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.