Suicide claims a life approximately every 40 seconds. More lives are lost each year through suicide than homicide and war combined, according to the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), which is why Sept. 10 is dedicated to suicide prevention.
World Suicide Prevention Day is sponsored by the IASP and held on Sept. 10 each year. It gives people across the world a chance to show their support for suicide prevention and survivors while also remembering those lost to suicide. The IASP and the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) are encouraging people to light a candle near a window at 8 p.m. in honour of those affected by suicide.
“World Suicide Prevention Day has been recognized since 2003 and is a chance for everyone to join in promoting understanding about suicide: those impacted by a suicide attempt or loss, family or friends, charitable organizations, professionals, politicians, volunteers, and community members,” said an online statement from the CASP. “You can do your part by lighting a candle in your window at 8 p.m. to recognize all lives impacted by suicide.”
Suicide is the ninth leading cause of death in Canada with about 4,000 Canadians dying by suicide each year, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, although published data underestimates the total number of deaths by suicide, due in part to stigma. It’s the second leading cause of death for children and young adults, and it’s estimated that for every suicide death, there are 25 to 30 attempts.
“You can make a difference – as a member of society, as a child, as a parent, as a friend, as a colleague or as a neighbour. There are many things that you can do daily, and also on World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD), to prevent suicidal behaviour,” said a statement from the IASP. “You can raise awareness about the issue, educate yourself and others about the causes of suicide and warning signs for suicide, show compassion and care for those who are in distress in your community, question the stigma associated with suicide, suicidal behaviour and mental health problems and share your own experiences.”
Below is a list of resources to help prevent future tragedies and increase public awareness and education surrounding suicide. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, don’t hesitate to seek help using the supports listed below. In the case of an emergency, call 911.
Resources for Suicide Prevention and Related Topics:
Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP)
CASP provides information and resources that aim to “reduce the suicide rate and minimize the harmful consequences of suicidal behaviour,” according to their website. They offer many resources, including tips on what to do if you’re concerned that someone could be contemplating suicide, coping strategies for suicide grief, and COVID-19 related mental health information and supports.
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
CAMH is Canada’s largest mental health teaching hospital as well as a research centre. Their website offers a wide array of mental health resources, including some resources specific to COVID-19. They also offer many supports related to suicide and suicide prevention, including a guide for people who have lost someone to suicide in Ontario.
Crisis Services Canada
Crisis Services Canada offers help to all Canadians seeking support. Their website allows Canadians to find distress centres and crisis organizations near them along with offering information for people who know someone considering suicide, support for people striggling with loss and resources related to COVID-19.
The Lifeline Canada Foundation
The Lifeline Canada Foundation is a non-profit “committed to positive mental health and suicide prevention” in Canada and around the world. Their website lists crisis centres, help lines, online chat lines and organizations offering resources. They also offer information on suicide prevention topics such as warning signs and how to cope with suicidal thoughts.
Mental Health Commission of Canada
The Mental Health Commission of Canada is funded by Health Canada and works to develop and disseminate programs and tools to support the mental health of Canadians. They offer many resources related to suicide prevention, including toolkits, webinars, fact sheets and more. One of their toolkits was created for people who have attempted suicide while the other was made for people who have lost someone to suicide.
International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP)
As the organization behind World Suicide Prevention Day, the IASP offers many resources ranging from academic research and other information to suicide bereavement groups and other supports.
Government of Canada
The Government of Canada provides a number of resources to learn more about suicide and suicide prevention, such as information about warning signs and how to talk about suicide as well as statistics and infographics.
Help and Crisis Lines:
Canada Suicide Prevention Service
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call the Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566, available 24/7, or text 45645 between 4 p.m. and midnight. There are longer wait times for text conversations, so the service recommends calling in for support at this time.
ONTX Ontario Online & Text Crisis Service
Ontario residents that are in distress, in crisis or having suicidal thoughts can contact ONTX Ontario Online & Text Crisis Service for support between 2 p.m. and 2 a.m. For text support, text SUPPORT to 258258. For online chat support, click here.
Kids Help Phone
Kids Help Phone is a 24/7, national support service offering professional counselling, information and referrals as well as volunteer-led, text-based support for young people. Their services are confidential and can be accessed by phone or text (online chat is currently unavailable). Text CONNECT to 686868 for text services or call 1-800-668-6868 to speak to a professional counsellor. They also have a database to help you locate resources in your area.
The LGBT YouthLine offers support to LGBTQ+ people across Ontario through text, chat and email from 4 to 9:30 p.m. every day except Saturday. It’s not a crisis line, but their volunteers are LGBTQ+ individuals trained to listen and provide information for people struggling with things like mental health, sexual orientation and gender identity. To access the service through text, contact 647-694-4275.
Trans Lifeline offers a peer-support hotline run by trans people for trans or questioning callers that are in crisis or just need someone to talk to. The hotline is open 24/7 and can be accessed by calling 1-877-330-6366.
Hope for Wellness Help Line
The Hope for Wellness Help Line offers support to all Indigenous peoples across Canada who need immediate crisis intervention. Phone and online counselling are available in English and French. Phone counselling is also available in Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut by request. To access the Hope for Wellness Help Line, call 1-855-242-3310 or connect to the online Hope for Wellness chat.
National Indian Residential School Crisis Line
The National Indian Residential School Crisis Line is a national 24-hour support service run by trained crisis counselors, including many counselors that are Indigenous. It provides emotional and crisis referral services as well as information on how to get other health supports from the Government of Canada. To access the Crisis Line, call 1-866-925-4419.
Talk4Healing is “a culturally grounded, fully confidential helpline for Indigenous women available in 14 languages all across Ontario.” To access the Talk4Healing helpline, call 1-855-554-HEAL (4325). To access their Crisis Line, call 1-888-200-9997.