Suicide Prevention

From my Healthy Living column in Moncton’s Times & Transcript.

Sometimes, the timing for my articles in Whatever works out perfectly, like last week’s did, when an article published about the Region Medical Officer of Health coincided with a boil order issued by the RMOH. Other times, the timing isn’t ideal.

The month of February was suicide prevention month in New Brunswick. Although February 2011 has already gone and past, I nevertheless wanted to touch on the topic of suicide prevention. Suicide is the second leading cause of death throughout the Canada for young people aged 10 to 24.

Fortunately, I have no close family members or friends who have committed suicide, however I’ve always been sensitized to the topic.  My mother once volunteered for a suicide help line for about a year’s time and whenever the topic of suicide and related mental health problems such as depression is broached, she sometimes reminisces on that experience, which was eye-opening for her.

According to Dr. Said Bergheul, a professor of psychology at Université de Moncton, suicide is a major problem in Canada and the Canadian government employs noteworthy efforts to counteract and reverse the climb of suicide that has been experienced over the past decades, in Canada and around the world. The increase in suicide rates is thought to be in part caused by increasingly limited relationships between individuals living in large urban areas.

Durkheim, a sociologist, was the first emit this hypothesis. Durkheim identified different types of suicide from a sociological point of view, but focused on what he called anomic suicide (suicide caused by a disintegration from society), which he believed was the main type of suicide practiced during the Industrial Period.

Suicide often times has neuropsychological roots, which could be aggravated by the society in which an individual lives. In a more integrated society, people with mental disorders are typically better supported, which may help them manage their troubles.

The general approach to reducing suicide rates is to take preventive measures, both in the very early stages by supporting individuals who are mentally well in continuing to be well and by quickly identifying and treating individuals who are likely to attempt suicide acts when these people seek out health care services.

If you or someone you know has been dealing with depression or suicidal thoughts, it is important to seek the help of a health care professional for evaluation.

Dr. Bergheul suggests that perhaps suicide prevention could take a step further by offering more specialized counseling for the family and friends of previous suicide victims, as these people are particularly vulnerable to suicide. Some studies have also suggested that controlling the way suicide is portrayed in the media can be an important part of prevention of suicide in society.

-The Kid’s Help Phone service can be contacted at 1-800-668-6868.à


Originally published in the Times & Transcript on March 12th, 2011.


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