Suicide is a complex issue involving numerous factors and should not be attributed to any one single cause. Many people who died by suicide had not been diagnosed with a mental illness.

People who experience suicidal thoughts and feelings are suffering with tremendous emotional pain. People who have died by suicide typically had overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, despair, and helplessness. Suicide is not about a moral weakness or a character flaw. People considering suicide feel as though their pain will never end and that suicide is the only way to stop the suffering.

Many factors and circumstances can contribute to someone's decision to end his/her life. Factors such as loss, addictions, childhood trauma or other forms of trauma, depression, serious physical illness, and major life changes can make some people feel overwhelmed and unable to cope. It is important to remember that it isn't necessarily the nature of the loss or stressor that is as important as the individual's experience of these things feeling unbearable.

Suicide Prevention Line 1-877-435-7170

Suicide is a reality, and is more common than most people think. There are many circumstances that contribute to a person’s decision to end his or her life, but a person’s feelings about those circumstances are more important than the circumstances themselves.

People who consider suicide have an extreme sense of hopelessness, helplessness and desperation. People who talk about suicide or make an attempt do not necessarily want to die, they are often reaching out for help.

If you are concerned that someone may be suicidal, take action.

If possible, talk with the person struggling directly. The most important thing you can do is listen without judgement. Ask whether the person feels desperate enough to consider suicide. If yes, ask, “Do you have a plan? How and where do you intend to kill yourself?”

Make a plan with the person for the next few hours or days. Make contacts with him or her on his or her behalf. If possible, go with the person to get help. You can contact your local Crisis Line.

People at a higher risk to take their life are individuals; with a serious physical or mental illness, who are abusing alcohol or drugs, who are experiencing a major loss, such as the death of a loved one, unemployment or divorce, who are experiencing major changes in life, or who have made previous suicide threats.

Warning Signs

Some warning signs that a person may be suicidal include:

  • repeated expressions of hopelessness, helplessness or desperation
  • behaviour that is out of character
  • signs of depression (sleeplessness, social withdrawal, appetite loss, interest loss)
  • a sudden unexpected change to a cheerful attitude
  • giving away prized possessions to friends and family
  • making a will, taking out insurance, or other preparations for death, such as telling final wishes to someone close
  • making remarks related to death and dying


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