Ask an Expert Event Promotes Hope For World Suicide Prevention Day


September 10, 2021

Every year in Canada, approximately 4,000 people die by suicide – the equivalent of about 11 deaths each day. 

This year, in recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day, Yorkville University hosted a special edition of its ongoing series of Ask an Expert webinars titled, Ending the Stigma, Enhancing Support: A Discussion for World Suicide Prevention Day.

Hosted by Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology professor Dr. Phuong-Anh Urga, the event aimed to increase awareness and knowledge about suicide risk factors, warning signs, and available resources and services related to prevention and intervention. 

“Connecting and speaking openly about suicide in the context of compassion, trust and empathy is the only way that we – as individuals and as a society – can help end the stigma and support and encourage well-informed action,” Urga said, noting that the theme of this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day is Creating Hope Through Action. 

“Creating Hope Through Action reminds us that our actions, no matter how big or how small, can provide help and hope to those who are struggling. Preventing suicide is possible, even up to the very last moment and the rest of us can play a key role in doing that.” 

Over the course of Urga’s hourlong virtual event, she touched on a number of important topics – from risk factors and warning signs, to protective and risk reducing factors, to supports and resources: 


Urga defined suicide risk factors as characteristics or conditions that increase the chance that a person may try to take their life. Risk factors might include: 

  • previous suicide attempts
  • history of substance abuse
  • physical disability or illness
  • losing a friend or family member to suicide
  • ongoing exposure to bullying behaviour
  • mental health condition
  • recent death of a family member or close friend
  • access to harmful means
  • relationship problems


Warning signs of suicide, according to Urga, are defined as changes in behaviour or the presence of entirely new behaviours. These can be particularly concerning if the new or changed behaviour is related to a painful event, loss or change, and can include:

  • negative view of self
  • sense of hopelessness or no hope for the future, aggressiveness and irritability
  • possessing lethal weapons
  • feeling like a burden to others
  • drastic changes in mood and behaviour
  • frequently talking about death
  • self-harm like cutting behaviours
  • engaging in risky behaviours
  • making funeral arrangements
  • giving things away
  • substance abuse
  • making suicide threats


Urga defines these as factors that reduce the likelihood of suicidal behaviour and work to improve a person’s ability to cope with difficult circumstances. They can include: 

  • parent connectedness
  • academic achievement
  • school safety
  • closeness to caring friends
  • overall resilience
  • neighbourhood safety
  • awareness of and access to local health services


Yorkville University students can access the school’s Wellness Services, Support and Resources at the Student Success Centre at

Students can also book an appointment with a member of Yorkville University’s mental health counselling team at

Any students who are feeling desperate and hopeless, worried they might hurt themselves or someone else, or feels alone with no one to talk to is asked to please reach out to one of the following Support Hotlines in your region immediately: 


Canada Suicide Prevention Service (24 Hours) – 1-833-456-4566

First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness (24 Hours) – 1-855-242-3310


– ConnexOntario (24-Hour Hotline) – 1-866-531-2600

– Good2Talk (24-Hour Hotline) – 1-866-925-5454 or text GOOD2TALKON to 686868


– Quebec National Crisis Line – 1-866-277-3553


– Prince Edward Island Crisis Line – 1-800-218-2885


– Alberta Crisis Line ­– 1-403-266-4357


– Manitoba Crisis Line – 1-877-435-7170

New Brunswick

– New Brunswick Crisis Line – 1-800-667-5005

British Columbia

– British Columbia Crisis Line ­– 1-800-784-2433

– Here2Talk 24/7 – 1-877-857-3397

Newfoundland & Labrador

– Newfoundland & Labrador Crisis Line – 1-888-737-4668

Northwest Territories

– Northwest Territories Line – 1-800-661-0844

Nova Scotia

– Good2Talk 24-Hour Hotline – 1-833-292-3698 or text GOOD2TALKNS to 686868


– Nunavut Line – 1-800-265-3333


– Saskatchewan Crisis Line – 1-306-525-5333


– Yukon Crisis Line (7 p.m. to 3 a.m.) – 1-844-533-3030


– National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 – 1-800-273-8255

– Trans Lifeline – 1-877-565-8860

– The Trevor Project Lifeline – 1-866-488-7386


– SNEHA A Link With Life – 91-44-2464-0050


– Beijing – Befrienders – 03-5286-9090

– Hong Kong – The Samaritans – 2896-0000

– Shanghai – Life Line – 021-6279-8990