Though sometimes you may feel like it, you are not alone. Every single day, your presence on this earth matters. In tough times it can be so so hard to see the light through the darkness, but believe me, there is hope. This week is World Suicide Prevention Week and we felt it was important to open the space on this very important topic.
According to the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention:
- Approximately 11 people in Canada will end their life by suicide today.
- Approximately 210 others will attempt to take their own lives today.
- For each death by suicide. It has been estimated that the lives of 7-10 bereaved ‘Survivors” are profoundly affected.
We believe that these numbers reflect a serious issue in our country, but there is hope.
Know the warning signs of suicide:
- Suicide threats
- Statements revealing a desire to die
- Previous suicide attempts
- Sudden changes in behaviour (withdrawal, apathy, moodiness)
- Depression (crying, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, hopelessness)
- Final arrangements (such as giving away personal possessions)
If you are in crisis now please call 911 or the nearest Crisis Centre in Alberta: THE LIST IS HERE
Prevention is the only solution to suicide. If you are supporting someone who is expressing thoughts of suicide, there are many ways that you can help. Open the dialogue and let the person talk freely about their problems. Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help.
How to be Helpful When Someone is Suicidal:
- Take all threats or attempts seriously
- Be aware and learn warning signs of suicide
- Be direct and ask if the person is thinking of suicide. If the answer is yes, ask if the person has a plan and what the time line is.
- Be non-judgmental and empathic
- Do not minimize the feelings expressed by the person
- Do not be sworn to secrecy …seek out the support of appropriate professionals
- Ask if there is anything you can do
- Draw on resources in the person’s network
- Do not use clichés or try to debate with the person
- In an acute crisis take the person to an emergency room or walk in clinic or call a mobile crisis service if one is available
- Do not leave them alone until help is provided
- Remove any obvious means e.g. firearms, drugs or sharp objects) from the immediate vicinity
(from the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention)
There are many resources available to Albertans, from online information and webinars to in person trainings and community gatherings. Stronger communities where individuals are connected and more people who are educated in preventing suicide will go a long way in working towards to goal of saving precious lives.
Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention “CASP’s ultimate purpose is to reduce the suicide rate in Canada and to minimize the consequences of suicidal behaviour.”
Canadian Mental Health Association (Alberta) “Mental health for all.”
Distress Centre “Provide compassionate, accessible crisis support that enhances the health, well-being and resiliency of individuals in distress.”
Coping with Suicidal Thoughts A resource for yourself or others
Your Life Counts “Helping youth & families nurture, protect & sustain their will to live…”
Whether you are trying to cope with your own suicidal thoughts, support someone who is suicidal or grieving a life lost to suicide there is help and hope. Please don’t face this alone.