Workplace Suicide Prevention

Suicide has no boundaries. It can affect our families, friends and colleagues. Each year, approximately 4500 people in Canada die by suicide. 1

  • 45% of emergency department visits for self-harm or suicide are adults aged 20-39 2.
  • 3 out of every 4 suicide deaths are males — 45% of these are 40-64 years of age 2.
  • For every death by suicide, at least 7 to 10 survivors are significantly affected by the loss 1.

If you or someone you know is currently at immediate risk, dial 911.

1 Government of Canada, Suicide in Canada: Key Statistics, 2023
2 Alberta Health Services - Let’s Talk About Suicide, 2023 

Buddy Up

The University is a champion for the Buddy Up program. Buddy Up is a suicide prevention campaign offered through the Centre for Suicide Prevention which is a call to action by men for men. The campaign encourages partners, colleagues, friends and family to create opportunities for conversations about mental health and suicide.

Risk Factors

  • Family history of suicide.
  • Stressful life events (e.g. leaving home for the first time, family changes).
  • Living with a serious illness or injury.
  • Seriously injuring or causing the death of another (e.g. motor vehicle accident).
  • Suffering a major loss of a friend, family member, relationship or possession.
  • Fear, embarrassment, or humiliation (e.g. failing school, job loss, not meeting others' expectations).
  • Substance abuse.

Warning Signs

There are no guaranteed predictors for suicide. However, there are important warning signs to recognize:

  • History of previous threats or attempts.
  • Preoccupation with death and/or dying.
  • Talking about suicide or death.
  • Taking unnecessary risks.
  • Giving away possessions or cherished items.
  • Change in personality or behaviour.
  • Change in sleeping patterns or eating habits.
  • Loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyed.
  • Feelings of hopelessness or despair.
  • Loss of self-esteem.
  • Increased use of substances (e.g. alcohol, drugs).
  • Family disruptions (e.g. separation, divorce, death, separated by distance).

How I Can Help

  • Talk about it - Talking about suicide will help remove the stigma and encourage people to reach out for help.
  • Educate yourself on the risk factors, warning signs, and available resources.
  • Trust your instincts and follow through with action if you have suspicions about someone you know.
  • Be alert to changes in behaviour.
  • If someone's intentions are unclear, ask for clarification, ask if they have a plan.
  • Have an open, honest, and frank discussion.
  • Listen without judgment.
  • Allow the person to talk freely.
  • Acknowledge their feelings.
  • Ask if there is anything you can do.
  • Remain calm, supportive, and patient.
  • Be genuine and honest in your concern.
  • Encourage and support them in seeking assistance from a mental health/medical professional. Offer to make the call for them.
  • Stay with them or make a plan with the person for the next few hours or days.
  • If they are reluctant to get help, be firm in your intentions to get assistance for them.
  • Contact 911 if the individual is posing a threat to themselves or others.

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