MANITOULIN—On Monday, September 10, as in past years, people will gather on Manitoulin Island, in communities across Canada, and in over 50 countries around the world to show their support to recognize World Suicide Prevention Day. This year’s theme is “Working together to prevent suicide.”
It is estimated that each day in Canada, 11 people will end their lives and 210 will make a suicide attempt. Suicide is a critical public health issue in Canada. It ranks as one of the top ten leading causes of death and has been increasing over the last 60 years. Suicide occurs across all age, economic, social, and ethnic boundaries. The pain that leads individuals to take their lives is unimaginable. Their deaths leave countless families and friends bereaved and their communities impacted.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention invites everyone to stand together to show support on September 10. Your efforts will highlight this important issue, sending a message to those in despair and those who are supporting someone who is struggling that help, hope, and healing are possible. Orange and yellow intertwined ribbons signifying the light of a candle will be available at health centres across the island for individuals to pick up and wear proudly to show their support for suicide prevention.
In solidarity with other communities around the world, people will be asked to light a candle at 8 pm as a beacon of caring and compassion, illuminating the need for suicide awareness and prevention and remembers those who have been impacted by suicide.
Everyone has a role and contribution to preventing suicide. It begins by addressing the stigma of suicide and mental illness. We all need to know what to do in the event that we or someone we know experiences thoughts of suicide.
Suicide is not evenly distributed across the Canadian population. Those that have been marginalized in society, including those impacted by colonialism, racism, prejudice, and homophobia, have higher rates of suicide. In addition, older white males also have higher suicide rates, likely due to contributing factors such as cultural expectations and societal roles. Those who struggle with a diagnosed personality disorder can be up to three times more likely to die by suicide than those who do not, and risk is increased if they also misuse substances. It is important for individuals to receive treatment for mental illness and substance misuse. Suicide risk can be reduced by committing, as a society, to social justice and equity, and by speaking out on issues such as stigma, homophobia, racism, poverty and abuse.
Suicide prevention requires open and direct talk about suicide, being comfortable asking about suicide, and helping in situations of suicide risk, regardless of one’s role in the community. ASIST, or Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, is a two-day training that teaches participants to recognize when someone may have thoughts of suicide and work with them to create a plan to keep them safe until professional supports are put in place. Although ASIST is widely used by healthcare providers, participants don’t need any formal training to attend a workshop. Anyone over the age of 16 can be trained. There is an upcoming ASIST training open to anyone who may be interested on October 17 and 18 at the Rainbow Ridge Golf Course. Seats a limited so please contact Sylvia Recollet at 705-859-2330 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submitted by the Suicide Prevention Subcommittee of the Manitoulin Addictions and Mental Health Partners