On a late April day in 2009, our world completely fell apart. We were no longer an ordinary family of five. We had instantly become survivors of suicide. For the first time in my life I came close to experiencing the misery and emptiness of depression. The world that my son had inhabited was now in view.
We Need To Talk About It
Suicide never leaves behind a simple narrative. Depression and diseases of the brain arise from a complexity of factors that are often misunderstood. The common thread in suicide is an overarching sense of hopelessness and an inability to see past the present moment. In his memoir, Darkness Visible, William Styron writes: “Depression is a disorder of mood; so mysteriously painful and elusive in the way it becomes known to the self. To the mediating intellect, as to verge close to being beyond description.”
- There are roughly 4,000 deaths by suicide in Canada every year.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death in young people, globally.
- Only 25 percent of young people with a mental health problem receive professional help.
- Reaching out for help is difficult, but so important. Depression and other mood disorders can be effectively treated and managed. There is no STIGMA in asking for help. Your life means everything to someone.
What We Need To Know Now
Suicide continues to be the second leading cause of death in 15- to 29-year-olds, globally, with males dying by suicide at higher rates than females. While there has never been greater awareness around mental health, mental illness and suicide, suicide rates continue to rise.
In this context, we can look at the important role of health care providers.
“Research indicates that health care providers need to separate intervening in the acute, transitory suicidal state from other efforts to treat underlying mental health disorders/addictions. In other words -detection and treatment of underlying condition still is necessary but not sufficient to reduce suicides. A person has to be helped to stay alive until treatment works and any deadly impulses abate.”
Dr. L Sederer Dr. Jay Carruthers, How Doctors Think: Suicide Prevention
The Future of Suicide Prevention
Keane’s focus has evolved from anti-stigma to suicide prevention and public policy interest. Keane is campaigning to have the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP)’s National Suicide Prevention Strategy recognized by the Federal Government, and to ensure an increase in funding to support access to treatment and youth suicide prevention centers in all regions of Canada. Supporting health care providers’ mental health and suicide prevention training; mental health education and resources for patients; and that government policy reflects the mental health needs of all Canadians. In small and meaningful interactions every day, Keane works to end the stigma that surrounds mental illness and positively influence young lives.
Youth Mental Health / Survivor of Suicide Loss Resources
Youth Mental Health
Bell Let’s Talk
Canadian Mental Health Association
Mood Disorders Canada
Trillium Health Partners’ Mental Health Urgent Response