World Suicide Prevention Day is observed internationally on September 10
Suicide is preventable, though many of us have either been impacted by it or know of someone who has. Suicide is not someone else's problem—it's everyone's problem. Developing and maintaining connections, and strengthening our capacity to listen to those in need, are ways we can help build relationships with others and better assist individuals who may be at risk.
The World Health Organization estimates that over 800,000 people die by suicide each year—that’s one person every 40 seconds, with many more who make a suicide attempt.
- In 2016, a total of 3,926 deaths by suicide were reported in Canada (2,971 men, 954 women). Of the 2,971 men who died by suicide, males between the ages of 40-59 accounted for the highest number of suicides (1,305), followed by men between the ages of 20-39 (863). In that same year, suicide accounted for 24% of all deaths among individuals between the ages of 15-24.
- In 2014, an estimated 547 suicides were reported in Alberta; however, assessment of death by suicide cases in 2015 reached more than 650. Of these deaths, men between the ages of 40-59 had the highest number of suicides (154), followed by males between the ages of 20-39 (131).
University of Alberta
- Findings from the 2019 National College Health Assessment survey of 965 University of Alberta (U of A) students found that 13.7% of participants considered suicide at one point during the 12-month survey period, with 1.8% respondents who disclosed they had attempted suicide during this time. Generalizing this sample to our U of A campus community suggests that in 2019, at least 721 people attempted suicide, and 5,488 individuals thought about suicide at some point during the year.
Together We Can Make Difference
Suicide is a community concern. Research tell us that most people who are thinking about suicide will disclose their thoughts to someone they know. We can help our community be safe by developing our own skills and knowledge in how we support someone who is thinking about suicide.
What can you do?
- Reduce the stigma: talk to your friends, classmates, colleagues, and students about mental health.
- Wear a ribbon and be part of the global campaign. (Days of Action committee members will be handing out ribbons on September 10, 2019.)
- Join a student group like Jack.org, or others who focus on promoting mental health.
- Volunteer or access peer support at the U of A (Unitea, Peer Support Centre).
- Support and advocate for mental health promotions in your community.
- Take care of yourself (e.g., practice gratitude and de-stressing activities).
Are you grieving someone who has died by suicide?
The following off-campus supports can help you:
CMHA Suicide Grief Support Program
- Drop in support services
- Group support services
- Afternoon and evening adult bereavement suicide support group
Canadian Mental Health Association
Drop in YEG
- Free single session counselling
First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness