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Every person can  help to save a friend’s life, when they talk about ending their life. People respond differently to the statement “Life is not worth living anymore or I want to kill myself!!” Some friends might try to cheer you up and try to show you how to be positive about life. Others might avoid you and start talking about something else. Real help for the depressed and suicidal person, will be to ask more questions, determine exactly what they  think of doing and connect them with   a mental health Professional  to save their lives and restore their mental health.

The prevalence of death by suicide is higher in men than in women in a ratio, 3 men to 1 woman.  Females attempt suicide more often than males. 1 in 25 people in Canada attempt suicide in a lifetime.  Eighty percent of people send out a warning signal for help.  Suicide is the second leading cause of death in British Columbia for young people aged 15 to 24. Worldwide more people die by suicide than from homicide or war. Ninety percent of people who attempted suicide also experienced the presence of a concurrent Psychiatric diagnosis, such as a Mood disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Bi-Polar Disorder, Personality Disorder, Schizophrenia, Alcohol/Substance abuse. A family history of suicide and a past history of suicidal attempts is a strong predictor of a high suicide risk.

With the death of the actor, Robin Williams, we were all shaken and puzzled by his death by suicide. Many people were stunned that a talented Artist, that brought us all so much laughter and pleasure over a lifetime, could end his own life, so suddenly. That shows how slowly and deadly suicide can creep into our midst, without us realizing that one of our loved ones are suffering with a life threatening mental health illness, that can take them away from us.

This presentation provides you with information on how to ask questions to determine when a person’s suicide risk is critical and how to provide help when a suicidal threat is high risk, elevated risk or low risk.  It will provide you with the knowledge on when to take the person to Emergency and when to take the friend to a Psychologist for treatment. Early Intervention for Depression and Suicide is the key to save lives.

 You may download a .pdf copy of Sophia Van Vuuren's presentation on "Take Hands to Fight Suicide" here


Sophia Van Vuuren, M.A., R.Psych., is a Registered Clinical Psychologist.  Sophia is currently offering her services to Children, Adults, Couples and Families at Burnaby Counselling Group. To learn more about Sophia, please visit our BCG Clinical Team page.