Annually, September 10th marks World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD). This year’s theme is ‘Take a minute, change a life.’ Canada’s current youth suicide rate is the third highest in the industrialized world and its young people between the ages of 15 and 19, who are struggling with mental illness and addiction, have the highest rates of suicide attempts of all Canadians.
But, as this year’s theme suggests, a few moments and words can change a life. CMHO is sharing a series of blogs to acknowledge that while many kids and their families are still struggling, there is hope and support available.
World Suicide Prevention Day: A Reminder That We Can Offer Support Through Conversation
Written by Ann Douglas
World Suicide Prevention Day matters to me because it reminds me that I have the opportunity to make a powerful difference in the life of someone I care about who is struggling (and who may even be contemplating suicide). Earlier this year, a young person I know told me, “I’m running out of options.” Those words sent a chill down my spine and a jolt of adrenaline through my body, causing me to immediately switch into action mode. I did everything I could to offer emotional support and hands-on-help to that person during the weeks and months ahead. Then, just a few weeks ago, my gut instinct told me that I needed to reach out to another friend who was struggling. I knew that she was dealing with a lot—so much that she might not have the energy or focus needed to reach out for help on her own. At first, it felt awkward to be having this conversation with her. It isn’t easy talking about suicide! But, as it turned out, this conversation made a real difference. She had been feeling hopeless and overwhelmed (and, yes, suicidal, too) and she really needed to hear (1) how much I cared and (2) that I believed that things could get better. So that’s why I think World Suicide Prevention Day is so important: because it reminds us that we have the opportunity to offer support to someone we know — and maybe even save that person’s life. It’s a really big deal.
- Ann Douglas
Ann Douglas is a Children’s Mental Health Ontario (CMHO) digital ambassador and is the bestselling author of “The Mother of All Pregnancy Books” and most recently, “Parenting Through the Storm” a guide to parenting a child who is struggling with a mental, neurodevelopmental, or behavioural challenge.