September 10th, 2021 is World Suicide Prevention Day; a day for everyone to take action against suicide.
In Canada, approximately 4,000 people die by suicide each year, including 15 – 24- year- olds, for whom suicide is the second leading cause of death. (Statistics Canada, 2020).
Studies report higher suicide attempts and deaths in Indigenous, Inuit, and LGBQT communities. Suicide rate in Canadian youth aged 14 -24 years old have been reported to be the third highest in the industrialized world.
A variety of complex factors, including poor social relationships, dysfunctional home environment, living in deprived and isolated communities, bullying, stress from unrealistic expectations, living with chronic physical and mental conditions and substance use, puts youth at risk for suicide. Emotional pain from these can push youth to the brink of suicide.
Everyone has a role to play in preventing suicide.
Attend to a friend, family member or co-worker who is lonely, withdrawn or isolated.
Listen to their expression of self-hate, hopelessness, pessimism, helplessness. Listen to their beliefs about being a liability on friends and family or feeling trapped and seeing no way out.
Listen closely to what they say to be able to help them appropriately. Keep supporting with your presence until they accept your offer to help them seek professional help.
Talk freely and calmly about suicide. Be non-judgmental. Encourage and accompany them to seek help.
Being there shows caring and concern which can relieve the feeling of isolation, loneliness and pain.
Remove access to prescription drugs, firearms, and poisons in the home.
Call the emergency crisis line for direction if the person tells you they have a plan and time to kill themselves. Stay with them until help is obtained. Crisis line: 1-833-456-4566. Kids help phone: 1-800-668-6868.
Keep supporting and accompany youth to health care professional appointments and support them through collaborative referrals towards ongoing care with counselors and physiotherapists.
Suicidal people are in emotional pain. Each person can help prevent suicide in their own way by being observant and compassionate. Be there for friends, family or co-workers who are down. Listen closely. Act. Help is available.
Suicide is preventable.