Men in their 40s and 50s most at risk; but everyone has a role to play in creating suicide safer communities
Vernon, B.C. – In recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day on Sunday, September 10, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), in partnership with London Drugs, is urging British Columbians to “ask about suicide” and become more suicide aware by going to www.askaboutsuicide.ca.
Research shows that in many cases suicide can be prevented and that it is not just health care professionals who are qualified to reach out and help someone in crisis – we all have the ability to help save a life.
The focus of CMHA’s Ask About Suicide online awareness campaign, which launched today, is to empower people from all walks of life with the confidence, knowledge and skills to be able to reach out to those most at risk which, statistically, is men in their 40s and 50s. This age group year after year experiences the highest number of suicides nationally (Statistics Canada, 2014) and while there are far more attempts made by females, males take their own lives four times more often. In fact, the latest statistics reveal that in Canada, 75% of those who died by suicide were male.
“People are often afraid to start a conversation about suicide with someone showing signs of distress. But they don’t have to be,” says Julia Payson, CMHA Vernon Executive Director. “And you do not have to be a mental health professional to do it. Talking about suicide helps save lives. Learning how to recognize the warning signs and how to ask about suicide are key learnings from the ASIST and safeTALK suicide prevention training CMHA delivers in our community.”
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about suicide and the Ask About Suicide online campaign aims to replace these with facts and practical information for anyone who has concerns that a loved one, colleague, friend, neighbour or even customer may be considering suicide. The campaign seeks to grow sign-ups for suicide prevention training courses being offered around the province.
“People who identify as male are often reluctant to reach out to mental-health services for support and are less likely than women to talk about their feelings with loved ones,” continues Payson. “They try to mask what they are going through until they reach a breaking point. We hope this campaign will equip those who live, work and socialize with these men, and anyone else who shows signs of risk, with the knowledge and skills to intervene and offer support.”
CMHA is launching Ask About Suicide in partnership with London Drugs. The partnership involves training local pharmacists to respond to the signs of suicide as well as providing resource materials throughout all of London Drugs’ 80 stores from Manitoba through to British Columbia.
“London Drugs is committed to the health, care and overall well-being of the individuals and families who live and work in the communities we serve,” says Chris Chiew, General Manager, Pharmacy, London Drugs Limited. “We are proud to support the Canadian Mental Health Association’s efforts to bring attention to suicide prevention and we look forward to our partnership and working together on this important awareness campaign.”
CMHA Vernon will be hosting safeTALK, suicide prevention training for everyone, on September 19th. Learn more
For more information on suicide prevention and awareness and more upcoming training courses go to www.askaboutsuicide.ca
To watch the PSA visit www.askaboutsuicide.ca