World Suicide Prevention Day

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, a creation of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP). The goal is to help reduce stigma, encourage discussion, and ultimately reduce deaths by suicide.

Nearly 4000 Canadians die by suicide every year. In my former province of Alberta, the rate of suicide is higher than the national average and suicides account for more deaths per year in Alberta than motor vehicle collisions. If this surprises you, it may be because these deaths typically occur in the shadows of the public sphere and they are seldom talked about openly.

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Navigating Media in Our Dangerous World

****This post contains content that may serve as a trigger for those who have faced traumatic experiences**** 

Within less than 2 months, Alberta's two biggest cities were rocked by horrific and senseless crimes - stabbing attacks of unprecedented severity. In February, a worker at an Edmonton supermarket warehouse is alleged to have attacked six of his coworkers, killing two of them. In April, the guest of a University house party in Calgary is alleged to have stabbed five young people to death. This past weekend, violence in St. Paul left a priest dead, police officers injured, and the alleged gunman killed as well. These crimes have devastated Albertans and left us collectively shaking our heads. What led up to these horrible events? How could they happen? Who could do such things? Could they happen again? One certainty following violence of this scale is the flood of media coverage that seeks to provide answers to questions such as these.

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An Emphasis On The 'Progressive'?

Shortly after 6pm on March 19th, 2014, Alison Redford resigned as premier of Alberta. For many, this was no surprise. Over the last several months, Ms. Redford had become mired in controversy owing to her apparent penchant for high cost travel, her government's contempt for Albertan's tax dollars, and what was said to be a top down approach to managing a caucus increasingly characterized by pettiness and infighting.

I was left wondering where it all went wrong. What the hell happened to the assurance of an open, accountable government and this hopeful new leader who promised "an emphasis on the progressive"? Ms. Redford's party won the 2012 provincial election on a mandate that leaned heavily on social responsibility. Her pleas to teachers, healthcare workers, and educators and her promises to raise AISH payments, increase wages of front line care workers, raise child care subsidies, and reduce poverty all helped to hold off what was predicted to be a huge win for the Wildrose Alliance.

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