EDITORIAL: Bringing suicide into the light, before it happens

Recent public incidents a reminder for all of us to reach out when people are troubled

This week, our collective Black Press newsrooms have reported on several missing persons incidents that sadly turned out to be suicides.

The fact that missing person reports generate online headlines and reader engagement is a sign that the public is truly interested in those people being found safe and very much alive. When they are not, it’s sad for everyone involved.

Having a person’s decision to end their life thrust into a bright spotlight, with a rallying of public resources and the often viral spread of the missing person notices through social media, is by far the less common scenario.

The societal stigmas attached to either attempting suicide or achieving it, not to mention a generational reluctance to ask for help – people aged 40 and up accounted for 64 per cent of all suicide deaths in Canada in 2009 – lead many who reach this place of desperation to find the most private, solitary way to do so. A Harvard University study found that three-quarters of suicide attempts occur at home, statistics we expect are similar to those in Canada.

After the fact, people tend to lament the loss of years they or others might have had with the person who is gone, which is a fully understandable part of the grieving process. We prefer to think about how those people might have been helped before they chose the ultimate end.

StatsCan figures show 90 per cent of people who commit suicide have a mental or addictive disorder – treatable conditions, but also one that requires choice and hard work on the part of the individual.

It takes courage to reach out for help, but also for friends and family to break the silence and encourage loved ones who appear to be struggling emotionally or mentally to seek help.

Letting people know they’ll be supported in their journey toward good mental health can help break the stigma and avoid the sad stories like those we’ve been telling lately.

If you or a loved on ever feel like you need help, you can call the B.C. Crisis Centre at 1-800-784-2433.

Just Posted

Emerald Gloves boxing brings fights to Langford

Langford’s Matt Daniels dropped weight for debut

U.S. mayor and dying dog’s roadtrip to Victoria goes viral

First vacation in three years came a month after blood cancer diagnosis

Victoria City Council directs staff to proceed with Central Park for new Crystal Pool location

Save-On-Foods Memorial parking lot still up for discussion as a location

Team Canada to hold junior selection camp in Victoria

22 players from camp will make roster for 2019 World Junior Hockey Championship

West Shore RCMP seizes more than $16,000 worth of drugs

Suspected cocaine, pills and cash seized from a Greater Victoria home

VIDEO: Stan Lee leaves posthumous message for his fans

Marvel Comics’ co-creator died on Monday at the age of 95

VIDEO: Protected bighorn sheep killed in B.C. Interior

The sheep are considered a species of concern because of their low population in B.C.

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Missing hikers on Quadra pull search teams from all over the Island

Two women, aged 69 and 70, did not return from what was supposed to be an hour-long walk Wednesday

VIDEO: The definition of a kilogram has officially changed

50-plus countries voted to a ground-breaking overhaul to the international system of measurements

Deer carcasses don’t belong in green bins, says B.C. city

City of Nanaimo issues reminder to residents, saying fur isn’t compostable

Firearms and cocaine seized from Vancouver Island residence

The file remains under investigation and charges are pending.

B.C. couple helping wildfire evacuees in northern California

A planned holiday has turned into a humanitarian effort for a Penticton couple

Dead whale discovered on B.C. shore

The whale was discovered Friday morning near the BC Ferries terminal

Most Read