Workers Must Lift The Silence On Suicide

Workers Must Lift The Silence On Suicide

Colleagues, employers, and work friends all have a role in suicide prevention


Edmonton – Suicide prevention is a workplace issue.


Across Alberta, more people die each year as a result of suicide than die in motor vehicle accidents. These deaths are preventable, avoidable and devastating to communities, families, and workplaces.


This year, the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) is joining the ‘Lift The Silence’ campaign, and calling on workers, employers and allies to work together to help prevent suicides.


“The Lift The Silence campaign urges us all to ‘know the signs, start the conversation and to reach out,’” Alberta Federation of Labour secretary treasurer Siobhan Vipond said. “We spend about 40 hours a week in the company of our colleagues and bosses. Coworkers are often in a unique position to help those who are going through troubling times and who may be at risk.”


As part of Lift The Silence Suicide Prevention Week, the AFL is organizing a barbecue at 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 11 at Constable Ezio Faraone Park (11004 – 97 Avenue NW). At the event “Responding to Mental Health,” Edmontonians are invited to meet local first responders, hear stories of courage against adversity, and learn more about an emergency services perspective on mental health and suicide.


“Alberta paramedics, nurses and other health care workers see first-hand the devastation that suicide causes to families and communities,” Vipond said. “They also see the life-altering consequences of injuries caused by suicide attempts.”


First responders also have a higher risk of suicide than workers in most other professions. To date in 2015, 30 emergency responders across Canada have lost their life to suicide, including several in Edmonton.


“Suicide also has a tremendous impact on the work environment, an impact that organizations often have great difficulty in addressing,” Vipond said. “Alberta’s workplaces need to equip their employees with skills and knowledge that could save the life of a co-worker, a union brother or sister, or a stranger.”


More than 500 Albertans die each year as a result of suicide. Edmonton’s Crisis Centre receives 3,600 phone calls each year that are suicide related. The highest rate of suicides in Alberta is among men aged 44 and to 60.


Lift the Silence Suicide Awareness Week, which coincides with World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, is an opportunity to bring people together to learn and talk about suicide. Events include panel presentations, sharing stories of recovery, and a film presentation. Information about events can be found at<>


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Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.218.4351 (cell)
or via e-mail

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