide counsellors in four area high schools, offering twice-weekly walk-in mental health clinics, from noon to eight in the evening. This is in recognition of a vital role to fulfill to narrow the gap of the number of young people who are  unaware that help is available, and where to turn to attain it.
Key facts about suicide
Every suicide is a tragedy, and affects people of all ages and backgrounds.
  • A prior suicide attempt is the single most important risk factor for suicide
  • In Canada over 4000 people die by suicide every year
  • For every suicide there are many more people who attempt suicide
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds
  • Men in their 40s and 50s have the highest rate of suicide
  • Women are three to four times more likely to attempt suicide than men
  • Men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women
  • Average of 66 people die by suicide every year in Ottawa

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

()() Follow @rheytah Tweet