The Canadian Associate for Suicide Prevention would like to offer our deepest condolences to Robin Williams’ friends and family, and all of those touched by his big heart and kind spirit. Robin shared so much life with the world, and we join in celebrating and honouring his generous contributions and accomplishments.

It appears the last gift Robin Williams has offered his colleagues, fans and the public at large is a very large stage upon which we can expand the conversation about mental health, stigma and suicide. The circumstances of his death have presented the opportunity for us to share our experiences and resources in efforts to minimize the harmful consequences of suicidal behaviour.

Today in Canada, approximately 11 people will end their lives by suicide. In addition, approximately 210 others will attempt to end their lives by suicide. For each death by suicide, it has been estimated that the lives of 7 to 10 bereaved survivors are profoundly affected.

It is important the media and the public recognize, first and foremost, that people whose lives have been deeply affected by suicide are the ones reading these stories and listening to the conversations. It is so imperative we focus on positive commentary and encourage feelings of hope and resiliency in efforts to increase coping skills in the lives of those who have been affected.

At CASP, we feel hopeful about the tremendous change and progress we have witnessed in regards to the way people talk about suicide, specifically media and journalists. We recognize media efforts to collaborate with suicide prevention experts and organizations, which is a key step in the Mindest Guidelines for Reporting on Mental Health. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for this coverage, and to further encourage journalists to follow media guidelines and seek professional advice and resources when reporting on mental health issues. CASP has a full inventory of international guidelines for reporting and talking about suicide.

CASP has a full inventory of international guidelines for reporting and talking about suicide

CASP is committed to supporting the work of quality journalism when it comes to suicide prevention. We continue to honour those who play a meaningful role in this regard through the Media Award for Excellent Reporting, which is presented annually. Media seeking further information and resources regarding suicide prevention, intervention and postvention can visit our website at www.suicideprevention.ca. Experts from our organization are also available for interviews and background information for media. Please contact us by email at [email protected] or by phone (204)784-4073 to schedule a briefing.

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