In Canada, there are roughly 3,500 suicides every year, slightly below deaths due to cancers of the colon and breast. Suicide is the seventh-most common cause of death among Canadian males, and tenth-highest among both sexes combined. Today, suicide prevention in Canada is a major program that contains several interventions such as lethal means reduction; risk assessment; respect of self-esteem; group psychotherapy strategy; basic personal rights; self-soothing; interpersonal boundaries; distraction tactics; problem-solving strategies; and support groups.
So, where does counseling come in? It is both a preventive measure and a post-attempt intervention.
As a preventive measure, counselling provides a person with enough reason to hope before suicide becomes a clear option. Counseling addresses several preventive concerns such as self-soothing, problem-solving techniques, support groups, self-esteem building; and even risk assessment. Oftentimes, a client comes to counselling thinking that he or she couldn’t find a solution to his or her problem; but the person is still hopeful that such a solution exists. That is why hope is an essential element here. Without hope, a person sees counselling as useless and irrelevant.
As a post-attempt intervention, counselling is given to those people who attempted to commit suicide but was able to survive. Some people fall into the category of parasuicide – when the attempt was simply designed to catch attention but not to kill the self. What counselling provides is an opportunity to assess that incident and identify contributing factors. Also, counsellors help the client experience a renewed sense of hope and a clearer understanding of his or her problems.
Either way, counselling is seen as one of the most effective interventions to reduce suicide incidents.