Suicide Information and Prevention

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Suicide Information and Prevention in Canada

In Canada, 4000 people die by suicide each year, and 10 deaths occur each day. In fact, this is the 9th cause of death after conditions such as diabetes, unintentional injuries, respiratory disease, stroke, heart disease, and cancer.

Statistics by Age Group

Among seniors, males over the age of 85 are at the highest risk, and senior males are more likely to commit suicide than females. They account for 80 percent. The same is true for adults 45 to 64 years of age. The group of males makes for 73 percent. The rate is similar for young adults 30 to 44 years of age – 75 percent. This is the second cause of death in this age group. In the group of youth and children 10 to 19 years old, females account for 59 percent. In all age groups, females are more prone to self-inflicted injuries that result in hospitalization. In fact, in just 6 years between 2000 and 2006, the suicide rate among females in Canada increased dramatically. 1,136 women and 3,269 men took their lives in 2015. One possible reason for suicide among women is mental health problems. Rates of poverty are also higher among women, especially single mothers. More women become victims of family violence than men. They also experience higher level of stress which is associated with serious conditions such as depression.

People at risk are also those who are more prone to impulsive behavior and violent outbursts and people who are unemployed, lack skills, or are unmarried. Persons with a history of emotional and physical abuse and those with a family history of suicide are also at a higher risk.

Statistics by Region

The rate is the highest in Nunavut /71 per 100,000 people/, followed by the Northwest Territories /18.66/, Yukon /15.30/, and Quebec /15.20/. The lowest rates are in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and British Columbia.

Aboriginal People in Canada

The rates are significantly higher among Aboriginal people compared to the general population. In fact, the rates are up to 7 times higher among young indigenous people compared to the non-indigenous cohort. Again, males are more likely to take their lives than females. The main reasons are cultural stress, higher levels of poverty, and biological and psychological factors. Risk factors include high levels of stress, depression, and feelings of loneliness and sadness, hopelessness, and changes in alcohol consumption. Factors that are associated with lower rates include fire and police services, access to cultural facilities and healthcare services, access to education, and land claims and self-government.


The main methods of suicide include use of explosives and firearms, especially among men, jumping, gases, and poisoning. Some 40 percent of women choose poisoning. Hanging accounts for 20 percent of suicides for both sexes.


Prevention is the key, and recognizing signs of suicidal behavior is very important. Warning signs include changes in appearance, loss of appetite, withdrawal, difficultly sleeping, and feelings of hopelessness. Reckless and self-harmful behaviors are also warning signs, including unsafe sex, excessive drinking, and drug abuse. Many people also make preparations before they end their lives. They will tidy up their place and visit relatives, friends, and colleagues. Some write a note while others leave a will. Support from family members and friends is very important in preventing suicide. Talk to them and ask them to give any medications or weapons that they have. It is important to take it very seriously when someone is threatening suicide. Call 911 if unsure what to do or take them to the nearest emergency room or call

Financial difficulties and suicide prevention

Suicide is a tragic event for family and friends and a serious problem that has social, economic, and emotional repercussions. Prevention is very important and involves the collective efforts of family members, support groups, healthcare professionals, and citizen organizations. Recognizing warning signs is the key to prevention and risk assessment.

Warning Signs

People who think of ending their lives often talk about having no purpose in life and feeling hopeless, sad, or lonely. They can be reckless, agitated, and in a state of nerves. Other warning signs include mood swings, feeling desperate, showing despair, and excessive drug and alcohol use.

Persons at Risk

Some people are at a higher risk of committing suicide, including those with a history of abuse and emotional trauma and persons with serious physical or mental illness. People with addictions and with serious financial difficulties and legal problems are also at risk. Persons at a higher risk are also those who have experienced major loss such as loss of job, unemployment, or loss of a family member or partner.

Suicide and Tackling Financial Difficulties

Money problems are a major source of stress, and persons who are in the midst of a financial crisis are twice as likely to consider suicide. Money problems are also associated with chronic and acute stress and health conditions such as insomnia, heart disease, and migraine. People who get stressed over money experience increased blood pressure and heart rate, loss of concentration, memory suppression, slower metabolism, and faster breathing. Chronic stress is a risk factor for serious conditions such as diabetes, sexual dysfunction, digestive disorders, and stroke. It is also associated with sleep problems, skin conditions, and weight gain or loss.

Tackling financial problems and keeping finances under control is the key to stressing less over money, especially for people who consider suicide. The first step is to think of the cause of undue stress, whether it is poor budgeting, low income, high utility bills, medical bills, overtime reduction, or excessive debt. Poor budgeting and money management skills often result in overspending, reckless borrowing, carrying a credit card balance, and falling into a debt spiral. Poor budgeting skills are also associated with missed and late payments, bad credit scores, and having no emergency fund for a rainy day. Finding the root of the problem is the key to solving financial problems - see here:

If excessive debt is a major source of stress, then making regular payments and paying down balances faster are priorities. Low income and unemployment also result in financial problems. The way out of this is to find a job, work overtime, create a budget and stick to it, and cut down on expenses - see here: An unexpected accident or serious illness is often the source of financial difficulties because of lack of income and piling medical bills. In this case, financial assistance may be available through one’s province or territory. Having health insurance and an emergency fund can help a great deal as well. Other sources of financial stress include addictions, retirement, divorce, new baby born, and moving out to live on one’s own. Obviously, addictions result in overspending, poor judgment, and physical and mental conditions. Persons who engage in substance abuse benefit from counseling and professional help and advice. Divorce is often a major source of financial stress as it can be expensive and people often experience a significant drop in income. The solution out of this may be to find a second job and downsize. A new baby born in the family also results in a drop in income and added expenses. Budgeting and cutting down on expenses is the key to staying out of financial trouble. Young people who move out to live on their own often experience money problems because they are used to a better standard of living. Learning how to live within one’s means, downsizing, and avoiding debt can all help avoid financial difficulties - see here: And in the end, ending one’s life is never a solution while money problems can be tackled, whether big or small. Concerted efforts, financial discipline, and a good plan with steps to make will help overcome money issues. Stressing out only makes things worse.