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Suicide in Canada

Suicide in Canada

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Reaching Out and Saving Lives

Suicide is a critical issue in Canada. Around 11 Canadians die by suicide each day, and more than 200 attempt suicide. Suicide is one of the 10 leading causes of death in Canada, and suicide rates have been increasing over the past 60 years.

Though the vast majority of people who experience a mental illness do not attempt suicide,  more than 90 percent of those who die by suicide have a diagnosable mental disorder. People who die by suicide are frequently experiencing undiagnosed, undertreated, or untreated depression. If you or someone you know has a mental illness, it is extremely important to get treatment.

Suicide occurs across all age, economic, social and ethnic boundaries, but some demographics are at higher risk. While women and girls are more likely to attempt suicide, men are three times more likely to die by suicide. Approximately 75 percent of Canadians who die by suicide are men. And while young people, First Nations, Metis and Inuits, LGBTQ and seniors are at risk, one of the highest rates of suicide in Canada can be found among middle-aged men. More middle-aged Canadian men die by suicide than by motor vehicle accidents, homicide and HIV combined. In 2011 half of Canadian men who died by suicide were between the ages of 40 and 64.

The statistics are staggering. But suicide is preventable.

Most people who attempt suicide want to live, but are overcome with emotional pain and cannot see any other way to cope with what feels like an overwhelming or impossible situation. Most people who die by suicide give definite warning signs so learning to recognize these signs and how to respond to them is important.

On World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10, learn what you can do to prevent suicide. Find out how to be helpful if someone is suicidal, what to say and who to call. If someone you know has died by suicide, find information and resources to help you cope. If you are thinking about suicide, get help immediately. 

Talking about suicide will lower its staggering toll

Talking about suicide will lower its staggering toll

Toronto Star

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

    International Association of Suicide Prevention
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