The 33rd annual Suicide Prevention Week will take place from February 5th to 11th. Held under the theme ʺPrevention is Better than Deathʺ, the campaign seeks to promote dialogue and sharing in order to save lives and support people who are potentially at risk.  

Suicide impacts numerous people everywhere in the world, making it a major public health problem. In Canada, approximately 4500 people die by suicide every year[1], which is equivalent to 12 people every day. The causes of suicide are varied and complex. They include stress, depression, anxiety, mental health disorders, solitude, isolation, drug addiction, alcoholism, and many more.

With its 33rd annual Suicide Prevention Week, the Québec Suicide Prevention Association (AQPS) hopes to raise awareness about ways of preventing suicide and supporting people who are directly or indirectly affected by it.

ʺSuicide prevention concerns us all and we can prevent these deaths, which are avoidableʺ, emphasizes AQPS President and CEO Jérôme Gaudreault.

The campaign highlights the importance of ʺdaringʺ to speak about suicide and encourages people to talk about it even if it’s hard, even if they’re ashamed or afraid others will judge them. ʺSuicide prevention concerns us all and we can prevent these deaths, which are avoidableʺ, emphasizes AQPS president and CEO Jérôme Gaudreault,.

The AQPS’s daretotalkaboutsuicide.com website provides tools for people who feel the need to talk about suicide. An entire section of the website focuses on ways of broaching the subject with those close to you. Another section features a walkthrough of a conversation on suicide to help you assess if you’re ready to initiate a conversation on the subject. The AQPS invites the general public, suicide prevention organizations, mental health centers and various community organizations to support the cause by sharing the hashtag #DareToTalkAboutSuicide on social networks in order to send a clear message that suicide is not inevitable. Together, we can save lives.

Means of preventing suicide

It’s important to emphasize that the prevention of suicide isn’t restricted to mental health professionals. Each and every one of us can help by paying attention to signs of distress in those close to us and by encouraging them to seek appropriate help.

Here’s what you can do to help someone close to you:

  1. Be a good listener: Feeling heard and supported can really make a difference. Give your friend or family member the opportunity to speak freely and openly about their distress. Listen without judging or attempting to minimize their problems. Your role is to be there for them and to let them speak freely about what is spurring them to consider taking their own life.
  2. Break the taboo: Encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings about suicide. Overcome the taboos surrounding suicide by discussing the subject openly.
  3. Don’t minimize the situation: Suicide is not a subject to be taken lightly. Don’t minimize the distress felt by your friend or family member.
  4. Encourage social connections and support networks. Isolation can exacerbate suicidal thoughts and mental health issues. Encourage your friend or family member to maintain a rich and active social life. This can include recreational activities, outings with friends, getting involved in community groups, and so on. By encouraging them to stay connected and socially involved, you can help improve their mental health and lessen suicidal thoughts.
  5. Help them get professional support: Some people choose to take drugs in an attempt to escape reality and suppress suicidal thoughts. But substance abuse can cause profound distress in some people and lead to suicidal thoughts. “If cannabis use had no longer satisfied me, I would have considered harder drugs or suicide. I was my own worse enemy and positive thinking wasn’t a reflex for meʺ, states a former resident of Portage Atlantic (Cassidy Lake). Their testimonial highlights how drug use can shatter a person’s life and how it actually aggravates their problem or results in regrettable consequences.

If someone close to you is going through a crisis or thinking about suicide, it’s important to act quickly and get help. Contact Suicide Action Montréal (SAM) right away at 1.833.456.4566.


If you’re looking to support someone to help them manage their substance use, contact the Portage admissions service directly at 514 939-7700 or info@portage.ca.

We’ll be happy to answer your questions and concerns regarding Portage’s drug addiction rehabilitation programs.

[1] Statistics Canada. Canadian Vital Statistics – Death Database (CVSD).




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