World Suicide Prevention Day

Monday marked World Suicide Prevention Day in Canada. Chosen by the International Association for Suicide Prevention, the theme for 2018 was “Working together to Prevent Suicide.”
Incredibly, more than 4,000 Canadians lives are ended by suicide each year. It continues to be the ninth leading cause of death overall and the second leading cause of death for youth. In Canada alone, an average of 11 people die by suicide each day. Suicide ultimately takes a precious life away from some resulting in the loss of someone’s partner, child, parent, friend or work colleague.
In a joint message, defence minister Harjit S. Sajjan and veterans affairs minister and associate minister of national defence, Seamus O’Regan, called World Suicide Prevention Day a global initiative to raise awareness and prevent suicide. Losing a military member or a Veteran from suicide is always a tragic event that has a terrible impact on their loved ones, community, and brothers and sisters in arms, the ministers noted.
“National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada are united in believing that one suicide is too many. There are no easy solutions to this complex issue and every individual who suffers is unique. This matter deserves our total attention,” the ministers stated. “We can all do our part to address suicide prevention. On World Suicide Prevention Day, please reflect on how your compassion and empathy – through words and actions – could potentially have a positive impact in someone’s life.”
If you or someone you know requires emergency mental health assistance, please seek help through your health care provider, your local emergency department, or call 911. Help is also available to military personnel at the nearest CAF health clinic. Serving members, Veterans, and civilian employees can call 1-800-268-7708 for the CAF Member Assistance Program, the Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) Assistance Service, and the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). All services are free of charge and available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The VAC-DND Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) program provides peer-based support to those suffering from operational stress injuries and to the families who have lived with those suffering from an operational stress injury. The program employs full-time Peer Support and Family Peer Support Coordinators and also has a well-developed volunteer training and mentoring program.
VAC has a well-established national network of approximately 4,000 community mental health professionals who deliver mental health services to Veterans and serving and released RCMP officers with post-traumatic stress disorder and other operational stress injuries. Services include a network of 11 operational stress injury clinics across the country. These clinics are complemented by the CAF network of seven Operational Trauma and Stress Support Centres (OTSSC), which cater primarily to currently serving military personnel.
The toll-free number for the Canada Suicide Prevention Service is 1-833-456-4566.


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