Need help now?
If you or someone you know is in crisis now, please call 911 or your local crisis line.
What is suicide?
Suicide is when someone ends their life on purpose. Most people who attempt or die by suicide don’t truly want to—instead, they see no other solution to the problems, difficult situations or painful emotions they are experiencing. They may feel overwhelmed, hopeless, helpless, desperate, trapped and alone, and may believe that these feelings will never end and that suicide is their only option.
Who is most at risk?
- The most at-risk group for suicide is men in their 40s and 50s, and men over the age of 80 have the highest rate of suicide.
- While women are three to four times more likely to attempt suicide than men, men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women. Men tend to use more immediately lethal means and are much less likely to reach out for help. However, any suicidal behaviour, whether lethal or not, originates in suffering and results in trauma.
- Suicide is the second-most common cause of death among young people.
- First Nations, Inuit and LGBT people have higher rates of suicide-related behaviours.
- Up to 90% of people who take their own lives are believed to have substance use problems or a mental illness such as depression or anxiety—whether diagnosed or not—at the time of their suicide.
What are some known risk factors for suicide?
- Having attempted suicide before
- A family history of suicidal behaviour
- A serious physical or mental illness
- Problems with drugs or alcohol
- A major loss, such as the death of a loved one, unemployment, or divorce
- Major life changes or transitions, like those experienced by teenagers and seniors
- Social isolation or lack of a support network
- Family violence
- Access to the means of suicide
What can I do to prevent suicide?
The majority of suicides are preventable, and very few of them happen without warning. There are several things you can do to help prevent a suicide:
- Learn the signs that someone might be considering suicide
- Learn how to ask someone if you think they might be considering suicide
- Learn how to connect a person at risk of suicide to life-saving community supports and resources