Work­ing to­gether for sui­cide pre­ven­tion

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - CITY NEWS -

World Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion Day is a world­wide event rec­og­nized an­nu­ally on Septem­ber 10.

This day pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity to spread the mes­sage that help, hope, and heal­ing are pos­si­ble.

In ad­di­tion, World Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion Day presents an op­por­tu­nity for every­one in the com­mu­nity to join to­gether to pro­mote un­der­stand­ing about sui­cide.

Ev­ery year, sui­cide is among the top 20 lead­ing causes of death glob­ally for peo­ple of all ages.

Each day in Canada, it is es­ti­mated that 10 peo­ple end their life, 250 peo­ple make a sui­cide at­tempt, while count­less oth­ers have suicidal thoughts.

Pre­vent­ing sui­cide is of­ten pos­si­ble and you can be a key player in its pre­ven­tion. To­gether we can help pre­vent sui­cide by pro­mot­ing help-seek­ing, ad­dress­ing stigma, and rais­ing aware­ness.

Pro­mote help-seek­ing: Iden­tify the de­sired helpseek­ing be­hav­iour such as call­ing a hotline, vis­it­ing a health provider or down­load­ing a men­tal health app.

Ad­dress Stigma: Use per­sonal sto­ries of re­silience and re­cov­ery – ex­am­ples of peo­ple who sought help and ben­e­fit­ted. Em­pha­size hope when talk­ing about some­one who ex­pe­ri­enced a suicidal cri­sis.

Raise Aware­ness: Iden­tify com­mon warn­ing signs (talk­ing about want­ing to die, mood changes, feel­ing hope­less, help­less, or worth­less), risk fac­tors (a pre­vi­ous at­tempt, men­tal illness, his­tory of trauma or abuse, iso­la­tion), and pro­tec­tive fac­tors (strong con­nec­tions to fam­ily and com­mu­nity sup­port, a sense of be­long­ing, strong coping skills).

When talk­ing about sui­cide, it is im­por­tant to con­sider our lan­guage.

Here are some tips when talk­ing about sui­cide:

Avoid us­ing ‘com­mit­ted sui­cide’ as this im­plies a crim­i­nal of­fence.

Try us­ing ‘died by sui­cide’ which de­scribes the facts. Why? – Sim­ple, non-judg­men­tal lan­guage helps re­duce stigma sur­round­ing sui­cide.

Avoid sug­gest­ing sui­cide is in­evitable or com­mon, and that it can’t be pre­vented. Try em­pha­siz­ing that sui­cide is pre­ventable and help is avail­able. Why? – We can help pre­vent sui­cide by con­nect­ing with in­di­vid­u­als, talk­ing about sui­cide and re­mov­ing bar­ri­ers to get­ting help.

Avoid us­ing words or im­ages that re­in­force stereo­types, myths or stig­mas, such as once some­one is suicidal they will al­ways be suicidal or that some­one hav­ing thoughts of sui­cide is de­ter­mined to die.

Try show­cas­ing im­ages of sup­port and hope, and ex­press­ing that re­cov­ery is pos­si­ble – use pos­i­tive ex­am­ples and pro­mote pos­i­tive pro­gram or ser­vice sto­ries. Why? – Peo­ple can have thoughts of sui­cide with­out want­ing to die.

Ask­ing and talk­ing about sui­cide and suicidal thoughts can help some­one who is strug­gling. Avoid sug­gest­ing sui­cide is sim­ple or an in­di­vid­ual prob­lem.

Try talk­ing about sui­cide as a com­plex is­sue. Why? – There are many com­plex fac­tors that con­trib­ute to sui­cide, in­clud­ing in­di­vid­ual, so­cial, and en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors.

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 you can do daily, and also on World Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion Day to help ad­dress stigma around sui­cide and to raise aware­ness.

In sup­port of World Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion Day, join the Re­gional Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion Coun­cil, in part­ner­ship with the City of Medicine Hat on Sept. 10 for Rock the Park! Come paint a rock and share a mes­sage of hope.

To­gether we can fill the park with mes­sages that show com­pas­sion and care for those in dis­tress in our com­mu­nity! Join us Sept. 10 from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. at the Veiner Cen­tre. Sup­plies are pro­vided and all ages wel­come!

Also on Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Re­gional Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion Coun­cil, in part­ner­ship with Mon­ster’s Ink is host­ing a Tat­too Aware­ness Event.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit the SE Al­berta Re­gional Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion Coun­cil Face­book page.

Taneil Zanidean is an addictions coun­sel­lor with Al­berta Health Ser­vices. She can be reached via e-mail, [email protected]


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