Stigma – a major barrier for suicide prevention

9 09 2013

Important information, resources, and event news on this the eve of World Suicide Prevention Day (Tuesday, September 10) from the Suicide Prevention Community Council of Hamilton…Hope

Stigma hurts. It’s that simple. Negative attitudes about individuals who are living with a mental illness or with suicidal ideation or impulses are too common and can be found everywhere. Stigma can prevent or discourage people affected by mental illnesses or suicidal ideation or behaviour from seeking professional help or from returning to their typical social roles after an episode of illness. We each need to do our part to help spread a message of hope and stop the stigma on World Suicide Prevention Day Sept. 10, 2013, co-sponsored by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

“The stigma surrounding suicide and mental illness creates barriers that can make it difficult for people to get the help they need to access care, housing and employment,” says Lea Pollard, chair of the Suicide Prevention Community Council of Hamilton. “The result is that many people with mental illness and suicidal ideation may not seek out help.  The good news is that we can change attitudes and we can eradicate stigma.”

In Hamilton alone, someone dies by suicide every nine days. Globally, people are losing loved ones to suicide every 40 seconds — an estimated 1 million people annually. This exceeds the number of lives lost to homicide and war combined.

On Suicide Prevention Day, the theme of which is Stigma: A Major Barrier for Suicide Prevention, we want your help in spreading a message of hope. Hamilton’s World Suicide Prevention Day discussion wants to know: How do we heal the hurt of stigma?
You can share your message of hope in a number of ways:

Join us for the launch of the Stigma Hurts campaign on Sept. 10 at 9 am at Slainte Irish Gastropub, 33 Bowen St. in Hamilton. Dr. Jennifer Brasch Medical Director of Psychiatric emergency services will help us to understand stigma and suicide; a new information resource

  • developed by the Suicide Prevention Community Council of Hamilton called Stigma Hurts will be launched and greetings from various community partners including Dr. David Higgins, Chief of Staff at St. Joseph’s Healthcare.
  • Get educated.
    • 1 in 5 people in this country experience a mental illness, it touches all of us
    • Mental illness is just that, an illness and it can be treated
  • Change your attitude.
    • Mental illness can affect anyone; it does not discriminate
    • Mental illness affects people, it doesn’t define who we are
  • Do something.
    • Talk to someone about mental illness and suicide to gain insight
    • Attend a safeTALK training so you can be an alert helper
    • Look after your own mental health and teach others to do the same
    • Step up when others are bullying or discriminating against someone with a mental illness
    • Don’t let stigma get in the way of being a friend
  • Use the hashtags #WSPD and #Hamilton to share your messages of hope on Twitter.
  • I Take AimAttend the I Take Aim MusicFest fundraiser, Sept. 10 at 5 pm at Slainte Irish Gastropub, 33 Bowen St. in Hamilton.

The sad reality is that only 1 in 3 people will seek help for symptoms of mental illness because of the fear of stigma. What if that one was someone you loved?

 

Suicide Prevention Community Council of Hamilton

(905) 978 1616

hamiltonsuicideprevention@gmail.com

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