Oct
18
2011

Canada Needs Suicide Prevention Plan

Welfare Children at Increased Risk

Canada Needs Suicide Prevention Plan

"I am tired of life really. It's so hard, I'm sorry, I can't take it anymore. I don't want to wait three more years, this hurts too much. How do you even know it will get better?"

These were the last words of Jamie Hubley, the gay 15-year-old son of Ottawa Councillor Allan Hubley who committed suicide on October 14th, 2011.

In light of the bullying epidemic and spate of recent suicides, it's somewhat shocking that Canada -- a country in which at least 10 people die by suicide every day -- doesn't yet have a national suicide prevention strategy.

Europe, the United States, New Zealand, even Sri Lanka all have a prevention plan in place, so why don't we?

The Canadian Medical Association Journal's (CMAJ) recent analysis has found that children and adolescents in the welfare system are particularly at risk of attempted suicide compared with the general population, especially before they enter care.

"Many Canadian physicians, policy-makers and politicians have not been adequately updated by experts in the field that suicide is preventable," claims Dr. Paul Links, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto. "As a result, physicians in particular may not be aware of their important role in suicide prevention."

A prevention program would typically include: public education, responsible media reporting, detection and treatment of depression and mental health issues, addressing alcohol and drug abuse, crisis intervention and follow up, training and education of health care professionals, reduced access to methods of suicide and more.

"Given the number of Canadians who die by suicide each year, the burden in terms of the suffering and pain of those left to cope with the loss of a loved one and the growing evidence of effective strategies for prevention, physicians have a responsibility to encourage governments to move toward policies and programs that will prevent suicides," says Dr. Links.

"In Canada, this includes encouraging the federal government to form a national strategy for suicide prevention similar to those in place in so many other developed nations."

We can no longer bury our heads in the sand. Doctors may be on the front lines when it comes to treatment, but it's up to us, as mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters to open our eyes and look for warning signs before it's too late.

Without intervention, as was sadly the case for Hubley, it doesn't always get better.

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Oct
18
2011

Put Facebook in Your Will

Digital Inheritances

Put Facebook in Your Will

Facebook probably isn't the first thing that springs to mind when you're drawing up your last will and testament. But maybe it should be.

In the UK, one in 10 people are now including their password and login information in their wills, so loved ones aren't left in the lurch when it comes to what lawyers refer to as "digital inheritances."

Personal details for sites like Facebook and Flickr are essential, so accounts of the deceased are not left open to abuse by spammers and hackers. Photos and other personal data can therefore be retrieved, saved, or otherwise deleted after a user is gone.

More than a quarter of Britons also claim to have substantive funds invested in digital software -- including music and film files -- and wish to have that investment passed on following their death.

Would you consider including digital inheritance instructions in your will?

Oct
17
2011

Should Stay-at-Home Moms Get Paid?

Mommy Salary

Should Stay-at-Home Moms Get Paid?

Every mom knows being a full-time parent is the hardest, most undervalued job there is. But should stay-at-home moms get a salary in the conventional sense? Influential South African businesswoman Wendy Luhabe thinks so. During a recent interview with CNN, she claimed stay-at-homes should get a 10 per cent cut of their husband's salary.

In Luhabe's view, getting a wage for the work of raising children is the only way to validate the job and prove that it has "societal value".

“Money," says Luhabe, "is the currency that we use to define value of a contribution to the world, so why shouldn’t we do the same for the work of bringing up children, which I think is probably the most important contribution that the world should be valuing.”

Yes, and no. While mothering is definitely an important contribution to the world, isn't raising your child a reward in itself? Staying home full-time to raise children is not only a personal choice, it's also something of a luxury these days.

And anyway, where exactly would this extra 10 per cent cut come from? The government? The husband's employer? When you look at it this way, Luhabe’s idea of paying stay-at-home-moms might be laudable but it's also vaguely preposterous.

What do you think? Should stay-at-home moms be compensated for their "work"? Pay back could start at home, with maybe a subsidized massage!

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