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Why We Need to Talk About Suicide Prevention

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Culture & Entertainment

Why We Need to Talk About Suicide Prevention

iStock_000015471849SmallToday I listened to a young man named Michael Moriyama talk candidly about his struggle with depression. By all accounts Michael is the type of child every parent hopes for. Smart, articulate, a leader, a good friend and sibling. A model kid. His depression started slowly, spurred on by anxiety about his final year of high school. He lost his appetite, his concentration, his smile. He was holding on by a thread. He considered suicide. When it all got too much he told his best friend how he was feeling. The next day Michael sought help. That conversation with his friend may have saved his life. "Depression does not discriminate," Michael told the crowd. No it does not. Which is why we need to talk about it. Our kids need to know we can talk about any depression they are experiencing, openly, without judgement. Our kids need to know that they can talk to us if they are concerned about their friends who are showing signs of depression. On World Suicide Prevention Day (Sept. 10), Facebook Canada and Kids Help Phone announced the launch of Help a Friend in Need. The resource, created in partnership with The Jed Foundation and The Clinton Foundation is aimed at youth that provides practical tips to help a friend who might be in emotional distress. It is available for viewing or download at Facebook.com/safety. Among the tips for youth (or anyone really) are: • Trust your instincts. If you see someone posting messages, photos videos or links that suggest the person is in emotional distress, you should reach out and assist them to get the help they may need. Posts about insomnia, showing hostility out of character, feeling alone and even repeated use of negative emoticons may be a signal someone needs help. • Never be afraid to give your friend a call, pay a visit or send them a message to let them know you are concerned and offer to help connect them with any extra support needed. • No matter what, you shouldn't be embarrassed or worried about offending or upsetting your friend. Helping your friend may take some courage, but it always worth the effort to support their health and safety. It can be hard, particularly online, to know if someone is exaggerating or being sarcastic, but warning signs that someone may need urgent help include posts about: • Talking about suicide or wanting to die. • Intense shame or guilt • Saying goodbyes, giving away possessions • Glorifying death or making it seem heroic If someone is threatening their own life or someone else's, it is an emergency. Call 911 or bring your friend to the ER or if safe to do so, stay with that person or do what you can do to contact them. For help or more information, you can use these national services any time. Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 kidshelpphone.ca or Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention suicideprevention.ca to find a crisis centre close to you. Photo of courtesy of iStock
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Why We Need to Talk About Suicide Prevention

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