BROCKVILLE – Brockville General Hospital urges you to take a minute, talk about suicide and change a life.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) over 800,000 people die world-wide by suicide each year, with up to 25 times more attempting suicide. Although suicide is commonly associated with mental health disorders, such as depression and addiction, many suicides can happen impulsively in moments of crisis. This may occur when there is an inability to cope with life stresses. Negative stress is seen in many forms, including financial problems, a relationship break-up or chronic pain and illness.
Unfortunately, Brockville and the Leeds Grenville area are not immune to these statistics. Between 2012 and 2014, more than seven percent (641 in total) of the deaths recorded by the east regions of the Ottawa and Kingston offices of the Coroner’s Office were a result of suicide. This area spans Northumberland, Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes, Peterborough, Frontenac, Hastings, Lennox and Addington, Prince Edward, Lanark, Leeds-Grenville, Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, Prescott and Russell, Ottawa, and Renfrew counties.
Brockville General Hospital wants to help to break down the stigma of mental health needs by encouraging people to talk about suicide. BGH is joining the fight for World Suicide Prevention Day to support the campaign, ‘Take a minute, change a life.’
How can you change a life?
- Take a minute to help to someone in need.
The act of showing care and concern to someone who may be vulnerable to suicide can be a game-changer. Asking them whether they are OK, listening to what they have to say in a non-judgmental way, and letting them know you care, can all have a significant impact. Isolation increases the risk of suicide, and, conversely, having strong social connections is protective against it, so being there for someone who has become disconnected can be life-saving.
- Take a minute to help those who have been bereaved by suicide.
Suicide is devastating for the family members and friends who are left behind. They may experience a whole range of emotions, including grief, anger, guilt, disbelief and self-blame. They may not feel that they can share these overwhelming feelings with anyone else. Reaching out to those who have lost someone to suicide is very important. Starting the conversation may be difficult, but it will almost certainly be appreciated.
- Take a minute to put people in touch with relevant services.
Although the support of friends and relatives is crucial for people who may be at risk of suicide and for people who have lost someone to suicide, it is not always enough. Often more formal help is also needed. Such help can take many forms. It may include specialist mental health services and primary care providers, both of which offer clinical care. It may also include a range of community organisations which provide non-clinical support, as well as support groups and self-help groups.
For those in immediate risk of committing suicide or harm to others, visit the Hospital’s Emergency Department or call the Mental Health Crisis Team at 613-345-4600.
- Take a minute to prevent suicide in our community.
There is strength in numbers. Around the globe, many individuals and organizations are involved in efforts to prevent suicide. We can learn from each other, and strengthen the evidence base for effective interventions. Reaching out to those who are facing similar challenges and concerns increases the likelihood that our collective efforts to reduce the numbers of people who die by suicide, and the numbers of people for whom these deaths have shattering effects, will be successful.
BGH’s Mental Health Service treats the illnesses that can lead to suicide, but BGH also plays a system role in health promotion, prevention and education;
- Crisis Response Team and Crisis Line (call 613-345-4600, available 24/7)
- Inpatient mental health services
- Outpatient mental health services with satellite clinics in Gananoque, Kemptville and Prescott
- Education programs including safeTALK, ASIST, Non-Violent Crisis Intervention training and Gentle Persuasive Approaches
World Suicide Prevention Day was created in 2003 by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and WHO to end the silence, encourage discussion and ultimately help prevent deaths from suicide. This day serves as a call to action to individuals and organizations to prevent suicide. This year’s theme encourages us all to consider the role that offering support may play in combating suicide.
Remember, if there is someone who you are concerned about, take a minute to check in with them. It could change their life.
Key Facts / Links
World Health Organization – Suicide Fact Sheet
- Close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year.
- For every suicide there are many more people who attempt suicide every year. A prior suicide attempt is the single most important risk factor for suicide in the general population.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15–29-year-olds.
- Ingestion of pesticide, hanging and firearms are among the most common methods of suicide globally.
Ontario Women’s Health Evidence-Based Report – Depression, Chapter 5
- There were regional and income differences in the prevalence of probable depression. Individuals living in the lowest-income neighbourhoods were more likely to have probable depression than those living in the highest-income neighbourhoods.
- Women were twice as likely to have probable depression as men in Ontario.
- Twenty percent of Ontario women who gave birth had a physician visit for depression within one year following delivery.
- Women’s experiences with depression are different from men’s. They tend to be younger when they have their first episode of depression, have poorer social adjustment and lower quality of life and report more severe episodes and more chronic depression than men. Men are more likely to develop alcohol and substance abuse problems and have higher suicide rates.
- Ontarians aged 15-24 are the age group with the highest rate of depression
- Men are more likely to suffer from alcohol and substance dependence and have higher rates of completed suicide.
- More than seven per cent of the deaths recorded by the east regions of the Ottawa and Kingston offices of the Coroner’s Office between 2012 and 2014 were a result of suicide — where out of 8,684 death investigations for these offices, 641 were suicide. The east region of the Kingston office is made up of Northumberland, Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes, Peterborough, Frontenac, Hastings, Lennox and Addington, and Prince Edward. The east region of the Ottawa office is made up of Lanark, Leeds-Grenville, Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, Prescott and Russell, Ottawa, and Renfrew.
- Out of more than 47,000 death investigations in the province, 3,875 were suicides. This means these regions made up almost 17 per cent of total suicide deaths in Ontario.
- Late July and August have the highest suicide rate out of all the months of the year. Some studies suggest that the increase is due to the seasonal change and that this period is one that often brings about changes in personal situations as well. It is suggested that all these elements of change – whether there are dramatic changes happening in someone’s life, or whether someone feels defeated because their situation seems to never change – can lead people to suicide.
- A number of studies indicate that an especially high-risk time for vulnerable teens is when they go back to school. Whatever the reason, the rates are so high among aboriginal youth at this time of year that the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health says autumn is referred to as the “suicide season”.