Choosing Life and Wellness: Suicide Prevention and Improving Emotional Health

Sometimes people can feel such utter despair that ending life feels like the only option.  It can happen to anyone of any age group, social standing or background.  It’s vital to be aware of the warnings in order to prevent tragedy.

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Immediate help.  If you or someone you love is considering suicide, please reach out for help immediately.  There are crisis centres throughout Canada available to help you at any time, day or night.

Warnings.  Every day, eleven Canadians choose to end their lives.  Additionally, some studies show that 210 Canadians attempt suicide and survive.  Every time someone makes this desperate choice, there is a ripple effect among their family and friends.  The National Institute of Mental Health explains you should be alert to these warning signs which indicate someone may be considering suicide and it’s time to seek help:

  • Creating a will and putting affairs in order
  • Giving away personal belongings, especially those which were once highly valued
  • Seeking resources such as information online about how to kill oneself
  • Gathering pills, a gun or similar instrument
  • Talking about wanting to kill oneself or a desire to die
  • Expressions of hopelessness or having no reason to go on living
  • Talking about being burdensome to others or feeling trapped
  • Expressions of feeling intolerable pain, either emotionally or physically
  • Expressions of rage or vengeful thoughts
  • Becoming isolated from family and friends
  • Sudden or increased abuse of substances
  • Significant changes in sleeping or eating habits
  • Acting in a self-destructive manner, like dangerous driving or unhealthy binging
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Saying goodbyes to family and friends
  • Acting unusually agitated or anxious


If you fear someone is considering suicide, talk with that individual in a manner that is caring and nonjudgmental.  You don’t need to worry that you are planting thoughts of suicide in your loved one’s mind.  What you are doing is engaging that person, expressing compassion, and opening lines of communication.

Risk factors.  Some professionals point out there are factors that heighten risk of suicide, such as mental health conditions, chronic health issues, stressful life changes such as a job loss or a divorce, death of a loved one, and a history of childhood abuse.  According to some research, one of the biggest risk factors is previous suicide attempts.  Also, many people who attempt suicide have a substance such as alcohol or opiate in their systems, and those with a family history of suicide are more inclined to make an attempt.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  Many people suffer with depression triggered with the change of seasons.  This is thought to be connected to changes in daylight, and sufferers often feel lethargic, depressed, and hopeless.  The disorder is referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.  Usually it occurs during the dark, cold winter months and symptoms improve as spring arrives.  It can affect one’s sleep patterns, eating habits, moods, and focus.  Redfin explains there are a number of ways to manage the symptoms, such as light box therapy, plants, and mood-boosting room colors.

Improving emotional wellness.  For those at risk of suicide or showing signs of depression, talk therapy or behavioral therapy are appropriate and common choices.  Some people may require medication which should be prescribed by a physician.  In addition to traditional therapies, floatation therapy is a viable option for those suffering with issues such as anxiety, depression, stress and pain.  In fact, some research reflects not only are those issues relieved, optimism and sleep are greatly improved.

Prevent and improve.  If you or someone you love is considering suicide, it’s vital to get help.  Be aware of the warnings and risk factors, and reach out.  Look for ways to improve wellness and prevent tragedy.

Written by:

Melissa Howard

[email protected]

Head of Prevention Outreach


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