Session offers ways to cope with thoughts of self-harm

You would think that something that is the second leading cause of death among young adults would get our attention, says Annette Dufresne.

“You would think that something that accounts for more loss of life in the world than the total number of deaths from war, acts of terrorism, and homicide combined would be front and centre as an issue that needs to be addressed,” says the clinical supervisor of the Psychological Services & Research Centre. “But many people probably wouldn’t guess that suicide is responsible for such a high loss of life and potential.”

Having suicidal thoughts is not an unusual phenomenon. Data from the Canadian Community Health Survey revealed that 14.7 per cent of Canadians had thought about suicide. Mental health disorders, particularly depression and alcohol abuse, are major risk factors for suicide.

Dr. Dufresne says that suicide prevention is something everyone can be a part of, and helping to destigmatize mental illness and mental health treatment is one important step. February 8 is “Let’s Talk” day.

“Be willing to show your concern and encourage getting help if you know someone who is struggling with mental distress or is talking about having suicidal thoughts,” she says. “It’s a myth that asking someone about suicidal thoughts will give them the idea, so you don’t have to be afraid to ask.”

As part of the efforts at suicide prevention on campus, the Psychological Services & Research Centre is offering a session on Coping with Self-Harm and Suicidal Thoughts on Thursday, February 16, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., as part of its weekly Student Wellness Information Meetings (SWIM). Students can register for this session by calling the centre at 519-973-7012 or sending an e-mail to beautifulmindsgroup@gmailcom.