Show That You Care: Become More Suicide-Aware

September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. An important day each year when we focus on suicide awareness and prevention by helping people understand that suicide can affect anyone, and most importantly, that suicide can be prevented.

In Canada, suicide is the second leading cause of death in youth and young adults ages 15 to 34[1], but it is important to note that people who think about and attempt suicide don’t want to die. Their will to live is much stronger than any feelings they may have of being overwhelmed or not being able to see a way out.

The impact of suicide on society is also significant. The Public Health Agency of Canada states that for every death by suicide, there are[2]:

  • 5 self-inflicted injuries
  • 25-30 suicide attempts
  • 7-10 people profoundly affecting by the suicide loss

And unfortunately, these figures are likely grossly underestimated due to the stigma that surrounds suicide.

Becoming More Suicide-Aware

We can all become more suicide-aware and recognize the potential warning signs friends, family members and peers may be giving us. Some of these signs can be in the form of changes in a person’s behaviour, in the statements they make, or changes in their life circumstances.

Sudden changes in someone’s life, such as experiencing loss or rejection, or a significant shift in a person’s behaviour can be indications that they are dealing with thoughts of suicide. The signals people send are not always obvious, and they may vary from person to person. Some make their intentions clear, while others keep suicidal thoughts and feelings a secret.

The best thing you can do to support someone you think may be dealing with thoughts of suicide is to be open to the signals the person is giving off, listen to what they have to say, and help them get connected with someone trained in suicide intervention.

If you or someone you know are dealing with thoughts of suicide, reach out for help today. Call 911 or your local emergency number or reach out to Crisis Services Canada (CSC) toll-free at 1-833-456-4566 anytime.

[1] Statistics Canada. Suicide rates: An overview. Catalogue no. 82-624-X. 2017.

[2] Public Health Agency of Canada. Suicide in Canada: Current Context. 2014.

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