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- Health Unit reports cites 50 suicide deaths over five years and 557 emergency department visits for suicidal attempts
SIMCOE, JULY 17, 2009 – There were 50 suicidal deaths and 557 emergency department visits for suicidal attempts in Haldimand and Norfolk Counties during a recent five-year period.
These findings were revealed today by the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit in a report entitled, Haldimand and Norfolk Mental Health Report with a Focus on Suicide. The death statistics cover the years 2000-2004. The emergency room statistics are from 2003-2007.
Males were four times more likely to complete suicide than females and were twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts compared to females. A higher proportion of teenagers, age 15 to 19, visited the emergency department for suicide attempts.
The full report can be found on the Health Unit’s website atwww.hnhu.org
The Suicide Prevention Network of Haldimand and Norfolk fundamentally believes that “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem,” noted network member and Health Unit Public Health Nurse Marilyn Antkiw. “Suicide prevention is everyone’s business. It affects all members of the community. This report will help create awareness in our community in an effort to promote suicide-safe communities.”
The network promotes the development of suicide-safe communities through prevention awareness, education and other prevention initiatives.
The report provides an overview of suicide mortality, emergency room visits, suicidal thoughts, risk factors contributing to suicide and suicidal behaviours, mental health resource access, suicide prevention program, services and resources for suicide, and a case study.
Overall, the study found that more than 50 per cent of the population 20 years of age and older are at high risk for alcohol-related health problems. The report also shows that less than one-third of the population reported having life stress (15 years of age and older), work stress (20 to 64 years), poor or fair health and a weak sense of belonging.
This report also compares data for Haldimand-Norfolk and Ontario as a whole.
“Although less than one-third of the population reported selected risk factors, it is important to note that compared to the province, Haldimand and Norfolk have higher suicide deaths, suicidal thoughts, high risk for alcohol-related problems, heavy binge drinking, poor or fair health and median income after taxes,” noted the report’s author, Health Unit Epidemiologist Deanna Morris.
“Particularly interesting, 9.2 per cent of the population 15 years of age and older consulted with a mental health professional and of that proportion 61 per cent consulted with their family physician. It was also found that a lower proportion of Haldimand and Norfolk residents consulted with a health professional compared to Ontario.”
“It is important to become aware of the risk factors contributing to suicidal and suicidal behaviours to reduce the prevalence of suicide deaths and attempts in our community,” Antkiw said. “We are educating physicians and other service providers to recognize the warning signs of suicidal tendencies. We recently distributed a guide for service providers, Working with a Client who is Suicidal, that provided a list of contacts for support.”
The report also provides a description of the various programs, resources, services and supports to prevent suicide and suicidal behaviours, including the Suicide Prevention Network of Haldimand and Norfolk, which holds an annual event in September; the Suicide Bereavement Support Group; and ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training).
Deanna Morris, Epidemiologist
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
519-426-6170 Ext. 3215 or 905-318-6623 Ext. 3215