Mental health help needed for post pandemic recovery: advocates
MONTREAL -- Mental health assistance is required for Quebec to return to normalcy post-pandemic, according to Jérôme Gaudreault, executive director of the Quebec Association for Suicide Prevention (AQPS).
On the occasion of Suicide Prevention Week, which began on Sunday, AQPS published preliminary information on the pandemic’s impact on mental health.
“It is very likely that for a part of the population, the return to normalcy will be difficult. We could have lost loved ones because of the coronavirus,” said Gaudreault. “We could have difficulty finding a job.”
A VERY SLIGHT DECREASE IN SUICIDES
For now, Quebec’s 85 coroners do not suspect that the pandemic will have an impact on suicides. but that picture could change as the study continues, according to the AQPS.
On Monday, the AQPS also released data on suicide rates of previous years. In 2018, the number of suicides fell slightly to 1054, compared to 1058 in 2017. This is equivalent to three suicides per day.
The most affected populations are men and women aged 50 to 64.
The association also published data on the number of hospitalizations linked to suicide. In 2019, they had decreased modestly, but they remained high, especially for boys aged 15 to 19.
Each year, there are more than 3,600 hospitalizations linked to suicide attempts.
A PROVINCE-WIDE STRATEGY
Gaudreault is calling on the province to adopt a new national suicide prevention strategy.
“At the beginning of the 2000s, there was a national suicide strategy in Quebec,” he said. “It made it possible to reduce the number of deaths by suicide by a third between 2000 and 2007."
Under that strategy, the government had reorganized services for suicidal people, a crisis line was created, and awareness campaigns were deployed.
-- This report by the Canadian Press was first published on Feb. 1, 2021.
HERE IS A LIST OF MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES IN QUEBEC
People struggling with suicidal thoughts can contact the free Canada Suicide Prevention Service helpline at 1-833-456-4566 or by texting 'START' to 741741. The service is available 24/7.
If ever you need help, don't hesitate to reach out to:
- Your family doctor (if you have one)
- Your local CLSC, CISSS or CIUSSS: 811
- AMI-Quebec: 514-486-1448
- Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA): 514-521-4993
- Centre Interligne Inc.: (for issues related to sexual orientation): 514-866-0103
- Depressives Anonymous: 514-278-2130
- Groupe d'entraide pour un mieux-être: (GEME): 450-332-4463
- Quebec Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation: 514-727-0012
- Société québécoise de la schizophrénie: 514-251-4000 x3400
- Suicide Action Montreal: 1 866 277 3553
- Suicide Prevention Service: 1 866 APPELLE
- Veterans Affairs Canada: 1 800 268-7708
- If you need immediate assistance, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.