Warning: The following article discusses mental illness and suicide. If you or someone you know needs mental health support visit Crisis Services Canada. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger please call 9-1-1.
Every day, more than 10 people in Canada die by suicide. Even though it happens so frequently, there is still a lot of stigma around suicide and prevention efforts. That’s why World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th, is so important. It’s a day designed to bring awareness on how to prevent it. And many organizations, individuals, and healthcare providers use the entire month of September as suicide awareness month.
It’s critical we take action to support those who are going through difficult times. Letting them know that they aren’t alone and that there are services available that can help save lives.
What we’ll discuss:
With World Suicide Prevention Day being September 10th, September is generally recognized as suicide awareness month. During that month, organizations raise awareness about suicide prevention and mental health by offering webinars, holding events, and creating campaigns to shine a light on this important topic.
Suicide in Canada is a silent crisis that needs to be addressed.
Every day, on average, 10 people in Canada die by suicide, making it the second leading cause of death among youth and young adults. But it’s often a taboo topic that no one wants to talk about. Having World Suicide Prevention Day is an opportunity to shine a light on suicide and mental health, dispelling the stigma that in many cases keeps people away from the lifesaving resources they need.
Without raising awareness and getting help to those who need it most, the numbers will continue to rise.
Since people often struggle in silence, they may be hesitant to seek help or reach out to family and friends. That’s why understanding the warning signs can be critical. It can help identify if someone is suicidal and make sure they get the support services they need.
Talking about wanting to die, or expressing suicidal thoughts
Talking about feeling hopeless or trapped
Talking about “being a burden” to other people
Showing extreme swings in mood
Withdrawing from people and feeling isolated
Increasing their alcohol or drug use
Mentioning or threatening to harm themselves
There are many risk factors that contribute to a person’s chances of suicide. The most significant are:
Existing mental health conditions, such as depression, bipolar or anxiety disorder
A family history of suicide or suicide attempts
Substance abuse, such as alcohol and drug use
A recent or significant personal tragedy
A history of trauma, especially in childhood
Six months into COVID-19, one in 10 Canadians reported having feelings or thoughts of suicide. Forty percent of Canadians also reported that their mental health had declined, whether or not they were experiencing thoughts of suicide. What’s more, within the second wave of the pandemic, COVID-19 raised rates of depression and anxiety, and it also caused the number of breakups and divorces to rise.
Although the pandemic is easing and people are venturing out of their homes again, mental health issues can continue to linger. Individuals still have to process the aftermath of depressive thoughts, lost relationships, and other experiences that can affect the course of their lives going forward. That’s why it’s vital to seek help to process the pandemic and the many issues it created in our lives – it’s one way to lessen the risk of suicide, and improve your mental and emotional health.
One way to help prevent suicide is to talk openly about mental health issues as it helps to dispel the stigma and create a safe space for others to open up as well.
Understanding the warning signs can also aid in suicide prevention. If someone you’re close to is showing warning signs it may be time to intervene. In many cases we can’t see the symptoms of mental health the way we do with physical illnesses. So understanding the warning signs can help us identify the symptoms that typically go unnoticed.
This goes hand in hand with understanding the warning signs. Once we recognize the signs and intervene, we should also recommend a mental health professional (e.g. therapist, counsellor, or psychologist). They provide support and guidance for all types of mental health issues in a safe and non-judgemental space.
Lastly, supporting mental health organizations and causes goes a long way in preventing suicide. These organizations focus on raising awareness, providing intervention services, offering counselling, and much more. Your support will help make sure no one suffers alone and receives lifesaving assistance.
Help mental health organizations through our Support Mental Health Fund. This fund includes over 470 registered charities that offer lifesaving services like suicide prevention, advocacy efforts, counselling, crisis support, education, treatment, and other professional support opportunities.
For these programs to continue, your help is needed. Become a mental health champion. Help prevent suicide, increase access to care, and end stigma. Donate today.
There are many resources to help you or someone you care about with suicide prevention. Here are a few organizations you can reach out to if you need support.
Canada Suicide Prevention Service: This organization is a nationwide helpline that provides crisis intervention and counselling by giving people the support they need, when they need it. They are available by phone 24/7/365, at 1.833.456.4566. You can also text them at 45645 between the hours of 4pm and midnight, ET.
Kids Help Phone: This service is primarily for kids, teens, and young adults who need urgent help with suicide prevention or other mental health issues. Call 1.800.668.6868, or text CONNECT to 686868. You can also reach out through Facebook Messenger, at KidsHelpPhone.ca/Messenger.
LGBT Youthline: Providing suicide prevention and other mental health services, this organization caters to the unique needs of the LGTBTQ+ community. Get in touch with them by calling 1.800.268.9688 or texting 647.694.4275.
Hope for Wellness Helpline: This organization is there to support all Indigenous Peoples throughout Canada when they need immediate crisis intervention. They offer culturally sensitive and experienced counsellors. Call 1.855.242.3310, or use the Hope for Wellness chat to connect.
Black Youth Helpline: By focusing on the unique struggles and cultural experiences of Black youth, this organization is tailored to helping teens and young adults with mental health concerns. Counsellors that are culturally competent are standing by for support and guidance. Call 1.833.294.8650 or 416.285.9944 between 9am and 10pm for help.