NORTH VANCOUVER (September 10, 2019) – Jane Thornthwaite, BC Liberal MLA for North Vancouver-Seymour and critic for Mental Health and Addictions, issued the following statement to mark International Suicide Awareness Day:
“Today, on International Suicide Awareness Day, we pause to remember the lives lost to suicide. It’s challenging to find anyone who has not been affected by mental illness either directly or indirectly. It has no boundaries and can affect any family and any workplace. We stand together to say to those struggling that we are here for them as we pledge to erase the stigma of mental illness.
“Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds. In Canada, it is estimated that 11 people end their life each day and 210 more make a suicide attempt. It is key that we not only work towards ending the stigma surrounding mental illness, but also actively work to ensure wraparound supports for those currently struggling.
“As part of this year’s theme of ‘Working Together to Prevent Suicide’, today I ask British Columbians to start a conversation on mental health to support each other in eliminating the stigma. Any action, big or small, can have an impact and make a meaningful difference.
“We must pay closer attention to how our youth are struggling, noticing additional stresses they experience at school, at work and within their families. It is critical to acknowledge the early signs of anxiety and depression; and schools can play a critical role in identifying and referring children for help. Mental health literacy must be included in B.C.’s curriculum, and the mental health and addictions system needs to be easier to navigate, with treatment available on demand for all ages.
“Those struggling with mental illness need to know that there is hope and help available. Together, we all have a role to play to reduce the stigma and to support each other.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health or suicidal thoughts, help is available at https://crisiscentre.bc.ca/ or 1-800-SUICIDE.