Canada: The Country That Doesn’t Care

The Toronto Star published an interesting article this morning highlighting the EXTREME shortfalls that our system has when it comes to mental health and suicide prevention. Some highlights:

  • Stigma is a big, big influencer here. You are not going to come under pressure to fund something if nobody’s talking about it.” -Former Ontario health minister George Smitherman.
  • The lack of awareness is likely linked to an “emotional disease index” that sways government decision-making and drives public funding. Childhood cancer would rank highly on the index; suicide would not.
  • Every year about 4,000 people on average commit suicide in Canada, making it the ninth-leading cause of death in the country, according to Statistics Canada. (As compared to 2011 deaths rates: 2,158 in car accidents, 527 by homicide, 303 by HIV, 482 from influenza and 253 from drowning.)
  • Canada is one of only a few countries in the western world that does not have a national suicide-prevention campaign.
  • The total cost of suicide and self harm in Canada is estimated to be $2.4 billion a year in lost economic productivity of the dead and mental health programs for the grieving families left behind, according to a report by SmartRisk, a national injury-prevention group.

4000 people kill themselves every year in Canada. That’s a life taken every 2 hours. Can we let that sink in for a moment?

Now can we talk about the fact that no one seems to give a damn that this is happening? No one is talking about it. And the government could not care less. Seriously, someone should be calling a human rights violation here.