Approximately 4,000 Canadians die by suicide every year,
leaving thousands of devastated family members, friends and colleagues behind. While
a few cases make it onto the front pages—Rehtaeh Parsons, Ashley Smith, Amanda
Todd— most are never talked about. Yet the numbers are staggering:
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Canadian
youth aged 15-24 (after vehicular accidents).
- About 90 per cent of people who have died by suicide have at
least one mental health disorder.
- Suicide rates are five to seven times higher for First
Nations youth than for non-Aboriginal youth.
- Suicide rates among Inuit youth are among the highest in the
world, at 11 times the national average.
Suicide remains largely a taboo subject, but understanding
what drives people to end their lives is the key to prevention. September 10th
is World Suicide Prevention Day, created by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP)
to end the silence, encourage discussion and ultimately help prevent deaths
from suicide. This year’s theme is Stigma: A Major Barrier to Suicide
"There is a need to address the stigma surrounding mental
illness and suicidality, because it acts as a barrier to seeking help," says
David Goldbloom, CAMH's Senior Medical Advisor. "Fear of addressing mental
illness grows out of the myth that it's untreatable. There are many treatments
currently available that are effective, and people need to know that it’s
alright to seek help, before it’s too late. But we also need better treatments
and better access to them."
As a preventable cause of death, suicide is a topic that
needs to be addressed in schools, workplaces and by families. This Suicide
Prevention Day, we as a society must start talking about suicide more openly.
CAMH has online resources for available for people who would
like to learn more or have been affected by suicide:
To schedule an interview with Dr. David Goldbloom, please
contact CAMH Media Relations, 416-595-6015
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's
largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the
world's leading research centres in the area of addiction and mental health.
CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health
promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental health and
addiction issues.CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto,
and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization