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Suicide Prevention Programs

Just this past weekend the Globe and Mail published an article, Ten years after rock star’s suicide, prevention programs show results, about the growing rate of suicide prevention programs in Quebec.  One of the contributors for this extraordinary increase in services is the suicide of the lead singer (Andre Fortin) of the popular Quebec band Les Colocs, 10 years ago.  Once a taboo topic in Quebec, Fortin put a face on the issue in which they were too scared to face.

Although Quebec has increased its number of suicide prevention services from 5 to 33 in the past decade, there is still a gap in helping people who are reaching out.  According to the Center of Suicide Prevention there are an estimated 218 suicide prevention services across Canada.  Now does that seem substantial, considering we have approximately 34 million people living here, and with a 400% increase in suicide rates in the past 30 years do Canadians have the resources they need to get help? 

I don’t think so.  Many youth that are seeking help don’t know where to go.  A teacher or a guidance counsellor may just hand them a list of services which MAY help.  But what about the time in which they are waiting for appointments or the limited number of appointments that are available even once you are seen by someone?  Many free counselling services only provide 8 to 12 hours of counselling.  And if you cannot wait the few months to speak to someone you can always dish out a couple hundred dollars of your hard earned money to speak to someone, if you have it.  On average, the cost per hour to see a therapist is $140 or $560 monthly. Who can afford that? Definitely not the 1 in 5 young people that need the help. So your two options are wait or pay. 

We should not be closing doors to people who are seeking help but rather be opening more doors and options for them.