TORONTO, Sept. 6, 2011 /CNW/ - September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day, and Kids Help Phone wants to help parents everywhere to understand
"It's common to assume that if someone close to us is having suicidal
thoughts, that we'll just know it - that it will be obvious," says
Alain Johnson, Clinical Director French Language Services at Kids Help
Phone. "This is a misperception, as is the belief that only those with
pronounced mental health or addictions issues become suicidal. The
reality is that suicidal thinking isn't always easy to spot, and that
people that don't have identified mental health issues can also become
Though suicidal thinking in others is not always obvious, there are some
common warning signs that can indicate whether a child is at risk.
For a parent, knowing that a child is suicidal is incredibly difficult.
In addition to the struggle of knowing their child is suffering,
parents might feel judged or blamed, or at fault for how their child is
feeling. It's important for parents to know that they don't have to go
through this alone.
Kids Help Phone is here to help young people, and our professional
counsellors are also available for media interviews to offer
information and tips for parents.
Why we want to talk about suicide
World Suicide Prevention Day is an annual event, held every September
10, when organizations, governments, and individuals from around the
world work together to raise awareness about suicide prevention.
- Suicide is among the leading causes of death in 15-24 year old
Canadians, second only to accidents.
- As reported by Statistics Canada, suicide is the 10th leading cause of
death in Canada: The number of lives lost to suicide is equivalent to
one large aircraft crashing every month—about 300 people every 30 days.
- Mental illness is increasingly threatening the lives of our children;
Canada's youth suicide rate is the third highest in the industrialized
- 3% of the contacts Kids Help Phone receives are about suicide,
including thoughts of death, plans to die, previous suicide attempt(s)
and loss of another due to suicide.
This year's World Suicide Prevention Day theme is "Preventing Suicide in
Multicultural Societies." Kids Help Phone is committed to culturally
safe and appropriate counselling. Counsellors are trained to provide
sensitive counselling to a diverse youth population, and are also able
to refer clients to culturally-specific services when appropriate.
Through an extensive database of almost 37,000 community and social
services, counsellors can provide callers with all the available
options to help them make their own decisions in keeping with their own
values and culture.
Kids Help Phone is also member of Child Helpline International (CHI).
With members in 134 countries CHI is the global member network of child
helplines, working to protect the rights of children, providing a
platform to communicate, network and share expertise with other child
helplines and policy-makers.
And throughout 2011, Kids Help Phone has also been working to gain a
deeper understanding of the realities Aboriginal youth are facing.
Suicide rates of Aboriginal youth (aged 15 to 24) are eight times
higher than the national rate for females and five times higher than
the national rate for males.
What can parents do?
Talking to a young person about suicide can be difficult.
"Adults can sometimes minimize or invalidate a kid's feelings when they
hear them say something like, 'I just want to die'," Johnson says. "But
then there are kids who won't talk about suicide directly, so sometimes
parents have to read between the lines. That's why it's important to
talk to your kids about suicide."
Kids Help Phone's professional counsellors are available for interviews
to share tips on how to become more attuned to signs that a child in
your life might be struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, and
how to start a discussion with them about these challenging topics.
About Kids Help Phone
Kids Help Phone is Canada's leading youth professional counselling
service, moving kids from distress and isolation to confidence and
competence. Available anytime of the day or night, in English and
French, by phone and by web, it is the go-to resource for kids in
Canada from five to 20 when they need help or trustworthy information
on issues that are difficult to discuss with anyone else. Providing a
service that is free, anonymous and confidential, Kids Help Phone is a
respected charity, vitally dependent on individual donations and
corporate support to remain available to kids looking for help;
sometimes looking for a lifeline.
SOURCE: Kids Help Phone
For further information:
To set up an interview about suicide prevention