World Suicide Prevention Day

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.  Did you know that every year, one million people commit suicide and many more attempt suicide? This year, a friend of mine was one of those one million people who took their own life, so when I heard that today was World Suicide Prevention Day, I wanted to help spread the word.

I checked out the International Association for Suicide Prevention’s (IASP) website to prepare this posting. They note that while the “World Health Organization (WHO) has noted that not all suicides can be prevented, […] a majority can” and that:

Successful approaches to suicide prevention have included:

  • restricting access to means;
  • establishing community prevention programs;
  • establishing guidelines for media reporting;
  • engaging with frontline professionals through gate keeper training programs.

Like other mental health issues, people tend not to talk about suicide. I think it’s time we change that.

What Can You Do?

  • Learn what the warning signs of suicide are and what to do if you see them
    • According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), “some warning signs that a person may be suicidal include:
      • repeated expressions of hopelessness, helplessness, or desperation,
      • behaviour that is out of character, such as recklessness in someone who is normally careful,
      • signs of depression – sleeplessness, social withdrawal, loss of appetite, loss of interest in usual activities, a sudden and unexpected change to a cheerful attitude,
      • giving away prized possessions to friends and family,
      • making a will, taking out insurance, or other preparations for death, such as telling final wishes to someone close,
      • making remarks related to death and dying, or an expressed intent to commit suicide. An expressed intent to commit suicide should always be taken very seriously.
  • If you see some of these warning signs and are concerned that the person is considering suicide – or if you yourself are feeling suicidal – it is important to take action. The CMHA’s webpage on preventing suicide has some really good advice on what to do – I suggest you check it out.
  • Let politicians know that here in Canada, we need a national suicide prevention strategy. According to the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention: “In spite of the recommendation of both the WHO and U.N., Canada remains one of the few industrialized and G8 countries that still has no national suicide prevention strategy.” Call or write your MP and sign the petition.

A few resources:

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