Thinking about Suicide?
Studies indicate that more than 90 percent of suicide victims have a diagnosable psychiatric illness. Suicide is the most common cause of death for people with schizophrenia. People with mood disorders are at a particularly high risk of suicide – both major depression and bipolar disorder account for 15 to 25 percent of all deaths by suicide in patients with severe mood disorders.
Are You Feeling Suicidal?
See Crisis Support
The death of someone close to us is one of life’s most stressful events. When the death is from suicide, family and friends must cope with sadness at the loss plus all their feelings of confusion and sometimes even anger. It takes time to heal and each of us responds differently. We may need help to cope with the changes in our lives. But in the end, coping effectively with bereavement is vital to our mental health.
Suicide. We would rather not talk about it. We hope it will never happen to anyone we know. But suicide is a reality, and it is more common than you might think. The possibility that suicide could claim the life of someone you love cannot be ignored. By paying attention to warning signs and talking about the ‘unthinkable,’ you may be able to prevent a death.
Youth are among the highest risk populations for suicide. In Canada, suicide accounts for 24 percent of all deaths among 15-24 year olds and 16 percent among 16-44 year olds. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Canadians between the ages of 10 and 24.
Canada and Ontario
The suicide rate for Canadians, as measured by the WHO, is 15 per 100,000 people. Yet, according to numerous studies, rates are even higher among specific groups. For example, the suicide rate for Inuit peoples living in Northern Canada is between 60 and 75 per 100,000 people, significantly higher than the general population. Other populations at an increased risk of suicide include youth, the elderly, inmates in correctional facilities, people with a mental illness, and those who have previously attempted suicide. According to Statistics Canada, between 1997 and 1999, there was a 10 percent increase in suicides across Canada, from 3,681 to 4,074. In Ontario alone, suicides rose from 930 in 1997 to 1,032 in 2001.
Suicide is rarely a spur of the moment decision. In the days and hours before people kill themselves, there are usually clues and warning signs.
The strongest and most disturbing signs are verbal – “I can’t go on,” “Nothing matters any more” or even “I’m thinking of ending it all.” Such remarks should always be taken seriously.
Certain ways of presenting and portraying suicide in the media appear to precipitate suicidal behaviour in vulnerable people. This evidence has led many countries to develop media guidelines for reporting and portraying suicide.
If you feel you need more support than family or friends can provide, contact your doctor or counseling agency in your area. Other resources can include spiritual communities, crisis lines and bereavement support groups.
This section takes a look at some of the major types of mental disorders and describes how they may increase the risk of suicidal behaviour in persons with these disorders. Included in this discussion are the principal disorders — depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia; in addition, the relationships between suicide and postpartum depression, eating disorders, self-mutilation, post-traumatic stress disorder, and alcohol/substance abuse are briefly considered.
- Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention
- Centre for Suicide Prevention
- Suicide Prevention Workshops
- Coping with Suicidal Thoughts
Information and practical ideas for individuals who are contemplating suicide.
- Hope and Healing: A Practical Guide for Survivors of Suicide
Focuses on the practical matters that survivors need to deal with after a suicide.
- Working with the Suicidal Patient: A Guide for Health Care Professionals
Guide for the professional whose client is actively planning a suicide attempt.
- Working with the Client Who Is Suicidal: A Tool for Adult Mental Health and Addiction Services
A professional resource addressing a number of issues such as myths of suicide, how to build a trusting therapeutic relationship, mental illness and how to build a network of support in the community for the client.
- Honouring Life Network
A website developed to combat suicide among Aboriginal youth that targets both Aboriginal youth and suicide prevention workers in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.