Alberta Health Services is reminding Albertans to take any mention of suicide seriously as Sept. 10 marks World Suicide Prevention Day.
AHS asks people to get help right away if someone is in immediate risk of suicide by doing the following:
- Call 911, a suicide hotline (see telephone numbers below), or the police.
- Stay with the person or ask someone you trust to stay until the crisis has passed.
- Encourage the person to seek professional help.
- Don’t argue with the person (“It’s not as bad as you think”) or challenge the person (“You’re not the type to attempt suicide.”)
- Tell the person you are there to support. Talk about the situation as openly as possible.
AHS says it can be hard to know if someone is thinking about suicide but recognizing the risk factors and warning signs is important as people can be more at risk of suicide when they experience barriers to accessing social and health services, mental illness, traumatic life events, family violence, or have a diagnosis of a serious physical illness.
In a press release, AHS says it can be difficult to talk about mental health but it’s an important way to help reduce stigma.
“Together, we can help prevent suicide by showing understanding and compassion and by encouraging people experiencing mental health challenges to reach out for support.”
The REACH Pathway can help remind people what to do to support someone who is struggling:
- Recognize when someone is struggling.
- Engage in conversation and listen.
- Ask about suicidal thoughts and feelings.
- Connect to support and resources.
- Heal yourself by taking care of your own mental health.
If anyone is struggling, there are resources to help:
- Health Link, 811
- AHS Mental Health Line: 1-877-303-2642
- Kids Help Phone: Visit: kidshelpphone.ca or call 1-800-668-6868
- Hope for Wellness: First Nations & Inuit Populations: Call: 1-855-242-3310 or visit hopeforwellness.ca
- Canada Suicide Prevention Service: call 1-833-456-4566, visit crisisservicescanada.ca, or text 45645.
- National Trans Lifeline: Visit translifeline.org or call 1-877-330-6366.
- Learn more at MyHealth.Alberta.ca
World Suicide Prevention Day was created in 2003 by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) in partnership with the World Health Organization.