Red Deer RCMP and Alberta Health Services are bringing attention to mental health with Suicide Prevention Day right around the corner.
This Sunday will mark the annual World Suicide Prevention Day, which aims to reduce stigma and raise awareness among organizations, governments and the public, giving a singular message that suicides are preventable.
“Suicide and mental health are difficult topics to discuss and often carry stigma and shame. Far too often these two things act as barriers and prevent people from getting the help they need and deserve,” Red Deer RCMP said in a media release on Friday.
“Many individuals struggle with mental health on a daily basis. Asking for help or listening to a friend or family member can be difficult when we don’t know what to say or where to turn.”
Red Deer RCMP has two Police and Crisis Teams (PACT) consisting of one officer and a registered psychiatric nurse. PACT is a collaborative project between Red Deer Primary Care Network and Red Deer RCMP. For the last 12 years, PACT has been responding to mental health crisis calls providing initial intervention in Red Deer.
Meanwhile, Alberta Health Services is reminding Albertans to “get help right away” if someone is in immediate risk of suicide. AHS offers the following advice:
- Call 911, a suicide hotline (see telephone numbers below), or the police.
- Stay with the person or ask someone you trust to stay until the crisis has passed.
- Encourage the person to seek professional help.
- Don’t argue with the person (“It’s not as bad as you think”) or challenge the person (“You’re not the type to attempt suicide.”)
- Tell the person you are there to support. Talk about the situation as openly as possible.
“It can be hard to know if someone is thinking about suicide but recognizing the risk factors and warning signs is important,” said AHS.
“People can be more at risk of suicide when they experience barriers accessing social and health services, mental illness, traumatic life events, family violence, or have a diagnosis of a serious physical illness.”
AHS offers the following resources:
- Health Link, 811
- AHS Mental Health Line: 1-877-303-2642
- Kids Help Phone: Visit: kidshelpphone.ca or call 1-800-668-6868
- Hope for Wellness: First Nations & Inuit Populations: Call: 1-855-242-3310 or visit hopeforwellness.ca
- Canada Suicide Prevention Service: call 1-833-456-4566, visit crisisservicescanada.ca, or text 45645.
- National Trans Lifeline: Visit translifeline.org or call 1-877-330-6366.
- Learn more at MyHealth.Alberta.ca
World Suicide Prevention Day was created in 2003 by the International Association for Suicide Prevention in partnership with the World Health Organization.
“Talking about suicide and mental health can be difficult, but it’s one of the most important ways to help reduce stigma. Together, we can help prevent suicide by showing understanding and compassion and by encouraging people experiencing mental health challenges to reach out for support,” said AHS.