Policy makers, advocates, researchers and clinicians came together on September 10 for World Suicide Prevention Day, calling on the public to help make suicide a thing of the past. As nearly one million people worldwide – including about 4,000 Canadians – die by suicide every year, World Suicide Prevention Day is presented annually by the International Association for Suicide Prevention to spread awareness and break the silence about suicide. This year’s theme, Preventing Suicide: Reaching Out and Saving Lives, suggests we all play a role in preventing suicide. Suicide prevention begins with recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously. It is often difficult for those who are suffering to talk about their feelings; offering support can make a huge difference.
In recognition of the important role prevention has to play, Ontario has announced an investment of $1.9 million to its Youth Suicide Prevention Plan, which provides community-based youth suicide prevention planning resources, coaching for communities, and the Together to Live online toolkit.
Though not all suicides can be prevented, some strategies can help reduce the risk, such as:
- Seeking treatment, care and support for mental health concerns — and building a good relationship with a doctor or other health professionals
- Staying connected with a care team or community-based program to help manage stress and monitor for thoughts of suicide
- Building social support networks, such as family, friends, a peer support or support group, or connections with a cultural or faith community
- Learning good coping skills to deal with problems, and trusting in coping abilities
CMHA branches across the province work daily to provide suicide awareness training through safeTalk and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) workshops. In addition, CMHA Ontario and the Ontario Hockey League provide suicide awareness training to young athletes through the Talk Today program.
For more information on World Suicide Prevention Day, visit the IASP website.