There is Help

Don't keep it in,

          Tell someone

1-800-SUICIDE (in BC)

Some Facts & Myths

1. Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.

  • Talking about suicide does not create or increase risk. The best way to identify the intention of suicide is to ask directly.
  • Open talk and genuine concern is a source of release, and one of the key elements in preventing the immediate risk of suicide.

2. A person who attempts suicide is only looking for attention.

  • For some, these behaviors are serious invitations to others to help them live. If help is not available, they may feel it will never come.
  • Ignoring suicidal thoughts or actions can be dangerous.
  • Help with problems and help in finding others to show need is more likely to be effective in reducing suicidal behaviors.

3. Those who attempted suicide in the past won't try it again.

  • 4 out of 5 people who have died by suicide have made at least one previous attempt. 

4. Most suicides are caused by one sudden traumatic event.

  • A sudden traumatic event may hasten a decision to suicide, but most often many feelings and events have occured for a long time.

5. A suicidal person clearly wants to die.

  • What they want most often is a way to handle circumstances in their life that are difficult and impossible to bear. Escape from the pain of these events may be their intention.
  • They may not actually want to carry through with suicide, but instead, desire to avoid life in its present form.

6. Suicide is generally carried out without warning.

  • 30% of suicides have been preceded with warning signs.

7. Males have the highest rate of suicidal behavior in North America.

  • Males die by suicide approximately 4 times more often than females, yet females attempt suicide approximately 4 times more often than males. Therefore, females have the highest RATE of suicidal behavior.

What things can contribute to someone feeling suicidal?

People can usually deal with isolated stressful or traumatic events and experiences reasonably well, but when there is an accumulation of such events over an extended period of time, normal coping strategies can be pushed to the limit.

The stress or trauma generated by a given event will vary from person to person depending on their background and how they deal with that particular stressor. Some people may find certain events stressful that others would see as a positive experience. Furthermore, individuals deal with stress and trauma in different ways; the presence of multiple risk factors does not necessarily imply that a person will become suicidal. For this reason, it is important to treat people as the individuals they are.

However, it is important to be aware of the Warning Signs of Suicide (presented by the American Association of Suicidology):


I           Ideation

S          Substance Abuse

            P         Purposelessness

           A          Anxiety

           T          Trapped

           H         Hopelessness

                      W        Withdrawal

                      A         Anger

                      R         Recklessness

                      M        Mood Changes


The presence of one or more of these warning signs is not a guarantee that a person is suicidal. The only way to know for sure is to ask him or her. It is not about the events that occur, but rather about a person’s reaction to the event that might bring a person to thoughts of suicide.

Why is it so important to talk about suicide?

Suicide has traditionally been a taboo topic in western society, which has led to further alienation and only made the problem worse. We could go a long way to reducing the suicide rate by removing the social stigma associated with suicide, and by telling people that it is okay to feel the way they do. Giving people permission to talk about how they feel will help reduce their feelings of isolation and distress. As they begin to see other options, the immediate risk of suicide often decreases.

What can I do if I’m concerned about someone?

There are usually people that a person at risk can turn to for help – if you know someone is feeling suicidal, or feel suicidal yourself, seek out people who could help, for example, by dialing the PIN Crisis Line at 1-888-353-CARE (1-888-353-2273) or by calling 1-800-SUICIDE.

People at risk for suicide, like all of us, need love, understanding and acceptance. Asking about suicide gives persons at risk permission to feel the way they do, which in turn, reduces their isolation. If they are feeling suicidal, they may see that someone else is beginning to have an understanding of how they feel.

If someone you know tells you that they feel suicidal, above all, listen to them. Then listen some more. Tell them, “I don’t want you to die.” Try to make yourself available to hear what they are feeling.

Enquire about the plan. Planning a suicide is similar to planning a trip – a well thought-out plan usually indicates a higher risk. Ask the person at risk if she or he would be willing to let you disable the plan by taking away any weapons or medications until further help and supports are in place.

Try to contract a safeplan. Establish a plan with the persons at risk indicating what they can do to stay safe. Ask them to promise that they will stay safe – that if they feel like suicide again, they won’t do anything until they can contact either you, or someone else that can support them. Take them seriously, and refer them to 1-888-353-CARE or 1-800-SUICIDE, both of those numbers are available 24 hours/day.

Ask if they have had prior suicidal behaviour. People with previous attempts are more likely to attempt suicide again. Knowing there have been prior attempts will help you better assess the severity of the situation.

If they will not promise to stay safe, you cannot disable the plan, you suspect they may have already taken something, or they appear to be at high risk and won’t talk, the next course of action is to get them to a hospital’s emergency department.

Do not try to “rescue” them or to take their responsibilities upon yourself. Do not attempt heroics by handling the situation on your own. You can be most helpful by referring them to others equipped to offer them the help they need, while you continue to support them. Remember that what happens is ultimately their responsibility. Get yourself some support, too, as you try to get support for them. Do not carry the weight of the world on your shoulders.

How do Crisis Lines work?

Different services vary in what they offer, but in general you can call and speak anonymously to a crisis line worker about problems or issues in a non-threatening non-judgmental way. Talking the situation over with a caring, independent person can be of great assistance whether you’re in a crisis yourself or worried about someone else who is.

Our 24-hour crisis lines work in partnership with Mental Health and Addiction Services and their crisis teams. Our Crisis Line Workers can connect callers to these professionals if further help is required. You do not have to wait until the deepest point of crisis or until you have a life-threatening problem before you seek help. We also have access to a resource database.

People In Need (PIN) Crisis Line: 24-hour telephone service to talk over any concern, including suicide. You may also call to get more information on resources throughout the North Okanagan. It is a confidential service.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please reach out and talk to someone.
Call the Crisis Line. We care and we want to listen.