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Silence costs lives: On World Mental Health day, talk about it

Last Updated Oct 10, 2019 at 6:59 am PDT

(iStock Photo)

Every 40 seconds someone in the world dies of suicide, says the World Health Organization

For every suicide death there are an estimated 20 attempts

Stigma, wait times, and costs are keeping people from getting help

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – By the time you get to the third paragraph of this story suicide will have taken another life.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says someone in the world dies by suicide every 40 seconds and on Oct. 10, 2019 the organization is asking all of us to take “40 seconds of action.”

“Close to 800 000 people die by suicide every year. Furthermore, for each suicide, there are more than 20 suicide attempts,” says the WHO fact page on the issue.

Vancouver Fire Chief Darryl Reid is speaking about the devastating effects stigma has had on firefighters and friends he came through the ranks with.

Each year on Oct. 10, World Mental Health Day coincides with the anniversary of the death of B.C. teenager Amanda Todd.

World monuments light up purple, and purple t-shirts are donned across the globe, all in honour of Todd. She died by suicide seven years ago at the age of 15, after being victimized by an online predator and bullied in school.

She left the world after posting a heartbreaking video to YouTube detailing her mental struggles and descent into depression.

“I’m struggling to stay in this world, because everything just touches me so deeply. I’m not doing this for attention. I’m doing this to be an inspiration and to show that I can be strong,” she wrote online just a month before her death.

In the years since the loss, her mother, Carol Todd, has created a legacy foundation in her daughter’s honour and campaigned for more open conversation about mental health, bullying, and depression.

Now the torch is shared with heavy hitting celebrity endorsements to knock back stigma and open the door to helping more people.

Ed Sheeran teamed up with Prince Harry to encourage us to reach out to our loved ones who could be “suffering in silence.”

About 60 per cent of working Canadians will experience a mental health condition at some point, according to Sunlife Financial Inc.

The insurer says it’s among the leading causes of disability-leave.

“Treatment options, wait times, cost, and stigma can be some of the barriers people face when dealing with their mental health challenges,” the company says.

“When you take a disability leave for mental health reasons, finding a specialist and getting proper treatment can feel overwhelming – we want to make this experience hassle-free,” says Dave Jones, Senior Vice-President, Group Benefits, Sun Life.

The group has launched a suite of digital tools to help clients navigate the tedious systems that can feel so intimidating in difficult times.