August 13, 2014 8:36 pm
Updated: August 14, 2014 8:04 am

Spotlight on suicide prevention following Robin Williams’ death


Watch above: identifying the signs of suicide

SASKATOON – In the wake of Robin Williams death, suicide prevention centres have been experiencing higher call volumes as people in need reach out for help so they no longer suffer in silence.

While crisis intervention specialists in Saskatoon say they haven’t seen a spike in calls with Williams’ passing, summer is always steady with call volumes increasing in late July through to September.

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“I think it’s very sad when someone thinks there’s very few choices for solving a problem and that’s the message that we like to give out that there are many options to solve problems and many people who are ready to help,” said Rita Fields, executive director of the Saskatoon Crisis Intervention Service

On average, close to 38 hundred Canadians take their own life every year. Suicide accounts for 24 per cent of of all deaths among 15- to 24-years-old.

There to help, the Saskatoon Crisis Intervention Service receives 20,000 calls a year with officials confirming a large portion of those have someone suicidal on the other end dealing with mental health and addictions issues.

“The overall common denominator is that the pain, the amount of pain that the person is feeling exceeds their ability to cope with that pain,” said Field.

Experts suggest asking the person how they’re feeling and most importantly, listen.

“In that moment of complete distress and pain, they can’t see any other option and that’s why it’s just so important for us to connect with each other as best we can so we’re maybe there in that moment and they can reach out to us.”

Don’t be afraid to ask if someone is thinking about hurting themselves suggests Field, as it won’t put suicide in a person’s head and often gets it out on the table.

“Almost always there is a sense of relief on behalf of the person who’s suffering, that someone understands, someone’s put a name to it and got it out there.”

So how do you know if your loved one needs help?  Here are ten warning signs experts suggest you watch for. Just remember IS PATH WARM.

Has someone you know:

  • Talked about or threatened to hurt or kill themselves, or looked for ways to do it? [I = Ideation]
  • Increased their use of alcohol or other drugs? [S = Substance use]
  • Mentioned having no reason to live or no purpose in life? [P = Purposelessness]
  • Showed increased anxiety and changes in sleep patterns? [A = Anxiety]
  • Talk about feeling trapped, like there’s no way out? [T = Trapped]
  • Expressed feeling hopeless about the future? [H = Hopelessness]
  • Withdrawn from friends, family members or activities they enjoy? [W = Withdrawal]
  • Shown uncontrolled anger or say they want to seek revenge? [A = Anger]
  • Engaged in risky activities, seemingly without thinking? [R = Recklessness]
  • Experienced dramatic changes in their mood? [M = Mood change]

If you feel or think you need help, you can contact Mobile Crisis Service at 1-306-933-6200.


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