About suicide

Learn about suicide and how to talk about it. Find out about who it affects.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 9-1-1.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call or text 9-8-8. Support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through 9-8-8: Suicide Crisis Helpline.

Help is also available through Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868) and the Hope for Wellness Help Line (1-855-242-3310).

On this page

Defining suicide

Suicide is the intentional act of ending one’s life.

A suicide attempt is made when someone tries to end their life. An attempt is an indication that a person needs help and may be at higher risk for suicide.

Suicide-related behaviours

Suicide-related behaviours can include:

  • thinking about or considering suicide
  • planning suicide
  • attempting suicide

Suicide survivors

Survivors are those who have:

  • lost someone through suicide
  • survived a suicide attempt and may continue to experience thoughts of suicide or suicide-related behaviours

Suffering and suicide

People who die by suicide don’t necessarily want to end their lives. They often want to stop significant or unbearable mental, emotional or physical pain. They want to end their suffering or put an end to a situation that seems overwhelming to them.

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide or suicide-related behaviours, you’re not alone. Learn more about how and when to get help.

How to talk about suicide

We use the terms “attempt” and “died by suicide” because they help break the stigma around suicide and mental illness. Stigma is the negative associations made about certain:

  • people
  • qualities
  • activities
  • behaviours
  • circumstances

To use the term “commit suicide” is like saying it’s a criminal offence. Suicide isn’t a crime. These types of negative associations can make it harder for:

  • someone to ask for help when they need it
  • survivors to heal after being affected by suicide

Those affected by suicide

Suicide affects more than just one person. It’s a tragedy that affects many people in society, including:

  • peers
  • friends
  • coworkers
  • communities
  • family members

It also affects:

  • coaches
  • teachers
  • spiritual leaders
  • recreational staff
  • community workers
  • mental health professionals
  • health and social service providers
  • and others

It can also affect first responders who contribute to suicide prevention. They may experience increased risk of suicide because of their exposure to trauma on the job. First responders can include:

  • firefighters
  • paramedics
  • police officers
  • military personnel
  • correctional officers
  • other emergency personnel

If you’re struggling with thoughts about suicide or are worried about someone else, you’re not alone.

Learn about when and how to get help.

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