A new awareness campaign will give Edmontonians strategies to help prevent suicide in their communities.

'Eleven of us' launched on World Suicide Prevention Day.

The campaign is a part of a larger community plan to prevent suicide in Edmonton.

“I think it’s important to talk about suicide because we didn’t, and we sent the message probably inadvertently, forever really, that it was too shameful," Ward 6 Coun. Scott McKeen said.

According to the campaign, 11 Edmontonians attempt or die by suicide every day. The website offers resources to help people learn the signs and how to help if someone is considering suicide.

“I really believe that this city is coming forward to say, ‘Yeah, 11 is way too many people, and we’re making a commitment to reduce that eleven to zero,'" said Blake Loates, a mental health advocate. "And I think that it’s our duty as a community to all come together and reduce the eleven to zero."

Mark Snaterse, the executive director of addiction and mental health at Alberta Health Services (AHS), explained that there are often warning signs that people miss.

"By making people more aware of the signs of suicide, we may create an opportunity or a connection that allows a person in crisis a moment to rethink their options, to reach out and ask for help," Snaterse said.

Spotting signs

Some of the signs of someone in distress include being depressed, increasing their use of drugs or alcohol, giving away their belongings, talking about death, and withdrawing from friends and family, said Ione Challbord, the executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association in the Edmonton region.

If you think someone you know is thinking about suicide, Challbord suggests you should ask them.

“When you ask the question, it is not going to prompt the behavior, and that’s something people are worried about, and then listen to what the person has to say," Challborn said.

Challborn also said that middle aged men have the highest rate of suicide.

According to AHS, 7,254 Albertans visited the ER for suicide attempts in 2018. Half of those patients were youth. More Albertans die by suicide each year than by motor vehicle collisions.


Support lines are available if you or someone you know needs help:

Health Link – 811

Mental Health Help Line – 1-877-303-2642

ConnecTeen – text 587-333-2724

First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness - 1-855-242-3310