Suicide Prevention Week recognized in Toronto

September 6, 2016

The City of Toronto has officially proclaimed September 5 to 11 Suicide Prevention Week in recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day on Saturday, September 10. World Suicide Prevention Day is an international day that recognizes the lasting impact suicide has on individuals, families and communities across all ages, genders, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.

“Suicide is a leading cause of premature death in Toronto, with an average of about 220 suicide deaths annually – a rate more than four times the number of people who die from homicide and three times the number who die from motor vehicle crashes,” said Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Toronto’s Acting Medical Officer of Health. “This is an important public health problem, with significant impacts on families, friends and communities. This week marks an important opportunity to raise awareness about resources and treatment options to help reduce the risk of suicidal behaviours.”

While suicide affects people of all ages, a recent study of the mental health and well-being of Ontario students finds it is the second leading cause of death for young Canadians between the ages of 10 and 19. The study found that in Toronto, one in 10 students in Grades 7 to 12 indicated that they had seriously considered suicide.

Evidence shows that men experience higher rates of death from suicide, whereas women experience higher rates of non-fatal suicidal behaviour. Certain groups are disproportionately impacted by suicide, such as people living with mental illness, substance misuse and abuse, socioeconomic disadvantage and social isolation. Priority populations in Toronto include LGBTQ youth, indigenous people, men over the age of 60, and homeless and incarcerated populations.

The official proclamation from Mayor John Tory will launch a week of prevention initiatives to reduce the harms associated with suicide and encourage city-wide dialogue to improve the understanding of suicide as a preventable public health issue. The proclamation: 

More information about Suicide Prevention Week in Toronto and about mental health support and resources in Toronto are available at

Toronto is Canada’s largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world’s most livable cities. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us @TorontoComms.

Keisha Mair
Toronto Public Health


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