September 10, 2019
A new public awareness and education campaign, “11 of Us”, was launched today by the City of Edmonton and its partners as part of a community plan to reduce suicide in the city.
The campaign’s name is taken from the number of Edmontonians who attempt or die by suicide everyday. Its goal is to help people identify the signs of suicide and to learn how to prevent someone in crisis from taking their life.
“As people, we share common connections with one another. We share in the responsibility to reduce barriers and be there for those in need,” said Councillor Scott McKeen. “What’s needed next is a shift; for everyone to understand and reject the shame and stigma surrounding mental illness. Let’s treat it appropriately, as just part of the human condition.”
In March 2018, City Council approved “
Living Hope: A Community Plan to Prevent Suicide in Edmonton
”. The City of Edmonton, Alberta Health Services (AHS), Canadian Mental Health Association and United Way of the Alberta Capital Region are working with community groups in implementing the plan. It calls for a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention by building on and coordinating work already underway.
“Suicide can seem sudden but often there are warning signs that friends and families recognize after the fact. Suicide and suicide ideation are more common than you would want to believe,” said Mark Snaterse, Executive Director of Addiction and Mental Health, AHS. “By making more people aware of the signs of suicide, we may create an opportunity or a connection that allows a person in crisis a moment to rethink their options, to reach out and ask for help.”
Signs of suicide include mood swings, isolation and withdrawal, increased alcohol and/or drug use, and anger, anxiety or agitation.
“‘11 Of Us’ is a call for all Edmontonians to recognize they can have role in preventing suicide in their community,” said Ione Challborn, Executive Director, Canadian Mental Health Association - Edmonton Region. “Taking time to learn the signs and understand when appropriate to act can directly impact those they may be concerned about.”
Blake Loates, a local mental health advocate and photographer, recounted her mental health journey of over 20 years at today’s launch. She shared her experience and struggles as both a patient and former psychiatric nurse. Loates was also the principal photographer for the Living Hope plan.
Resources for anyone in crisis or who is considering suicide include the Canadian Mental Health Association’s 24-hour Distress Line
780-482-HELP (4357) and Access 24/7, the Alberta Heath Services facility that provides a range of urgent and non-urgent addiction and mental health services. For social, health, and government services,
211 is a 24-hour information and referral line.
The City proclaimed today World Suicide Prevention Day in Edmonton.