On World Suicide Prevention Day — September 10 – CMHA is standing together with Canadians who live with mental health issues, their families, policy makers, advocates, researchers and others to raise awareness and share strategies to prevent the tragedy of suicide.
More than 800,000 people worldwide – including close to 4,000 Canadians – die by suicide every year. International Association for Suicide Prevention proclaims World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) annually to spread awareness and break the silence about this issue. This year’s theme, ‘Connect, Communicate, Care’ captures the spirit of suicide prevention.
Suicide prevention is a priority for CMHA across Canada and we support community-based suicide prevention efforts in the many communities we serve:
We advocate for more investment in and better access to mental health services. A CMHA-wide campaign was launched last year advocating for a Federal Mental Health Transition Fund to ensure sustainable funding for mental health services and improve the quality and access to mental health services for all Canadians.
We promote programs like Sources of Strength to address youth suicide and the establishment of positive peer relationships and leadership.
We provide mental health education in the community, workplaces and schools with the goal of reversing stigma and misconceptions about mental illness and mental health distress.
We work to improve mental health literacy amongst service providers, youth workers and educators through delivery of programs such as Mental Health First Aid and Safetalk, which enhance resilience and coping skills.
We deliver programs that teach skills and strategies to promote psychological, social, cultural and emotional well-being, including Living Life to the Full, Mental Health Education for Families and Youth Mental Health Summits.
We support the development of Social Networks that reduce social isolation.
Suicide prevention strategies can help reduce the risk, such as:
Seeking treatment, care and support for mental health concerns — and building a good relationship with a doctor or other health professionals
Staying connected with a care team or community-based program to help manage stress and monitor for thoughts of suicide
Building social support networks, such as family, friends, a peer support or support group, or connections with a cultural or faith community
Learning good coping skills to deal with problems, and trusting in coping abilities
Universal prevention strategies recommended by the World Health Organization also include increasing access to health care and responsible media reporting.
Mysterious Barricades cross-country concert series on WSPD
CMHA is proud to be partnering with the Canadian Association of Suicide Prevention (CASP) in supporting Mysterious Barricades’ cross-country concert series on World Suicide Prevention Day.
From sunrise in St John’s NL to sunset in Victoria BC, thirteen free concerts will flow westward throughout the day and feature some of Canada’s finest, professionally trained artists and performers. This is the first event of its kind and each concert will unfold with its own MC, its own performers and its own unique local flavour.
Founded by Mezza Soprano, Elizabeth Turnbull, whose husband, Chris, died by suicide, this concert series is being held to raise awareness of suicide, suicide prevention and to support those at risk of and impacted by suicide.
Since 2013, CMHA and the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) have called for an integrated and collaborative strategy on suicide prevention for children and youth, military personnel and for all Canadians.
CASP, in cooperation with other mental health organizations, has been working on a suicide prevention strategy for 13 years. In 2005, their Blueprint document was hand delivered to the Minister of Health of the time. While provinces have used the Blueprint as a guide in developing their own strategies, to date, the federal government has not adopted the strategy.
What Canadians need now is a national suicide prevention strategy. Canada remains one of the few industrialized countries that has yet to follow the recommendations of the World Health Organization and the United Nations to establish a national suicide prevention strategy. The upcoming Health Accord negotiations are an opportunity to ensure that the Federal Government gives mental health the same importance as physical health.
CMHA is currently working on a Health Accord submission.
Read recent news stories on CMHA’s call for a national suicide prevention strategy: