Background Communities across Alberta recognise World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) with a variety of awareness and prevention activities. However, Alberta lacks a coordinated provincial approach to promote both WSPD and suicide prevention. The Injury Prevention Centre and the Alberta Suicide Prevention Network have developed a suicide prevention campaign that was implemented for its second year in 2015.
Problem In 2010, Alberta data shows that 75% of suicide deaths were men. Of these, 68% were between the ages of 30–69 years. Men are among the least likely to seek help when struggling with mental health issues and often have limited support networks. Coupled together with the negative societal perceptions about mental health and suicide, the campaign focused on the social networks of middle age men (significant others, families, friends). Key messages for the campaign are: know the signs, start the conversation and reach out. Along with the key messages, a tagline meant to emphasise the role every individual can play to support and help a man who is struggling was developed – “Keep Him Here.” A series of themed printed posters and post cards, coffee sleeves, a website, infographic and a video PSA were developed.
Results For the 2015 campaign, 58 community partners requested resources (81% increase compared to 2014) and used them at pop-up coffee booths, gas stations, suicide awareness walks, restaurants, businesses, resource fairs, and interagency meetings to raise awareness and create opportunities to start conversations about suicide. The provincial launch connected with 412 commuters on their way to work.
Conclusions The Keep Him Here campaign, coordinated by IPC, has provided a mechanism to initiate a fledgling coordinated provincial effort to highlight suicide prevention and awareness to Albertans. By providing high quality, free resources and supports to partners who were able to creatively disseminate suicide prevention messages to engage communities.
- suicide prevention
- awareness campaign
- middle age men