Every year, between 3,500 and 4,000 Canadians take their own lives. Many of these deaths are completed using firearms. In fact, about 75 percent of gun-related deaths are suicides.
Among males who commit suicide, 20 per cent use firearms. Among women who commit suicide, 3 per cent use firearms. Overall, 16 per cent of suicides in Canada are firearms-related, according to Statistics Canada.
Suicide attempts using a firearm are particularly lethal, with a 96 per cent completion rate. This compares to overdose attempts, which have a completion rate of 6.5 per cent. To prevent impulsive acts of self-violence, it is vital that guns and ammunition are safely locked up.
Suicide is a serious community safety issue. According to Statistics Canada:
- For every suicide death, there are 20 attempts.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death for 15 – 34 year olds.
- The highest rates of suicide occur during midlife. There is a correlation between divorce rates and suicide rates.
Suicide deaths represent significant losses for families and their communities. While it is impossible to quantify emotional and relational devastation, the estimated cost of a suicidal death ranges from $433,000 to more than $4 million; these estimates from the Canadian Mental Health Association are based on potential years of life lost, income level and effects on survivors.
Further, the estimated cost of an attempted suicide can be as high as $308,000 – these costs include hospital services and rehabilitation. The average hospital stay related to a firearms injury is 17.7 days, according to a national study by the Canadian Medical Association.
Most people with mental illness recover well and are able to lead fulfilling lives when they seek and receive appropriate ongoing treatment and support. However, according to the CMHA, only 43 per cent of depressed adults seek professional help. It is important to come alongside loved ones with mental health issues and to encourage and support them in seeking appropriate treatment.
For more information and resources on good mental health, visit www.cmha.ca.
For more information, please contact:
Communications/Media Program Coordinator
(613) 739-1535 (ext. 228)