World Suicide Prevention Day



September 8, 2021: Suicide Awareness Lunch & Learn

Faculty and staff can enroll in this Lunch & Learn. Suicide prevention is everyone’s business. Each year, one in six Albertans will seriously think about suicide. Suicide has no boundaries. It can affect our family, friends and colleagues. This session from the Centre for Suicide Prevention will look at the who and why of suicide, as well as some common myths and facts surrounding suicide. Warning signs to look out for and tips for starting a conversation will also be covered.

Register Here

September 10, 2021: Community Helpers

Hosted by the Wellness Supports Community Social Workers, Community Helpers provides practical skills that you can use in your day-to-day life to help the student community. The goal is to build on your natural helping ability by providing you with the skills and knowledge necessary to support your peers' mental health and well-being. Learn more.

September 22, 2021: How to Have a Supportive Conversation
Hosted by the Wellness Supports Community Social Workers, How to Have a Supportive Conversation teaches participants how to approach concerning conversations with peers, how to engage in supportive listening, and how to make appropriate referrals to on- and off-campus resources.
September 23, 2021: UAlberta Suicide Prevention Training
LivingWorks training teaches faculty, staff, and students the skills to recognize and support students who may be having thoughts of suicide. This training provides campus individuals with essential skills to prevent suicide. Through this training, our campus community will become stronger and more able to help provide support to one another. 

World Suicide Prevention Day: September 10

The quality of our health is linked to our connection with others. Preventing suicide is a group effort, it requires the efforts of many. It takes community members, educators, family, friends, co-workers, religious leaders, and healthcare professionals.

Overall we are stronger together.

Community Prevention

Suicide is a community concern. Research tells 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 to support someone who is thinking about suicide and by developing a socially connected community so that people have someone to turn to. 

You can help us be a community that prevents suicide: 

  • Reducing the stigma helps us all feel safe to reach out for help: talk to students, colleagues, friends, and classmates about mental health. 
  • Volunteer or access peer support at the U of A (Unitea, Peer Support Centre, The Landing ).
  • Support and Advocate for mental health promotion in your community, join a student group with that focus.
  • Take care of yourself (e.g., practice gratitude and de-stressing activities, join a student faith group).
  • Engage in suicide prevention training, such as LivingWorks, to help develop your skills and knowledge. 

Faculty and staff can access a multitude of suicide awareness and prevention resources, as well as Assisting Colleagues in Distress guide and the Helping Individuals at Risk program. Visit the Faculty and Staff Healthy Mind page to learn about available suicide prevention training opportunities, such as ASIST, ASIST TuneUp and LivingWorks.  

When It’s You

It’s possible to have experiences of depression and hopelessness which distort how you perceive challenging situations, so much that you could find yourself thinking about suicide. It can be hard to believe that there are other options. It can be difficult to ask for help too but finding safe people to talk to is one of the best things you can do; you don’t have to face thoughts of suicide alone. 

If you think you may attempt suicide, get help right away:

  • Remove yourself from danger or (if safe) stay where you are.
  • If you are out of the country and having thoughts of suicide, use this international directory to find a crisis line in your country. For Canadian options, see our resource box. 
  • Find someone to talk to. Reach out to a close friend or loved one, spiritual leader or someone else in your faith community.
  • Seek help from your doctor or other health care provider or call a distress line. 
  • Slow your breathing and refocus; remind yourself of how you have made it through difficult times in the past.

If you are in crisis or in need of immediate support, please call the 24 Hour Distress Line at 780-482-4357, ACCESS 24/7 at 780-424-2424, ext. 2, the Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868.

When It’s Somebody Else

When you discover that someone is talking or writing about death, dying or suicide, take that seriously. If you notice they are having dramatic mood or behaviour changes, such as an inability to sleep or sleeping all the time, or acting recklessly without forethought, recognize these also as significant warning signs. 

Research shows that talking about suicide doesn’t increase the likelihood that someone will kill themselves. In fact, connecting with someone that cares can make a life-saving difference. 

If you are concerned that someone is thinking about suicide, ask them directly:

  • “Are you thinking about suicide?” or
  •  “Are you having thoughts of ending your life?”

When someone mentions having suicidal thoughts, don't assume that they will not act on their thoughts. If they tell you they are thinking about suicide, take time to find out if they have a plan:

  • Do they know when?
  • Do they know how? If yes, do they have the means on them? 
  • Do they know where?

Help them get to emergency services if they have consumed anything lethal or have immediate plans to act on their thoughts of suicide.

Other Tips for Helping Someone Else
  • Let them know that you care about them and that they are not alone.
  • Empathise with them. You could say something like, ‘I can’t imagine how painful this is for you, but I would like to try to understand’.
  • Be non-judgemental. Don’t criticise or blame them.
  • Repeat their words back to them in your own words. This shows that you are listening and can also ensure that you have understood them properly.
  • Ask about their reasons for living and dying and listen to their answers. Try to explore their reasons for living in more detail.
  • Ask if they have felt like this before. If so, ask how their feelings changed last time
  • Reassure them that they will not feel this way forever.
  • Encourage them to focus on getting through the day rather than focusing on the future.
  • Encourage them to seek help that they are comfortable with, such as help from a doctor or counsellor; offer to walk with them to campus resources if you are able to. 
  • Follow up any commitments that you agree to.
  • Make sure someone is with them if they are in immediate danger.
  • Try to get professional help for the person feeling suicidal, and;
  • Get support for yourself.

Check out Be There. has compiled easy to engage with resources that can help you be there for others.

What Doesn’t Help:

  • Trying to find an easy solution.
  • Telling them to ‘cheer up’, ‘pull themselves together’, ‘snap out of it’, or;
  • Changing the subject.

Remember that you don’t need to find an answer, or even to completely understand why they feel the way they do. Listening to what they have to say will at least let them know you care.

Tips for Supporters

We don’t need to be a therapist to support friends, colleagues, or students in our community who are thinking about suicide. Our support can be crucial for people finding needed additional supports if they are thinking about suicide. These conversations are important and note that supporters need care too, in order to effectively be there for others. Know that our campus supports are available for you, too. For other ideas on supporter care, listen to what Saria from recommends in the accompanying video.

Struggling with a Loss from Suicide?

Losing someone you care about can be shocking and incredibly painful; the experience can be intense, complex, and long-term. Working through grief is an extremely individual and unique process, you will need to find your own way and your own pace. Connect with resources that will support you in making sense of what has happened and learn how to live with your loss. Campus and community resources, such as helplines and the Peer Support Centre, are also available for your support.

Off-Campus Resources

General Crisis Support

Canadian Mental Health Association

Befrienders Worldwide

  • International Directory of Distress Lines

Crisis Service Canada:

  •  24/7 Distress Line - 1.833.456.4566 (or text 45645 between 2PM-10PM MT), French and English support available 

Drop in YEG

  • Free Single Session Counselling

Kids Help Phone

Kids Help Phone is a 24/7, national support service offering service to people 25 and under. They offer professional counselling, information and referrals and volunteer-led, text-based support in both English and French.

  • To start using the text service, text CONNECT to 686868.
  • Phone in Arabic, English or French 24/7 by calling 1-800-668-6868.

CMHA Bereavement Support

  • CMHA’s Suicide Bereavement Support Groups welcome anyone who has lost someone to suicide.
  • Each group includes 3 modules covered over a 12-week period. Participants must attend an intake session prior to joining a group.

11 Of Us

  • Sponsored training for helping skills development in the Edmonton area.

Buddy Up Campaign

  • A suicide prevention campaign encouraging CIS-gendered men to have real conversations and support their buddies when they’re struggling. #buddyup

Preventing Suicide in Men

  • A toolkit that talks specifically to experiences of CIS-gendered men.
Resources for First Nations, Metis, and Inuit

Bent Arrow

  • Psychologist, Elders, Food Hampers, Daily Smudges, Sage and Cedar delivery.
  •  780-474-2400

Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program 

  • Hotline is available to help residential school survivors and their relatives suffering from trauma invoked by the recall of past abuse. The number is 1-866-925-4419. 

First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness

  • The Hope for Wellness Help Line offers immediate help to all Indigenous peoples across Canada.
  • 24 hr helpline: 1-855-242-3310
  • Online chat

Native Counselling Services of Alberta: 

  • Provides programs and services designed and delivered for Indigenous people, by Indigenous people
  • 780-423-2141 

The Red Road Healing Society: 

  • Counselling, information, referral, supports. 
  • 780-471-3220

Trans Lifeline

  • Trans Lifeline’s Hotline is a peer support phone service run by trans people for our trans and questioning peers. Call us if you need someone trans to talk to, even if you’re not in crisis or if you’re not sure you’re trans.
  • (877) 330-6366

The Trevor Project 

  • Information and resources for LGBTQ2S+ folks and allies. 

On-Campus Resources

Mental Health Skills for Staff & Students

Mental Health Skills Training

  • Provided by Wellness Supports’ Community Social Workers.
  • Focused on supporting students on campus. 
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Community Helpers
  • Helping Skills
Staff & Faculty Supports

Employee and Family Assistance Program/ Graduate Students Assistance Program

  • All University of Alberta staff, faculty, graduate students and their eligible dependents have access to crisis resources 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  • Call:  780-428-7587
  • 1-800-663-1142 (Toll-free english)
  • 1-866-298-9505 (Numéro gratuit en français)
  • 1-888-384-9505 (Teletype TTY)
  • 604-689-1717 (International—call collect)
Grief Supports
Student Supports

Our campus supports are important for maintaining mental health care. Ongoing contact with these supports throughout the year is one way students can care for themselves and prevent suicidal ideation. Building a trusted relationship with campus supports also gives students a contact to help find additional resources if their mental health declines. Our campuses also have a variety of social supports for students, which is an important protective factor for well-being. 

  • Graduate Student Assistance Program
  • Empower Me - Undergraduate Mental Health Supports
  • First Peoples’ House - Programming, Elders, wellness supports
  • The Landing - Queer hangout, support, and resource center at UAlberta. Virtual drop in for for more information about programs follow them on Instagram @TheLanding_UofA or Facebook 
  • Unitea - Looking to connect with others at the University of Alberta? Book a one-to-one tea time or join a collective conversation hosted by UAlberta student volunteers. 

Complete list of campus resources for mental health