Prevention is the only solution – #ShineALight on suicide prevention


Suicide doesn’t differentiate by age, economic, social or ethnic boundaries. Psychological trauma, familial and environmental risks, and isolation and disconnection from communities, families, friends and peers all contribute to loss of resilience and mental well being that can result in someone taking their own life.

Those struggling with homelessness, poverty, addictions and poor health from lifestyle health issues (i.e., smoking, drinking, diabetes) are even more at risk. And young people with four or more Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), such as living with an addicted parent, regular mental or physical abuse, neglect and food insecurity, are 12 times more likely to have attempted suicide.

Globally, 800,000 people die each year by suicide – that’s one person every 40 seconds.1

Closer to home, it is estimated that 10 Canadians end their life each day and 200 make a suicide attempt. In Alberta, more than 500 people die by suicide each year. For youth in the province, it is the second leading cause of death.2 Disproportionately, those young people taking their own lives are Indigenous.3

Frightening numbers to be sure. But there is hope.

Health care and non-profit organizations, corporations and the media are working to reduce the stigma of mental illness, compile relevant data and raise public awareness.

At the local level, community agencies such as CUPS are working to improve the well-being of at-risk clients, providing the tools and skills needed to strengthen resilience and help them rise from crisis situations.

The CUPS Shared Care Mental Health Program takes a trauma-informed approach that includes emotionally supportive counselling, psychiatric assessment and follow-up, medication support and prescriptions. Clients can also receive referrals for addictions counselling and other mental health support agencies and programs.

In Alberta, only one in three persons who attempt or die by suicide end up in the health care system, so community agencies must be ready to care for the rest.2 On a yearly basis, the CUPS health facility supports more than 10,000 clients and 35,000 unique visits for those who do not have access to regular medical care, some of whom are at risk for taking their own lives.

Help us help those who need it most by donating to support our innovative services and programs. Working together, we can #ShineALight on mental illness.


#ShineALight on the Numbers

● 1 in 10 Calgarians live in poverty

● 1 in 4 Canadians lives with diabetes, undiagnosed diabetes or prediabetes

● 1 in 5 Canadians experience mental illness or addiction problems each year

● 4 million people in Canada experience food insecurity

● 1 in 8 Canadian households struggle to put food on the table.

● An estimated 45% of the overall homeless population are individuals living with mental illness

● 28 – 34% of shelter users are Indigenous peoples

● 40% of Indigenous children in Canada live in poverty

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