In an effort to promote understanding and challenge the stigma surrounding mental illness, the Government of Saskatchewan recognizes September 10 as World Suicide Prevention Day.
“The loss to suicide of a family member, friend or colleague is a tragedy that deeply affects the whole community,” said Minister of Mental Health and Health, Tim McLeod, in a statement.
“Mental health and suicide prevention remain top priorities for our government. »
The release says that this year, Saskatchewan is investing a record $518 million in mental health and addictions services, including $2.25 million specifically for suicide prevention initiatives.
“The Department of Health has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to find an organization to develop and manage a provincial suicide postvention program,” the statement said. “The name of the successful proponent is expected to be announced this fall. »
Danielle Cameron, acting director of the Hope Learning Centre, said one of the main issues Saskatchewanians face when navigating the current system is communication.
“I just don’t know what resources are available,” Cameron said. “There are a lot of really wonderful resources out there that we don’t necessarily know about.”
The Hope Learning Center is a non-profit organization that is part of the Canadian Mental Health Association in Saskatchewan. The center offers suicide intervention training and also offers safe conversation programs.
“Safe to speak (is) just knowing the signs and symptoms of someone having suicidal thoughts and…navigating the different organizations with the different aids that we have,” Cameron said. “Being able to keep them safe for now and then find someone, whether it’s a professional or even someone trained to help them.”
According to the Saskatchewan Coroner’s Office, 2018 was the province’s worst year for suicides, with 241 cases. In 2023, there are 76 cases.
The province announced that work is underway to implement “988”, a national suicide emergency number to be launched later this year.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In an emergency, please call 911 for immediate a*sistance.
For a directory of support services in your area, visit the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention at suicideprevention.ca.
Learn more about suicide prevention with these warning signs and tips to help you.
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