Preventing Suicide

Suicide is consistently a leading cause of death among Albertans ages 30-69, claiming more lives than motor vehicle collisions each year. More than 500 people die by suicide every year in Alberta.  In addition, there are close to 6,000 emergency department visits and close to 2,000 hospitalizations every year for self-inflicted injuries.

People who consider suicide do so because they are in deep emotional pain and want that pain to end. Suicidal people are impaired in their thinking and require assistance to find other options to deal with their pain. Often warning signs or invitations to help are displayed.

The aftermath of a suicide can be particularly devastating for those left behind - the survivors. Survivors include family and friends, co-workers, team and school mates, treating clinicians and possibly fellow patients. The trauma of suicide puts survivors at an increased risk for physical illness, anxiety and depression, substance abuse, family and work disruption.

Go to suicide prevention and surviving the suicide of a loved one for warning signs of suicide, a strategy for what you can do to help, and to see how smart risk applies in the prevention of suicide.

Suicide is an issue that many are reluctant to address. Getting people to talk about suicide is the first step in prevention:   What's in a Word? The Language of Suicide.

Best and Promising Practices in Suicide Bereavement Support Services - A Review of the Literature is a review to synthesize what is currently known about suicide bereavement and suicide bereavement support, and the best and promising practices in suicide bereavement support and evaluation approaches. This literature review is a key component of the planning and implementation of the Active Postvention Initiative.

Implementation Initiatives for Middle-aged Males

Middle aged males are an identified group at risk of suicide in Alberta. As part of the evaluation of the replication of the Men at Risk program from its original site at the Grande Prairie Suicide Prevention Resource Centre to other Alberta communities, the AHS sponsored a review of the literature. Men at Risk literature review topics include risk factors for suicide, mental health and men, help-seeking behaviour in men, workplace wellness, marketing mental health programs to men, suicide prevention programs (current state and recommendations for further development), and relativity to the Men at Risk Program.

World Suicide Prevention Day

World Suicide Prevention Day, held annually on September 10th, is an initiative of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), and is co-sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO estimates that one million people die by suicide in the world each year. More than 400 people in Alberta die by suicide every year. Suicide claims more lives than motor vehicle collisions. In addition, there are close to 6,000 emergency department visits and close to 2,000 hospitalizations every year for self-inflicted injuries.

Each year, the International Association for Suicide Prevention identifies a theme for World Suicide Prevention Day. This provides opportunities to focus public attention on the burden and costs of suicidal behaviours, with diverse activities that promote understanding about suicide, and highlight effective prevention activities.

For further information please refer to the The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) website.

Resources for Clients

Refer clients to for information about priority adult and older adult safety issues, including adult and older adult stress, suicide prevention, and violence prevention.

Web links