Sept. 4-10 is National Suicide Prevention Week, which is observed annually in Canada and the United States. It is a time to shift the public perception of this stigmatised, and often taboo, topic. By talking about suicide and its effects more openly, we can normalize critical conversations between affected individuals, spread hope and share vital information to those who need it.
Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. In fact, suicide is often the result of an untreated mental health condition. Suicidal thoughts, although common, often indicate more serious issues.
As university students, we are often placed under an immense amount of pressure to succeed. Post-secondary education is a time of major transition, as many students are living away from home for the first time and have less access to secure support from family and friends. University also provides an opportunity for experimentation with certain substances, which can increase mood swings and the risk for suicide for at-risk students. Pressure can mount exponentially as schoolwork, exams, co-op obligations and other responsibilities increase throughout the term.
It is important for students of all ages, whether you are in your first year or fifth, to know that you are not alone in your struggles. Working together to prevent suicide and promote well-being is beneficial for everyone. It takes a lot of courage to come forward and admit that you are struggling. During a difficult time, we sometimes tend to isolate ourselves, but by opening up we can find support. Remember that you are important, even if that’s hard to believe right now. Life has happy moments in store for you.
Whether you have heard a loved one express suicidal thoughts or have seen someone who has withdrawn or is depressed, you can help break the silence by listening with no judgment, contacting the help lines listed below, being present for the person and spending timewith them often, and connecting the individual to services in the community.
Below is a list of resources for anyone who may need them. If you’re having suicidal thoughts, you need to take them seriously. Talking to someone like a friend, family member or counsellor about what you are thinking and experiencing is an important step. Together, you can find the support you need to reduce your distress and find ways to get better.
- If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, call or text 911 immediately.
- UW Counselling Services – 519-888-4567 ext. 32655
- Here 24/7 – 1-844-437-3247
- Health Services – Student Medical Clinic – 519-888-4096
- Grand River Hospital – 519-749-4300
- St. Mary’s Hospital – 519-744-3311
- Good2Talk – 1-866-925-5454
- Crisis Services Canada – 1-833-456-4566 or by text 45645
- Mates – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Trans Lifeline: Provides trans peer support. Run by and for trans people. Call: 1-877-330-6366. Website: https://translifeline.org
- Hope for Wellness Help Line | Canada-Wide: First Nations, Métis & Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line, available 24/7: 1-855-242-3310 or the online chat at hopeforwellness.ca
- National Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line | Canada-Wide: Available 24-hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of his or her Residential school experience: 1-866-925-4419