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World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10, 2023

Prioritizing Mental Health: A Guide to Suicide Prevention and Crisis Support
World Suicide Prevention Day
Published Date

I hope we can all take a moment to consider the significance of mental health, particularly on World Suicide Prevention Day. At Ontario Shores, we understand the harmful impact it can have on individuals and their families.

Understanding the Impact:  

The intent behind suicidal behaviour is more complex than a simple wish to die. Every year, approximately 4,500 people in Canada die by suicide, which equates to 12 deaths by suicide per day.

  • For every person who dies by suicide, many more have suicidal thoughts or attempts.
  • Every day, more than 200 Canadians attempt to take their own life.
  • For every death by suicide, 7 to 10 survivors endure a significant loss.

Certain populations are at higher risk, including:

  • Boys and men
  •  Individuals serving federal prison sentences
  • Suicide attempt survivors and survivors of suicide loss
  • In some First Nation and Métis communities, particularly among youth in Canada's Inuit regions
  • Self-harm is more common in women, and it can be a risk factor for suicide.
  • Suicidal ideation and suicide-related behaviour are more common among LGBTQ youth than among their non-LGBTQ peers.

Recognizing the Complexity: Suicidal Risk Factors

It is necessary to recognize that suicide is a complex issue with numerous contributing factors. Suicidal risk factors include:

  • Prior suicide attempts
  • Mental illness like depression
  • A sense of hopelessness or helplessness, meaning that you believe your life or current situation won't improve
  • Misuse of alcohol or substances
  • Chronic (long-term) physical pain or illness
  • Significant loss, including personal (relationships), social, cultural, and financial (job loss)
  • Major life changes or stressors such as unemployment, homelessness, poor physical health or physical illness, the death of a loved one, harassment, and discrimination
  • Lack of access to or availability of mental health services
  • Personal identity struggles (sexual, cultural)
  • Lack of support from family, friends, or your community
  • A sense of isolation

(Source: Suicide in Canada, Government of Canada)

Crisis Support Resources:

In times of crisis, finding help and support is not just an option—it's a lifeline. This introduction aims to connect you with essential crisis support resources that can provide understanding, guidance, and a listening ear.

You Matter: Your Well-being is Important

First and foremost, we want you to know that your well-being matters and your struggles are valid. Whether you are going through a difficult emotional period, grappling with thoughts of self-harm or suicide, or seeking help for someone you care about, there is help available.

Immediate Safety First

Before we dive into the resources, it's crucial to address immediate safety. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of self-harm, please take swift action:

  • Call 911: Dial 911 right away to connect with emergency services. They are trained to respond swiftly to life-threatening situations.
  • Visit Your Nearest Emergency Room: If you can do so safely, head to your nearest emergency room, where healthcare professionals can provide immediate assistance and care.

Compassion, Understanding, and Support

At times, the weight of life's challenges can feel unbearable. We want you to know that there are compassionate individuals and organizations ready to offer understanding and support. You are not alone in your journey, and reaching out for help is a brave and essential step toward healing.

Explore the Resources Below

In the following sections, you'll find crisis support services and organizations dedicated to providing emotional support, crisis management, suicide risk assessment, and community referrals. They offer confidential, non-judgmental assistance for individuals of all ages and backgrounds.

Remember: Seeking help is an act of strength, and there is hope for brighter days ahead. Together, we can navigate the challenges you face and work toward a future filled with healing, resilience, and well-being. Please take a moment to review the resources below, and reach out if you or someone you know is in need.

Your journey matters and your story is important. Let's take the first steps toward hope and healing together.

Crisis Support Services in Canada:

  • National Suicide Prevention Three-Digit Number: Starting November 20, 2023, Canada will have a three-digit number for suicide prevention.
  •  Immediate Crisis Response: To connect to a crisis responder now, call 1-833-456-4566 toll-free, 24/7, or text 45645 from 4 pm to midnight.
  • Emergency Services: In case of an emergency, always dial 911.
    For Individuals Under 18:
  • Kids Help Phone: Offers 24/7 text service. You don't need a data plan, internet connection, or an app to use it.
  • To start using the text service, text CONNECT to 686868.
  • The texting service is free and available across Canada 24/7.

Distress Centre Durham:

  • Distress Line: Call 905-430-2522 or 1-800-452-0688.
  • The centre provides a 24-hour telephone helpline service, offering:
    • Emotional support and encouragement.
    • Crisis management.
    • Suicide risk assessment.
    • Community resources and referral information.
    • Emergency intervention.
  • Prideline Durham: Aimed at providing emotional support, crisis intervention, and community referral information specific to the concerns and issues of the LGBTQ community in Durham region. Prideline Durham operates from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily. If you are in crisis and calling outside of Prideline Durham’s hours of operation, please contact the Distress Centre Durham 24-Hour Helpline at 905-430-2522 or 1-800-452-0688.
  • Seniors Reassurance Call-Out Program: A free telephone support program for individuals aged 55 and older living in Durham Region. Services include emotional support, safety check-ins, medication reminders, and crisis support.

Durham Mental Health Services:

  •  Crisis Services: Call (905) 666-0483 or toll-free at 1-800-742-1890.
  • Telephone support is available toll-free, 24 hours per day, to assist individuals in crisis and their supports.
  • Mobile crisis team visits can be arranged to support individuals in their preferred environment.
  • Follow-up support, including linkage and referral to other community supports, is also available.

Distress Centres of Greater Toronto:

  • Trained responders offer specialized services in abuse response, emergency and crisis intervention, and emotional support.
  • Multilingual support is available.
  • Support Groups: Offers support groups for suicide loss survivors, drop-in groups for survivors of suicide, and debriefings for those who witness a suicide.

Please know that we care about you and that your experiences of hardship are real. There is support available if you or someone you care about is experiencing emotional distress, is struggling with thoughts of self-harm or suicide, or wants to know what they can do to get help.

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