Suicide Prevention

Cop Corner, Issue No. 42

According to the Centre for Suicide Prevention in Calgary, the suicide rate in Alberta has been dropping after a steep incline in 2015, and the numbers aren’t small.  In 2015 some 662 Albertans died by their own hand compared to only 460 in 2016.  This is a 31% decline and should be very encouraging for anyone who may have experienced suicide through a loved one or a friend from their inner circle.  There can be little doubt that the weak Provincial economy played a role in this increase and as things improve, the suicide rates have also begun to drop.  Let’s all cross fingers for a lengthy and stable economic recovery.
We sometimes do get calls from people in distress simply reaching out to anyone for a helping hand.  What that happens we’re all smiles, in fact that’s the kind of thing that makes police work such an enjoyable and rewarding experience.  I’ve had two such experiences in my 20+ years of service where I’ve been able to prevent an imminent suicide attempt.  In one case a young woman perplexed by an arranged marriage was preparing to jump from a bridge deck in Edmonton.  The second involved a middle aged man with significant health concerns attempting to detonate a gas stove in an urban area near Edmonton.  In both cases we were able to talk the individuals down and get them the help they desperately needed.  Few things have brought me such pride and satisfaction and I still think about these people and how their lives have hopefully continued to improve over the years.
Not everyone can get involved in someone’s life that way but you can still make a huge difference by simply telling someone that you’re concerned and why.  Call the police and we’ll take it from there.  If that’s a bit too drastic consider talking with the person and just telling them how you’re feeling, that you’re concerned about them, and that you think they should talk to someone.  Alberta Health Services has a 24/7 toll free number of 1-877-303-3642 staffed with professionals standing by to offer free and confidential support to an individual in distress.  Let’s continue working together to maintain this trend and help save Alberta lives in 2018 and beyond.  Stay Safe.