Today, on World Suicide Prevention Day, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) wishes to remind everyone that we are not powerless in the era of COVID-19. While there has been much speculation about the effect of the pandemic on the rate of suicide, such an increase is not inevitable. The actions we take as a country, as communities, and as individuals can reduce the impact of suicide, now and in the future.
As a country, we know that addressing economic concerns, unemployment, and barriers to mental health care are key to mitigating the risk of suicide. The government of Canada has made great strides in these areas with programs like CERB and the Wellness Together Canada portal, which are providing support on an unprecedented scale.
We also know that community support is the cornerstone of our resiliency. With the right protections in place, we can reduce the impact of suicide long after the pandemic. This includes amplifying support for marginalized groups and reinforcing the idea that we’re all in this together.
We’ve seen the power of communities that come together in our Roots of Hope demonstration project, where eight communities have been developing suicide prevention strategies and best practices tailored to their local context. With the new Roots of Hope Early Adopters initiative, several more will have an opportunity to benefit from these earlier findings and build their own action plans.
As individuals, we know that social support is invaluable. So we must do all we can to bring social connection to the fore. If you know someone who’s vulnerable to isolation, like a person who lives alone, an older adult, or a victim of domestic violence, reach out to them. Remind them that you care.
If you or someone you know needs immediate help, contact the local crisis line in your region.
We all have a role to play in preventing suicide. It’s up to us whether we allow the pandemic to discourage our efforts or fuel them.
President and CEO, Mental Health Commission of Canada
Mental Health Commission of Canada
613-683-3748 / firstname.lastname@example.org