In the run-up to World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, the World Health Organization issued its first ever report on suicide prevention.
The statistics are staggering: the world loses 800,000 people per year to suicide. That’s one death by suicide every 40 seconds.
In Canada, the figures are equally disturbing: this year, approximately 4,000 Canadians will die by suicide. And suicide is the number one cause of non-accidental death among young Canadians.
Diagnosable mental health disorders are present in an estimated 90% of deaths by suicide. Given that mental illnesses are as treatable as any physical health issue, society’s failure to significantly reduce the number of these presumably preventable tragedies is simply scandalous.
Where’s the public outcry?
Clearly, the social stigma surrounding mental illness is our generation’s last remaining civil rights battle.
But until Canadians are ready to stand up, be counted and fight for mental health parity in a publicly-funded health care system, far too many more families will be left behind, wondering: why?
Maybe even yours.