By Lesley Coates
Overall, an estimated 3,900 Canadians and 800, 000 people worldwide die by suicide each year, yet it remains a taboo subject that is often not openly discussed.
Here in B.C. we lose an average of 500 people a year to suicide.
The effects can be devastating to our families and our communities.
Suicide prevention is a shared responsibility – we all have the potential to make a difference and save a life.
September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD), a day for communities to show support for suicide prevention, to remember and celebrate the lives of those who have died, to comfort those who grieve and to send a message that there is help, hope and people who care.
“Suicide can shatter the lives of the family and friends left behind and can affect anyone of any age, gender and culture,” said Health Minister Terry Lake.
“There is help available day or night and I encourage all British Columbians to be aware of the many resources available.”
We can all play a role in preventing suicide. Here are some ways you can show your support:
• Let your friends, family and colleagues know how you plan to reach out by sharing on social media and tagging your post with #WSPD2015.
• Follow #WSPD2015 for updates on Twitter.
• Attend a World Suicide Prevention Day event in your community.
• Light a candle in your window on Sept. 10 at 8 p.m. to show support.
“Everyone can benefit from the help and support of family, friends, and community during difficult times,” said Jenny Green, Community Health Facilitator with Interior Health. “Many suicides are preventable. Suicide prevention begins with our willingness to recognize the signs of suicide and talk openly about it.
Sometimes just a few genuine words of concern and active listening can create an open discussion about suicide and encourage an at-risk person to seek help. You can make a big difference.”
If someone you know is feeling suicidal, help is available. The Interior Crisis Line Network provides Interior Health residents with around-the-clock access to telephone support.
The toll-free number is 1-888-353-CARE (2273). A province-wide network of crisis lines is accessible by calling 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433). Assistance is also available through local mental health and substance use services, family physicians, emergency services and through web-based supports such as Crisis Centre
(http://www.crisiscentre.bc.ca) and HeretoHelp (http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca).
For more information on World Suicide Prevention Day: Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention: www.suicideprevention.ca
Lesley Coates is the communication officer for Interior Health.