“Every year, more than 800,000 people die by suicide and up to 25 times as many make a suicide attempt. Behind these statistics are the individual stories of those who have, for many different reasons, questioned the value of their own lives.”
September 10th is a day where we shine a light on a reality faced by far too many people. This September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. The first Suicide Prevention Day took place in 2003 as an International Association for Suicide Prevention initiative. Over the past 15 years, this day has grown into a world-wide day of recognition and awareness.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) approximately 4,000 suicides take place every year in Canada alone. As most suicides stem from deeper mental health issues, mental health should be an ongoing, open topic of conversation. The reality is that at least half of people struggling with a mental illness do not feel comfortable confiding in a friend, coworker or family member. This needs to change.
People need to know they are not alone, and they need to know that institutions care about their mental health. People need to know that it is okay to discuss mental illnesses and that resources are available. This is where you come in.
Take a minute, change a life.
This year’s theme for World Suicide Prevention Day is ‘Take a minute, change a life.’ This theme reflects the idea that there are so many people all around us struggling with mental health, and sometimes what someone really needs is to tell their story to someone who cares. Offering someone support without judgement, creating a safe place where concerns can be shared, and giving sincere encouragement where needed could be the difference between life and death.
If you yourself are struggling with a mental illness, ‘take a minute, change a life’ still applies to you. Take the time to check in with yourself, monitor your mental health, and speak up. Talk to a family member, colleague, or friend about what you’re going through. Taking a minute to acknowledge your reality and address it just might change your life.
At Teamsters 987, we want to see readily available mental health support both in and out of the workplace. Let’s work together to see instances of suicide reduced and stories of healing increased. Let’s all do what we can to take a minute out of our day and change a life.