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.
On this page
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 can include:
- thinking about or considering suicide
- planning suicide
- attempting suicide
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:
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:
- family members
It also affects:
- 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:
- 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.
- Preventing suicide: When and how to help
- Mental health support: Get help
- Centre for Suicide Prevention
- Find a crisis centre: Crisis centres across Canada
- Canadian Coalition for Seniors' Mental Health: Suicide risk and prevention
- Mental Health Commission of Canada: Suicide prevention
- Suicide in Canada: Key statistics (infographic)
- Association québécoise pour la prévention du suicide (available in French only)
- Centre de prévention du suicide de Québec (available in French only)
Resources for professionals
- National Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy
- National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy
- Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention
- First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Framework
- Arctic Council: Sharing Hope: Circumpolar Perspectives on Promising Practices for Promoting Mental Wellness and Resilience
- World Health Organization: LIVE LIFE: An implementation guide for suicide prevention in countries
- Date modified: