For every death by suicide, CMHA estimates there are as many as 20 attempts, according to BC Chapter CEO Bev Gutray. As more than 4,000 Canadians take their life every year, Gutray says more needs to be done, including training people without professional experience to help those in need.
“With a little bit of training and some support, regular citizens can make a difference. They can help in the whole journey to save people’s lives,” Gutray says.
CMHA offers two classes in BC. The first is a half-day safeTALK course to train people to identify and engage people with thoughts of suicide, while the second is a two-day in-depth suicide prevention and first aid course called Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST).
Gutray would like Canada to develop a national prevention strategy. “It needs to have clear national goals, commitment, roles assigned as far as what the federal and provincial governments will play. It needs to have funding attached to it and the regular kinds of accountability.”
New statistics from Kids Help Phone shows one-in-five Canadian teens has seriously thought about taking their own life and girls are twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts as boys.