Suicide is a prevalent issue in Canada. On average, 275 people attempt to commit suicide across the country daily. From every loss to suicide, 7 to 10 people are permanently affected. Within Ethiopia, Eritrea, and their diaspora communities, suicide is a taboo topic that often goes undiscussed. However, these communities are not immune to the issue.

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What is Suicidal Ideation:

         Suicidal ideation, or suicidal thoughts, refers to thinking about or planning suicide. These thoughts can range from creating a plan that is detailed, to having a fleeting thought of consideration. However, suicidal ideation does not include the final act of suicide.


Who is at Risk?

 There are certain segments of the population that have a higher rate of risk of suicide. These groups include:

  Men and boys

  Those who are serving federal sentences

  Those who are survivors of a suicide attempt or those who are survivors of suicide loss

  Some First Nation and Métis communities, especially among youth

  All Inuit regions in Canada


Those who are members of the LGBTQ+ community are at risk of suicide and suicide-related behaviours and exhibit these signs for frequently than their non-LGBTQ+ peers.


Signs to look out for:

There are several signs to look out for when thinking about warning signs that you or a loved one may be exhibiting.

Warning signs include:

  Thinking or talking about suicide

  Having a plan for suicide


However, there are other, less obvious signs that may be exhibited:

  Withdrawal from family, friends, or activities

  Feeling as though you have no purpose in life or there is no reason for living

  Feeling as though you are trapped and there is no way out of a situation

  Feeling hopeless about the future or feeling as though life will never get better

  Increasing the use of substances such as inhalants, alcohol, or drugs

  Talking about being a burden to someone or being in unbearable pain

  Anxiety or drastic mood changes and feelings such as sadness, helplessness and/or anger


How to help someone in a crisis:

There are steps one can take to help a loved one who is dealing with suicidal thoughts or displaying signs that they are considering suicide. You might be asking yourself, “how can I help”. Here are some things you can do, taken from Suicide Prevention Lifeline, to help someone who may be in need:

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  Ask the person if they are considering suicide, this will not increase the risk of them committing according to studies

  Be direct and talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide

  Be willing to listen to the person and allow them to express their feelings freely

  Be non-judgemental and avoid debating or lecturing them while they express their feelings

  Get involved and become available to them

–   Do not be sworn into secrecy about their suicidal thoughts

  Take action by removing harmful items or means such as weapons and pills

  Get help from people or agencies that specialize in crisis intervention and suicide prevention

  Follow up with them once the initial crisis has passed, this has been observed to reduce the risk of a reoccurrence



If in an emergency or crisis, call 911 or visit your local emergency department


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There are also many distress centres and distress lines you can contact for help in the GTA:

Canada Suicide Prevention Service:


Toronto Distress Centres:

416-608-4357 or 408-HELP

Gerstein Centre:


Spectra Helpline:

416-920-0497 or 905-459-7777 for Brampton and  Mississauga residents

Assaulted Women’s Helpline:

416-836-0511; Toll-free: 1-866-863-0511

Kids Help Phone:



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