TORONTO, September 9 - Suicide will touch us all in some way, directly or indirectly, at some point in our lives. With approximately 4,000 Canadians dying by suicide in a one year period, surveys show a significant percentage of Canadians know someone who has attempted or has died by suicide.
The theme of this year's Suicide Prevention Day is Suicide Prevention Across the World, emphasizing that suicidality is a global problem that can affect anyone, anywhere. Suicide Prevention Day was created to raise awareness, encourage discussion and ultimately prevent more of the estimated 1,000,000 suicide deaths each year that take place across the globe, with many, many more people making nonfatal attempts.
For Canadian youth aged 15-24, suicide is the second leading cause of death (after vehicular accidents). Whereas suicide attempts, particularly in adolescence and early adulthood, are more prevalent in women, males are at higher risk of suicide than their female contemporaries and comprise three-quarters of suicide deaths in Canada. As with younger ages, mental illness, namely depression, is the cause of most suicides in older people.
"There is a need to diminish the stigmatization of depression and suicidality, particularly among men, because it acts as a barrier to help-seeking," according to Dr. David Goldbloom, CAMH's Senior Medical Advisor, Education and Public Affairs.
"Fear of mental illness still comes from the myth many people have that it's untreatable. Available treatments for depression, for example, probably have better outcomes than those for high blood pressure."
As a preventable cause of death, suicide prevention is a topic that needs to be addressed in schools, workplaces and by families. While psychotherapy and medications are effective in the treatment of mental illness contributing to youth suicide, prevention -- such as promoting help-seeking behaviour, building resilience, and training peers and teachers -- have also shown promise.
Losing someone to suicide is more common than expected. One survey showed that 7% of respondents had experienced a loss due to suicide during the previous year. "Beginning this Suicide Prevention Day, we as a society must start talking about suicide more openly," said Dr. Goldbloom.
Eric Windeler is doing just that. Tragically, Eric's beloved son 18-year-old Jack Windeler died by suicide this past March while away at university. Eric has decided to honour Jack by leading the charge to implement Mental Health First Aid training at Queen's University, where the initial uptake has been amazingly positive. On Suicide Prevention Day, Eric is asking that you take a few moments to watch - and then share this video
with those you know will benefit.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's leading addiction and mental health teaching hospital. Integrating clinical care, scientific research, education, policy development and health promotion, CAMH transforms the lives of people impacted by mental health and addiction issues.
For further information: or to arrange interviews please contact Michael Torres, Media Relations, CAMH, at (416) 595-6015