September 10 was World Suicide Prevention Day. According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), “every year suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages.”

In an attempt to increase suicide awareness and prevention, IASP worked alongside various organizations from around the world to promote World Suicide Prevention Day.

Third Space Foundation, Photo by Andrea Marie Tan
Third Space Foundation, Photo by Andrea Marie Tan

“You can raise awareness about the issue, educate yourself and others about the causes of suicide and warning signs for suicide, show compassion and care for those who are in distress in your community, question the stigma associated with suicide, suicidal behaviour and mental health problems and share your own experiences.”

World Suicide Prevention Day is in its 17th year and continues to extend and evolve further each year. “Last year we had an astounding 217 specific events, taking place globally in 62 countries involving thousands of people from all corners of the world” stated Professor Murad Khan, President of IASP. World Suicide Prevention Day is about bringing together communities, researchers, people with lived experience, and everyone else in society to demonstrate a commitment to reducing suicide and raise awareness.

Health & Wellness Centre, Photo by Andrea Marie Tan
Health & Wellness Centre, Photo by Andrea Marie Tan

The theme for this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day has been labelled “Working Together to Prevent Suicide.” “The most effective ingredient for effective global suicide prevention is teamwork,” stated Khan. Khan also stressed broad participation and a shared commitment to reach common goals.

Along with awareness, having available mental health resources is extremely important. According to the UBC Okanagan website, “Good student health is foundational to student health and wellbeing, which relates directly to curricular and co-curricular education, learning and development and progression towards educational achievement.”

UBCSUO Women's Resource Centre, Photo by Andrea Marie Tan
UBCSUO Women's Resource Centre, Photo by Andrea Marie Tan

There are many resources available for students to promote mental health and wellbeing such as:

UBCO Art Hive, The Student Health Clinic, The Health and Wellness Centre, Third Space Counselling, and The Spiritual Multi Faith Space. For more resources outside UBCO, check out the Health and Wellness resources.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the Canadian Suicide Prevention Service (CSPS), available 24/7, at 1-833-456-4566. For more information on suicide and to find help nearest you, visit the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention.