World Suicide Prevention Day – How You Can Help

Believe it or not, suicide is one of the leading causes of death across the world, with an average of 10 people taking their life every day in Canada alone. In addition to that, for every suicide death, there are around 25 suicide attempts. These alarming statistics should be reason enough to take serious action towards suicide prevention.

On September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD); a day dedicated to remembering the lives lost to suicide, advocating for suicide prevention, and creating support systems for those fighting to live every single day. In an effort to work collectively to find suicide prevention methods, this year’s theme is collaboration. Listed below are some ways to get informed, spread awareness this year.

Recognizing the Signs

It’s important to know the signs of a potential suicide attempt so you know when to seek help for yourself or to help save the life of a loved one. Here are some of the signs to look out for:

  • Thinking or threatening to commit suicide
  • Having a plan to carry out a suicide plan
  • Mood changes (anger or sadness)
  • Increased substance use
  • Withdrawing from family and/or friends
  • Feelings of hopelessness or intolerable pain

How to Take Action

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, it’s essential to find the appropriate help. Showing concern and having an open conversation with the person at risk will allow you to take precautions to make sure they are safe. This is when you can create a safety plan with them to be implemented when they feel the urge to harm themselves. This plan can include:

  • When the plan can be used
  • Things that can be done to calm down
  • A list of people to call
  • Methods to make the home safer
  • Resources to contact for help
  • Images of reasons to live

Unfortunately, it is common for attempt survivors to attempt again, which means that making sure the home is physically safe is very important. Make sure to remove any items that can be used to commit suicide, keep low amounts of substances, and have a physical copy of the safety plan to refer to it if needed.

When a loved one attempts suicide, it’s crucial to communicate with them responsibly in order to make sure they are receptive to help. Opening up the conversation by asking about their urges directly while being sympathetic will encourage the survivor to express themselves more freely. Also, make sure to have resources available for them to contact and offer to go with them to seek treatment if needed. Show them that you are there if they ever need you and provide them with hope for things to get better.

Take Care of Yourself

Witnessing a loved one attempt suicide can be shocking and devastating, especially when it has happened multiple times. Please remember to take care of yourself by seeking help and guidance to deal with such an emotionally-draining circumstance. Counsellors and support groups can help you better understand the attempt survivor and preserve hope for them.

Here are some helpful resources to get support and information about suicide prevention:

Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention

Crisis Services Canada

Centre for Suicide Prevention

Toronto Distress Centre

Call Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868

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