In 2003 the Canadian Mental Health Association named September 10th the world suicide prevention day. Then, in September, Canadians talked about suicide prevention during the month. We know that paramedics experience traumatic calls, poor sleep, long shifts, and lack of downtime after difficult calls, etc., which increases the risk of burnout, PTSD, and suicide. Some articles said that the rate is as high as 25% of us have suicidal thoughts at some point; thankfully, most of that stays just in thoughts and around just 5% took far away than thoughts and succeeded.
That 5% is still too much, the number should be zero. We can reduce the number by looking for help when need it, talking to peers, friends, or accessing the suicide prevention lines. No one should be ashamed to ask for help; we should remove the stigma of seeing people looking for help like “crazies,” “weirds,” or “freaks.” Asking for help is not wrong; it is the right thing to do when we feel hopeless, depressive, sad; it is always nice to talk. And remember that if someone comes and want to speak with you about their problems or feelings, we should not forget that answer “don’t be sad” is never the answer; instead: show that you care, have patience, use open questions, say it back, keep them safe and follow up when need it.
October and November also mark months for the other two essential campaigns across Canada, breast and prostate cancer awareness month, respectively. In the pink month, October, some wear pink epaulettes, pink shirts, or a pink ribbon to raise awareness of this significant disease that can be preventable if detected on time. Thanks to this campaign, the breast cancer death rate has dropped by half since 1986, and we hope it keeps dropping even more. Rember to perform a self-exam, get your periodical schedule screenings according to your groupage or in a high-risk group.
And finally, Movember, the moustache month, raises awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer and testicular cancer. Similar to breast cancer, prostate and testicular can be treated if detected on time. Be aware of changes in your testicles and scrotum; get a PSA if indicated.
Our business is to save people’s lives; let’s start with ours and our colleagues.