Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention

Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention
Canadian Psychiatric Association

Canadian Psychiatric Association
Canadian Mental Health Association

Canadian Mental Health Association
Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health

Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health
Livingworks

Livingworks
Collateral Damage Project

Your Life Counts

Your Life Counts

September 08, 2011 07:30 ET

Suicides of Professional Athletes Highlights Need for National Suicide Prevention Strategy

World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10th Marks Another Tragic Landmark, Close to 4,000 More Deaths by Suicide in Canada and Still No National Strategy to Address This Major Public Health Issue

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwire - Sept. 8, 2011) - The recent death by suicide of a number of professional athletes is a painful reminder that suicide continues to be major public health problem in Canada that affects all walks of life. Success, financial security and popularity do not in and by themselves offer protection from the risk of suicide.

"These most recent tragedies and the quiet suffering of those affected speak loudly about the need for the Government of Canada to pay heed to the call from thousands of Canadians, the United Nations and the World Health Organization to establish a national suicide prevention strategy and national suicide prevention coordinating body as other industrialized countries have already done. " said Tim Wall, Executive Director for the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP). "There is currently nothing in Canada that unifies suicide prevention and no structure in place to promote the sharing of life saving information", Wall added. According to Richard Ramsey of Livingworks, "National strategy and coordinating bodies in other countries have proven to play critical roles in providing much needed support and guidance in the prevention of suicide. Canada needs the same support for hundreds of national organizations such as the National Hockey League and other sport federations concerned about the welfare of their constituents".

Dr. Nizar Ladha, President of the Canadian Psychiatric Association stated "Although we have excellent individual suicide prevention programs, Canada is in the top third of countries with the highest suicide rate. This can change if we tackle this complex problem with a nationally coordinated and multi-faceted approach."

Russ Courtnall, a former NHL player, advisor to the Collateral Damages Project and someone who knows firsthand the tragedy of suicide believes that "suicide prevention and mental health promotion are important and pressing issues among professional athletes. Both professional and amateur sporting organizations, including the NHL, can play an important role in suicide prevention. It also requires leadership on a national level and from the national government."

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. On that day communities across Canada will take time to remember those who have died by suicide, support and acknowledge those who grieve and promote suicide awareness and local suicide prevention initiatives. The theme for this year's World Suicide Prevention Day in Canada is "Building Suicide Safer Communities" which is a new national initiative being launched by Livingworks and the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention along with other partners such as the Canadian Mental Health Association and Collateral Damages. For more information on this initiative visit www.suicidesafercommunities.com. Dammy Damstrom Albach, President of CASP stated that "While communities, service organizations and provincial and territorial governments across Canada are doing their part for suicide prevention it is time for the Government of Canada to do theirs and share the burden of responsibility." She went on to state that" Leading up to and after Sept. 10th we hope that Canadians will contact their Member of Parliament and ask them to demonstrate their concern and compassion by supporting the call for a National Suicide Prevention Strategy and National Suicide Prevention Coordinating Body."

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