Education & Training
Anyone who interacts with adolescents or adults are invited to learn how they can assess and respond to people at risk for suicide. CMHA-WECB offers workshops and training sessions that aid in the understanding and prevention of suicide.
Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST)
Virtually anyone age 16 or older, regardless of prior experience or training, can become an ASIST-trained caregiver. Developed in 1983 and regularly updated to reflect improvements in knowledge and practice, ASIST is the world’s leading suicide intervention workshop. During the two-day interactive session, participants learn to intervene and help prevent the immediate risk of suicide. Over 1,000,000 people have taken the workshop, and studies have proven that the ASIST method helps reduce suicidal feelings for those at risk.
safeTALK is a half-day workshop that prepares anyone over the age of 15, regardless of prior experience or training, to become a suicide-alert helper. Most people with thoughts of suicide don’t truly want to die, but are struggling with the pain in their lives. Through their words and actions, they invite help to stay alive. safeTALK-trained helpers can recognize these invitations and take action by connecting them with life-saving intervention resources, such as caregivers trained in ASIST.
Dealing openly with the stigma around suicide, this free 90-minute introductory session focuses upon the question “Should we talk about suicide?” By looking at this question in a number of different ways, session members can discover some of the beliefs and ideas about suicide in their communities – and in themselves.
Mentally healthy people in a healthy society.
Awareness and prevention is everyone’s business CMHA-WECB
- Provides information and resources about suicide and suicide prevention to agencies, institutions, the media and the community
- Is working with community partners to develop and implement a suicide prevention strategy for Windsor-Essex County
- Offers training and educational workshops for professional groups and for the general public
What can you do to help a suicidal person?
- Show interest and support; listen
- Have open and frank dialogue, use the word suicide
- Get the individual to professional help; call the crisis line
- Don’t leave the person alone if he/she is not safe
- Do not promise to keep secrets
- Seek out further training and education
Sole Focus Project
CMHA-WECB’s sole focus is mental health. The Sole Focus Project movement is collectively creating a legacy fund to further enhance and distribute mental wellness education, awareness and training in the community. One focus area of the Sole Focus Project is suicide prevention and outreach.
Who is affected by suicide?
About 4,000 Canadians die by suicide every year. Suicide is the second-most common cause of death among young people, but men in their 40s and 50s have the highest rate of suicide. While women are three to four times more likely to attempt suicide than men, men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women.
Suicide is a complicated issue. People who die by suicide or attempt suicide usually feel overwhelmed, hopeless, helpless, desperate, and alone. In some rare cases, people who experience psychosis (losing touch with reality) may hear voices that tell them to end their life.
Many different situations and experiences can lead someone to consider suicide. Known risk factors:
- A previous suicide attempt
- Family history of suicidal behaviour
- A serious physical or mental illness
- Problems with drugs or alcohol
- A major loss, such as the death of a loved one, unemployment, or relationship break-up
- Major life changes or transitions, like those experienced by teenagers or seniors
- Social isolation or lack of a support network
- Family violence
- Access to the means of suicide
While we often think of suicide in relation to depression, anxiety, and substance use problems, any mental illness may increase the risk of suicide. It’s also important to remember that suicide may not be related to any mental illness.
Who is at risk?
People at higher risk of suicide include those who have:
- Made previous suicide attempts
- A serious mental health and/or addiction problem
- Had a recent major loss (for example, the death of a loved one or a job loss)
- A family history of suicide
- A serious physical illness
- Withdrawn from family or friends
- Access to weapons, medications or other lethal means of suicide
What are the warning signs?
Major warning signs of suicide spell IS PATH WARM:
I Ideation: thinking about suicide
S Substance use: problems with drugs or alcohol
P Purposelessness: feeling like there is no purpose in life or reason for living
A Anxiety: feeling intense anxiety or feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope
T Trapped: feeling trapped or feeling like there is no way out of a situation
H Hopelessness or Helplessness: feeling no hope for the future, feeling like things will never get better
W Withdrawal: avoiding family, friends, or activities
A Anger: feeling unreasonable anger
R Recklessness: engaging in risky or harmful activities normally avoided
M Mood change: a significant change in mood
Who can help?
Anyone who encounters someone who is suicidal can help.
- Family members
- Educational and school services
- Co-workers, supervisors and Human Resources personnel
- Religious or spiritual leaders
- Police, EMS, Firefighters
- Doctors, nurses, hospital staff
- Social workers
- Psychologists, psychiatrists
- Crisis Lines
You are not alone. There are many individuals and agencies willing and able to assist you, or someone else, in dealing with depression or thoughts of suicide.
- Regional Children’s Centre (Ages 6-17): 519-257-5215
- Community Crisis Centre (Ages 16+): 519-973-4435
- Distress Centre: 519-256-5000
- Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
- CMHA WECB: 519-255-7440
Do you need more help?
Contact a community organization like the Canadian Mental Health Association to learn more about support and resources in your area.
Founded in 1918, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is the most established, most extensive community mental health organization in Canada. Through a presence in hundreds of neighbourhoods across every province, CMHA provides advocacy and resources that help to prevent mental health problems and illnesses, support recovery and resilience, and enable all Canadians to flourish and thrive.