OTTAWA – Fall is a busy time for many of us, but as we head back into school and work schedules, we should all take a moment to pause today, September 10, to acknowledge World Suicide Prevention Day.
Suicide is a public health issue that affects each of us. Every year, in Canada alone, nearly 3,900 people die by suicide. Among youth, the statistics are particularly troubling. For Canadians aged 15-24, suicide is the second leading cause of death.
At the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) we are striving to raise awareness about the help that is available to prevent these tragic deaths. This summer, in an effort to spark a nation-wide dialogue, we challenged all 308 Members of Parliament to hold community conversations about suicide prevention.
Named #308conversations, the goal of this awareness campaign is to gather information from across the country about programs that are working, and gaps that need to be filled.
In fact, just last week I was privileged to attend one such conversation, in Milton, Ontario, hosted by the Hon. Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport and Member of Parliament for Halton. A diverse and engaged group came together to discuss community solutions around suicide and suicide prevention. While these individuals were from different walks of life, they shared the belief that – as a society – we all have a role to play.
The good news is that preventing suicide is possible. Ultimately, as #308conversations has shown us, dialogue is incredibly powerful. But so are many other measures that both individuals, and organizations, can take to address this pressing public health concern.
For example, more than 100,000 Canadians have been trained in Mental Health First Aid, which teaches participants how to recognize the warning signs and risk factors associated with mental health problems and mental illnesses.
Furthermore, the promotion of good mental health, through initiatives like the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, offers organizations concrete steps they can take to protect the mental wellbeing of their employees.
Thankfully, the dialogue around suicide prevention is becoming stronger with each new voice. So I encourage you to raise yours. Write to your MP. Speak with your employer. Talk with your children. It may just be the most important thing you do today.
In short, there isn’t a simple solution. But everyone can do something. Together, we can – and will –make a difference.
If you need information about resources and crisis centres, visit suicideinfo.ca.
ABOUT THE MENTAL HEALTH COMMISSION OF CANADA
The Mental Health Commission of Canada is a catalyst for change. We are collaborating with hundreds of partners to change the attitudes of Canadians toward mental health problems and to improve services and support. Our goal is to help people who live with mental health problems and illnesses lead meaningful and productive lives. Together we create change. The Mental Health Commission of Canada is funded by Health Canada.
Glenn Johnson, Senior Media Relations Specialist
Mental Health Commission of Canada
The views represented herein solely represent the views of the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
Production of this document is made possible through a financial contribution from Health Canada.