The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), in partnership with London Drugs, is on a mission to bring suicide prevention training to communities across western Canada. Suicide prevention training isn’t just for professionals. Suicide prevention is everybody’s business.
The most basic premise of suicide prevention is that if we are thinking about suicide ourselves we need to tell someone, and if we are concerned someone else may be thinking about suicide we need to ask them about it, clearly and directly. If they are indeed thinking about suicide, we need to listen carefully for long enough to acquire some understanding of what they are going through and then based on what we’ve learned help them link with supports and resources to keep safe for now.
But all of us worry, “will they be offended if I ask them?” Experts agree that you will not suddenly open someone up to the possibility of suicide as an option by talking about it, but rather will show them you care enough both to notice they are troubled, and to ask. The intention is to open up a dialogue that can lead to the possibility of help. And if they are offended? You might get something back like “Hey things are bad but they aren’t that bad!’, and you can again respond that the ask comes out of noticing they were troubled, and feeling care and concern for them.
CMHA’s vision of mentally healthy people in a healthy society has every community working to become suicide-safe, with many people equipped to step in and offer help to someone who is struggling. We can all be part of making this change happen — and one place to start is to sign up for a safeTALK workshop where you’ll learn what to look for, what to do and how to help. Visit askaboutsuicide.ca to learn more.
Askaboutsuicide.ca was made possible through the generous support of London Drugs. We are grateful to London Drugs for recognizing that suicide is everybody’s business and that we all have a part to play in creating suicide safer communities.