In Canada, an average of 10 people die by suicide every day. It’s the third leading cause of death among those 30-44 years of age and middle-aged men are the demographic most likely to die by suicide. Every suicide affects more than 100 people and puts those who are deeply affected at higher risk for suicide themselves.
The COVID-19 pandemic and recent civil unrest have only increased the stress and anxiety across all age groups, with crisis and distress helplines seeing demand for their services skyrocket. In May, the Canada Suicide Prevention Service (“CSPS”) handled 30% more interactions than the previous month. Since the pandemic began, CSPS saw an increase of over 60% in the number of active rescues, the most serious situation when someone is at imminent risk of harm or a suicide attempt is in progress and emergency services are called. Unfortunately, we expect these volumes to keep rising as the cumulative impacts of the pandemic are felt.
We are the front line of the mental healthcare continuum. Our highly trained responders from distress centres across the country are there in the moment, to provide support for those in crisis or who are experiencing suicide-related concerns for themselves or others.
That moment can make all the difference. To always be there when WE are needed, we need YOUR help.
To ensure we can answer the need, Crisis Services Canada (“CSC”) has created an Emergency Back-Up Hub providing additional capacity for CSPS. In the wake of the pandemic, our distress centre members are struggling with increased volumes, fewer volunteers and the temporary loss of events and training revenue that they count on to fund their operations.
The challenge: Raise enough money to fund one CSC Back-Up Hub responder 24 hours a day, seven days per week, 365 days a year.
The cost: It takes the equivalent of just over five people to keep one back-up hub responder seat active 24/7/365, at a minimum cost of $300,000 per year. That one "seat" can support up to 25,000 service users each year. While the goal of every CSPS responder is to de-escalate a crisis situation, despite those efforts, one responder could be called on to initiate up to 500 active rescues, a situation where someone at imminent risk or a suicide in progress may not otherwise receive the life-saving intervention they need. One compassionate voice being there in the moment can make all the difference in a life; this effective intervention can cost as little as $10.
Long-term goal: CSC estimates it will need to fund five seats to meet growing demand and to create the vital surge capacity needed when disasters or high-profile incidents of suicide occur.
But it all starts with the first one. Be part of CSC's Donor Campaign and start making a difference right now. Here’s how you can help with your donation:
- $25,000 can provide one-month of 24/7 voice support - one voice interaction costing an estimated $10 can save a life.
- $60,000 can support one responder, one shift a day for a year
- $300,000 will provide one responder 24/7/365
FACTS ABOUT CSC:
- During the last 12 months of operation, CSPS has responded to 35,000 requests for support
- Crisis Services Canada (CSC) operates CSPS through a network of distress centres across the country and needs your help to reach our goal of ensuring that no call for help goes unanswered. Those seeking help can connect 24/7 by phone in both official languages or 4pm to midnight (eastern) by text in English only at this time. The goal is to have 24/7/365 voice/text/chat service available in both official languages within two years with the help of donors like you.
- Since CSC began, there has been over $350 million spent on hospital stays from attempted suicide and purposely self-inflicted injuries according to Canadian Institute of Information ("CIHI") statistics. It is worth noting that for every completed suicide, there are an estimated 20-25 attempts.
- CSPS can prevent hospitalizations by de-escalating emotional crises. Since the service launched in 2017, we estimate that CSPS has saved local health care systems more than $180 million.
- In addition to running CSPS, CSC advocates for and secures resources for distress and crisis centres across the country, reinforcing the vital support network of local services that are there for the people of Canada while ensuring a national safety net is also strengthened.