Message from the Minister of Health - World Suicide Prevention Day 2017


September 8, 2017                  Ottawa, Ontario                      Government of Canada

September 10 marks World Suicide Prevention Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness and taking action to prevent losses of life to suicide. In Canada, approximately 4,000 Canadians die by suicide each year. Every suicide is a tragedy, with impacts that are often far-reaching, affecting families, friends and entire communities. Thoughts of suicide and suicide attempts impact many individuals and the people who care about them.

The theme for this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day—“take a minute, change a life”—reminds us that we can all play a role in helping prevent suicide. It can take only a few minutes to check in with friends, family members, acquaintances, co-workers or anyone who may need support. A few moments are enough to become aware of tools and resources that can provide assistance or to learn about what language to use to avoid stigma, so that people are more comfortable talking about mental illness or suicide. These small actions can bring hope to others and change a life.

I want Canadians to know that the Government of Canada recognizes the magnitude and devastating impact of suicide in communities across the country. We will continue to work with provincial and territorial governments, national Indigenous organizations, stakeholders, and partners, including the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention to help reduce risk factors, strengthen our mental health and wellness, build resilient communities and prevent suicide in Canada.

The issues that are at the root of the mental health and suicide crisis in First Nations and Inuit communities are complex and multi-faceted. Our Government is committed to addressing generations of discrimination and reversing failed government policies, including the impacts of residential schools. We are working towards socio-economic equity in many areas, such as education, employment, housing and community infrastructure.

This transformation will not come overnight, nor will it be easy. The Government of Canada is engaged with communities and local partners to identify First Nations children and youth who require mental health supports, and are committed to ensuring that these individuals receive the help they need immediately through Jordan’s Principle initiatives.

The Government of Canada runs a national, 24/7, toll-free crisis response line to provide First Nations and Inuit individuals with immediate counselling services that are culturally appropriate. Counselling is offered in French and English, as well as in Cree, Ojibwe and Inuktut. The toll-free number for the First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line is 1-855-242-3310. We are also investing $2 million over five years to support the development of a new national suicide prevention service, so that Canadians can get the help they need, when they need it, in the way that works best for them – by chat, text or phone.

Together, by increasing awareness of how to speak about suicide, learning about available resources and reducing risk factors, we can all become a part of the solution. Let’s all take a minute to change a life and create resilient and supportive communities to help prevent suicide.

Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Canada’s Minister of Health

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