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Saving lives

Elmira Independent Editorial

There is some hope that Kitchener-Conestoga MP Harold Albrecht’s new legislation, Bill C-300, will do much to save lives.

The legislation, which received royal assent last Friday, will establish a national framework to provide support to agencies battling a national scourge — suicide.

It’s a topic that no many of us would like to think about, and certainly, when someone takes his or her own life, the tragedy is often veiled in a layer of secrecy.

Albrecht’s legislation, which will require the federal government to establish a means of sharing best practices in suicide prevention, will also serve a much more important purpose — it will raise awareness of the topic of suicide, and suicide prevention.

That’s no small thing.

For it is when we talk about issues that they can actually be addressed.

We all know the principle behind programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous — first, we have to admit we have a problem.

Well, in Canada, we do have a problem. There are approximately 4,000 suicides in Canada a year — or 10 a day. Those are the successful suicides. There are many more who attempt to kill themselves, many more living lives that seem devoid of all hope.

Even more troubling is how many young people are taking their lives. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, suicide accounts for 24 per cent of all deaths among 15 to 24 year-olds.

This should not be.

While we know that the reasons that individuals have for taking their own lives are complex, we also know this — more can be done.

More resources need to be channeled towards all mental health issues, finding the money and support needed to address the complex issues of addiction, depression, anxiety, as well as mental health disorders.

Support is also needed for those who have suffered devastating losses, such as the loss of a spouse or a child, or a parent or friend.

Most of all, we need to talk about the spectre of suicide, and find ways to bring hope to those who feel they need to, in the words of Albrecht, choose “a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

This is the beginning of a very worthwhile dialog on suicide, as well as mental health issues, and how to provide more resources to those who are struggling with more than they can bear.

We commend Albrecht for beginning the work, for starting the discussion.

Now it is up to the rest of us to continue it.

SUICIDE PREVENTION

For information on suicide prevention, as well as the warning signs, visit the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council website, at www.wrspc.ca.

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