Message from the Minister of Health and Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health – World Suicide Prevention Day
September 10, 2022 | Ottawa, ON | Health Canada
Today marks World Suicide Prevention Day, an opportunity to reiterate our commitment for mental health support and suicide prevention. Suicide is a public health issue that tragically affects people of all ages and backgrounds across the country, and which continues to be the second leading cause of death among young people in Canada. Every day, approximately 12 people in Canada die by suicide. Their deaths leave behind family members and loved ones grappling with unfathomable grief and loss.
This year's theme-Creating Hope through Action-reminds us that every action matters when it comes to suicide prevention. From truly listening to someone in crisis to learning how to reduce stigma by changing the way we talk about suicide, we all have a role to play in supporting those experiencing a suicidal crisis or those bereaved by suicide.
Over the last two years, we have seen many people across Canada report an increase in stress, anxiety, depression, and loneliness. We also know that the prevalence of suicidal thoughts was significantly higher in 2021 than in 2019, before COVID-19 began. We recognize the effect that suicide has on individuals, families, and communities, and are committed to ensuring that there is adequate support in place.
Our government has made several investments to increase immediate suicide prevention crisis support, including Budget 2019's investment of $25 million to support the development of a pan-Canadian suicide prevention service. Budget 2022 also provided $100 million over three years to support the mental health of Canadians who have been most affected by COVID-19 and an additional $50 million to help those experiencing PTSD due to the pandemic.
Last week, we shared the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's determination to introduce a three-digit national suicide prevention number in Canada - so that everyone in Canada has an easy to remember phone number to call in a time of crisis. Once implemented on November 30, 2023, this number will connect people to immediate, culturally-appropriate and community-based crisis support, 24/7/365, in both English and French. We also announced that the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) will lead coordination of 9-8-8 service delivery, building on its experience delivering Talk Suicide Canada.
As we work collectively to implement the 9-8-8 crisis line, people in Canada also have access to Talk Suicide Canada, which offers bilingual crisis and suicide prevention support, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 1-833-456-4566 and text (evenings) to 45645. For residents of Quebec, call 1-866-277-3553 or visit suicide.ca for support by text and online chat.
The Hope for Wellness Help Line also remains available for all Indigenous peoples across Canada and can be reached at 1-855-242-3310.
For mental health assistance, Canadians can access the Wellness Together Canada Portal and its companion app PocketWell for free 24/7 educational content, self-guided therapy, moderated peer-to-peer support, and one-to-one counselling with qualified health professionals to support with mental health and substance use.
There is much more work to be done and supporting the mental health and well-being of people in Canada continues to be a priority for our government.
For anyone struggling with thoughts of suicide right now or concerned about a loved one who is thinking of suicide, we want you to know that you are not alone. Take action and learn more about how to take care of your own mental health and support others in your life. By working together, we can create hope and positive change in our communities, schools, and workplaces.
The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P.
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, P.C., M.P.
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health
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