World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is September 10th. The Crisis Line Association of BC and its member agencies support provincial and national efforts to prevent suicide.
Suicide is an issue that is hard to talk about and, for many, harder to understand. Every year over 800,000 people die from suicide; roughly one death every 40 seconds. In 2012, it is estimated that for each completed suicide there were 27 others who made suicide attempts.
Each year on September 10th, the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) (http://www.iasp.info/) organizes World Suicide Prevention Day, and this year’s theme is “Suicide Prevention: One World Connected”.
The reasons for suicide can be complex, but we know that psychological, social, biological, cultural and environmental factors can all be involved. Tackling such an issue may seem daunting, but the evidence suggests that connecting people in need with community and resources can be an invaluable support.
Studies have shown that social isolation can increase the risk of suicide and, conversely, that having strong human bonds can be protective against it. Crisis Lines play an indispensible role in supporting those that have become disconnected from others and offering them support can be a life-saving act.
Every 2.7 minutes a person connects with a crisis line worker in BC, either through their local crisis line, 1800SUICIDE or 310Mental Health Support. Many suffer with suicidal ideation or intent, and trained volunteers and staff respond 24-7 with emotional support, and when needed, intervention. BC’s dedicated 1800SUICIDE toll-free number alone responded to 6,791 calls for help in 2013.
According to CLABC President, Janice Breck, “For many people, calling a Crisis Line and hearing a Crisis Line Worker’s voice on the other end is like grabbing a life line in the ocean when the ship has capsized and the waves have become too overwhelming. There is a sense of relief knowing that someone cares and that there is hope. ”
Many crisis centres also offer suicide bereavement support, and ASIST workshops that train the community to spot the warning signs and connect people in distress with resources that can help. Additional programs will also be held to mark World Suicide Prevention Day 2014, including:
The Northern BC Crisis Centre in Prince George will hold an afternoon symposium at the Native Friendship Centre. In line with this year’s theme, the centre will connect service and care providers with representatives of government, civil service, educators and the business community.
Vancouver Crisis Centre will offer free suicideTALK training - a 90-minute session that invites interested community members to become more aware of suicide prevention opportunities in their community.
Fraser Health Crisis Line will be participating in a Town Hall Meeting organized as part of the 308 conversations about suicide.
Safe Communities Cranbrook and CMHA Kootenays will host a World Suicide Awareness Day Event in Rotary Park, funded through a Columbia Basin Trust Grant. Guests will be provided beaded necklaces in a variety of colors - each representing someone lost to or affected by suicide.
Vancouver Island Crisis Society will hold a series of workshops throughout Vancouver Island, sharing new research and exploring the narratives of suicide attempt survivors and the new conversations pertaining to suicide prevention that arise from the sharing of these personal experiences.
KUU-US (Port Alberni) holds a support group the first Thursday of each month and in conjunction with WSPD will be holding a talking circle from 11am- 1pm for community members.
West Kootenay Suicide Prevention Intervention and Postvention (PIP) group is hosting three commemorative events this year in Grand Forks, Nelson and Castlegar.
September 10th is a day when people will gather in communities all across Canada and the World to show their support for suicide prevention, to remember and celebrate the lives of those who have died, to comfort those who grieve and to strengthen our connection with each other. During WSPD, we remember that we are all connected to each other, through shared; experiences, sorrow, hope, determination, commitment and compassion.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer and supporting people in need in your community, contact CLABC at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are concerned about suicide, call now on 1-800-784-2433
The Crisis Line Association of BC (CLABC) is the provincial association representing member crisis lines from across BC. The organization, formed in 1998, is dedicated to ensuring that every person in BC has access to the needed emotional support and critical services that crisis lines provide. CLABC developed two provincial networks: 1800SUICIDE and 310Mental Health Support, enhancing immediate access to 24-hour crisis line services for anyone at anytime from anywhere in BC.
For more information contact Jason Chare, CLABC Provincial Network Manager, at email@example.com