We all have a minute to talk about suicide. Today on Sunday, September 10th please join me and the rest of the world in honoring World Suicide Prevention Day. I invite you to take a minute from your busy schedule to raise awareness on this important issue and work towards ending stigma to ensure that people will no longer fear getting the help they need.
In Canada, more than 10 people die of suicide each day and an estimated 125 Canadians are affected by these victim’s deaths. Yet, behind the statistics there are individual stories of those who have questioned the value of their own lives – for a multitude of different reasons.
This year the theme for World Suicide Prevention Day is Take a minute, Change a Life. We have an important role to support those who are vulnerable and to reflect on what we can do to end suicide in our communities. We can look out for those who may be struggling, check in with them and encourage them to continue asking for support. There are many ways which we can raise awareness within community.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) and the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), have developed ways in which we can all take a minute to help those who may be having difficulty around us. Please see this list at: https://suicideprevention.ca/wspd/. While taking a minute can make a difference, suicide is a public health issue which requires an ongoing, multi-pronged, collaborative approach to prevention.
Within the constituency of Vancouver Granville, there are a variety of resources for those seeking help. For example, the Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre, (located at BC Children’s Hospital) provides services for young people struggling with mental health issues. The Kelty works with families to cultivate support networks for their children, and continue to work closely with all parties to maintain good mental health. Please see their website for more information at http://keltymentalhealth.ca/.
Similarly, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is an organization which provides health care services through a network of hospitals, primary care clinics, community health centers and residential care homes. This association also offers mental health services and there is a Vancouver Coastal Health branch located in the riding at West Broadway and West 6th Avenue. To learn more about their services, please visit: http://www.vch.ca/.
These are just two of the many organizations in Vancouver Granville which are working towards improving the lives of those living with a mental illness, and suicide prevention. Through these services and many more, we can continue to better educate ourselves about the signs and risk factors by participating in training programs or reaching out to someone in need. As Canadians, we can all play a significant role in preventing suicides.
As your Member of Parliament, I am working to raise awareness for this important issue and I encourage you to do the same.
If we all take a minute, maybe we can change a life.