A new bilingual suicide prevention public awareness campaign was launched by Operation Lifesaver (OL) Canada to remind people who may be struggling with their mental health that help is available.
The Today is Better campaign consists of 11 poignant and hopeful videos (six English and five French) featuring the personal stories of people who have experienced suicidal thoughts and sought help.
“The Today is Better stories are proof that life can get better. They send an important message to anyone facing mental health issues—that you don’t have to face them alone,” said Sarah Mayes, National Director of Operation Lifesaver Canada. “The COVID-19 pandemic has taken an incredible toll on people’s mental health across the country, making the campaign’s message more important than ever.”
Every year in Canada, more than 100 people are killed or seriously injured in railway crossing and trespassing incidents, according to OL. Recent research suggests that, on average, 43 of these incidents are suicides, and this figure does not include intentional fatalities on subways or provincially regulated railways. OL notes that each one of these tragedies takes an emotional toll on the victims’ friends and families, railway employees, rail passengers and first responders.
To prevent these tragic incidents, OL has collaborated with the Canada Suicide Prevention Service (CSPS) and the Association québécoise de prévention du suicide (AQPS) on the Today is Better campaign, to connect people in distress with trained, compassionate responders across the country.
“We know that thoughts of suicide are increasing as the pandemic continues. People living in Canada need to know they can ask for assistance during their time of greatest need,” said Dr. Allison Crawford, chief medical officer of the CSPS. “We commend Operation Lifesaver Canada in the launch of the Today is Better campaign, and are pleased to collaborate in order to build further awareness of the Canada Suicide Prevention Service phone line available 24/7/365 from trained responders in both English and French.”
“A campaign such as this one, which focuses on a message of hope, is a great contribution to suicide prevention all across the country. For us, all initiatives that encourage talking about suicide and opening the dialogue are always welcome, and we are proud to have collaborated with OL on the Today is Better campaign,” said Jérôme Gaudreault, executive director at AQPS.
As part of the initiative, the campaign trailers will be promoted on social media, and OL’s railway partners will install more than 3,000 suicide-prevention signs and posters along private railway rights-of-way and in train and subway stations across the country. Each sign will either promote the CSPS’ 1-833-456-4566 number, or Quebec’s 1-866-APPELLE number.
All 11 of the campaign’s full-length videos can be found on the campaign website. Canadians are encouraged to support the campaign by following OL Canada on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and by sharing the videos with their loved ones using the hashtag #TodayIsBetter.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, there is help. Call the Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566 to speak to a trained responder anytime, day or night, or visit suicide.ca for 24/7 online support.