World Suicide Prevention Day – Working together to prevent suicide

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Every year, World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is held on September 10th.  Launched in 2003, World Suicide Prevention Day aims to raise awareness and encourage discussion around suicide prevention, by promoting health-related programs from around the world.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of people around the world die by suicide. In Canada alone, 4157 suicides took place in 2017, according to Statistics Canada. A strong risk factor for suicide is depression. Given the stresses of everyday modern life, anyone can be affected by stress and depression at any time.

This month’s featured LifeSpeak video is: Suicide: Understanding, Prevention, and Intervention by Sally Spencer-Thomas. This is a powerful discussion about suicide, including how to understand it, talk about it, help prevent it, and come to terms with it.

The Department of National Defence (DND) values the mental health and well-being of employees and military members and it provides access to programs, such as the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program (MAP) to provide support during difficult times.

The programs provide a confidential, voluntary and neutral service available to Defence Team members and their immediate family members when dealing with personal or professional issues affecting their well-being.

DND Civilian employees have access to:

  • Referral Agents (RA)s—DND employees trained in Applied Suicide Intervention (ASIST), who provide confidential active-listening skills and resources to employees in need. RAs can be contacted during regular working hours.

Defence Team members have access to:

  • Health Canada – Employee Assistance Services (EAS)—provides short-term professional counselling services. This service is available 24/7, 365 days a year, by calling 1-800-268-7708 or 1-800-567-5803 (hearing impaired)
  • LifeSpeak—a web-based service that offers free confidential access to hundreds of short videos by experts on everyday issues. To access LifeSpeak:
    • Visit lifespeak.com or download the app.
    • Select Canadian Armed Forces or Department of National Defence (Civilian) and input corporate ID: canada.
  • Mental Health Resources:

The 2019 theme for World Suicide Prevention Day is “Working Together to Prevent Suicide,” as stopping even one suicide from occurring takes a collective effort. Together, we can work to prevent the devastating impact of suicide.

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