It will take a better understanding of why Islanders would choose to end their lives in order to reduce the rate of suicides in the province according to Amanda Brazil of the Canadian Mental Health Association, PEI Division. She was part of a group that worked with the provincial government to develop a suicide prevention strategy for Prince Edward Island.
“Understanding the factors that lead to a suicide is very important. There can sometime be a contagion effect, suicides within a community or a particular group. That pattern can be interrupted but only if we understand the pattern is happening and the factors leading up to it. We really want to see a lot of exchanging information – between services providers, but also among community members.”
Brazil said hope is a key ingredient in suicide prevention. People have to believe the problem can be addressed effectively.
“A lot of what goes into suicide prevention is really the strengthening of mental health services. When people are able to address their health and to get counseling and services they need, it often can mean that person doesn’t end up thinking about or attempting suicide,” she said.
“There are concrete easily visible actions – like the recommendation for safety barriers on the Hillsborough Bridge. But there are other things like training people in the community to watch for signs and to steer people toward help when they may be considering suicide.”
“We think we can save lives by understanding the problem and working together to keep suicides from happening.”