Today is Suicide Prevention Day across the globe. While many of us know someone who has lost their battle to suicide or have gone through suicidal struggles themselves, it’s often difficult to reach out for help.
The ongoing theme for this year’s campaign is Cycle Around the Globe, an initiative hosted by the International Association for Suicide Prevention.
Now, in its 17th year, it continues to grow and expand and evolve further each year.
“The purpose of World Suicide Prevention Day is to raise awareness and spread the message that suicide is preventable,” says IASP President, Murad Khan in a video message released earlier today.
People interested in participating can do so by registering on the organization’s website. People can take a bike ride at home, at the gym, on a trail and submit their distances.
Last year, Cycle Around the Globe participants biked 15.8 times around the world, and IASP hopes to bring even more people together and cycle further.
Suicide is the ninth leading cause of death in Canada, with an average of 10 people dying by suicide per day.
Last year, 15 Canadian Forces members died by suicide despite new prevention strategy implemented to include more medical staff, training personnel on how to respond if someone shows signs for suicide and offering new resources to help those releasing to civilian life after leaving the Forces.
To mark the day Deputy Minister of National Defence Jody Thomas and Vice Chief of the Defence Staff Lieutenant General Jean-Marc Lanthier released the following statement, “Today, we mark World Suicide Prevention Day – a global initiative to raise awareness and prevent suicide. Losing a military member or civilian colleague to suicide is a tragic event that has a terrible impact on those left behind: their loved ones, friends and coworkers, the community, and, of course, brothers and sisters in arms.
“Suicide prevention is a universal challenge that deserves our complete and undivided attention. Even one suicide is too many. However, there are no easy solutions to this complex issue and every individual who suffers is unique.
“This year’s theme is ‘Working Together to Prevent Suicide’ —because preventing suicide requires a determined effort on the part of the entire Defence Team. Today, and every day, let us reflect on how our compassion and empathy could have a positive impact in someone’s life.
“If you notice that someone is suffering, experiencing mental health issues, or even openly questioning the value of their own life, please offer your help. Your intervention may prevent a tragic loss.”
Not only is suicide a factor within the Canadian Armed Forces, but it’s also a large subject with school-aged children.
In Ontario, 14 per cent of high school students have contemplated suicide in the last year.
In Ontario Christine Elliot, deputy premier and minister of health, Stephen Lecc, minister of education, and Todd Smith, minister of children announced investing $3 million over the next three years into a new mental health initiative called Project Now.
“Our government continues to deliver on our promise to make mental health and addictions a priority, especially for children and youth, our most vulnerable patients,” said Elliott. “Combined with funding from project partners, our government’s funding will help raise awareness, equip community leaders and families with the tools to better support children and youth experiencing mental health challenges, provide better-connected care and fill critical service gaps.”
The Ontario project aims to end child and youth suicide in Ontario by 2029.
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the Canada Suicide Prevention Line at 1-833-456-4566.
Military members their family members and civilian employees can call 1-800-268-7708 for the CAF Member Assistance Program, and the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). These services are free of charge and available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.