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Shining a light of kindness

Nancy Boisvert ,

September 10, 2018, will be the 16th World Suicide Prevention Day. This year’s theme is Working Together to Prevent Suicide. As you may already know, this theme strikes a chord with me on both a personal and professional level. Last year I talked about my experience as a mother dealing with a child in distress. I believe that every challenge helps us grow, leads us forward and opens us to new possibilities. I have had the opportunity to use that experience in my work and to transform a challenge into an achievement.

Any dealings with death unavoidably lead us to ponder the deeper meaning of life. I gave meaning to my life by committing to making a change and helping people find their own purpose in life. When thoughts of death became invasive, life ceases to make sense.

Every year in Quebec, three people commit suicide daily, with men representing over three quarters of these deaths (833 men and 295 women in 2015). Suicide has grave repercussions for those grieving the victim. Preserving life must be a collective societal commitment, and we each have a role to play.

As we know, suicide is usually preceded by warning signs, to which we must pay attention. These red flags must be dealt with as soon as possible to prevent the situation from escalating. We must do everything we can to optimize our interventions by improving access to support services. Currently, although there are several resources, the access to services and the availability of resources remain a worrying issue. Let’s come up with new intervention methods that can reach and protect as many people as possible.

The Optania team chose to make a change by using artificial intelligence to develop a first line of intervention that is accessible 24/7. This first line of intervention can be a useful addition to services already in place. The goal is to reach people who aren’t ready to talk or who won’t use services that offer quick support and promote empowerment.

Taking quick action when detecting red flags can prevent an escalating situation. Our tool also makes it possible for various professionals to communicate with each other and intervene in a concerted manner. Together, we will go further!

On September 10, we will light a candle to show our support for suicide prevention, but what we want above all is concrete action to promote the use of effective methods developed to save lives.

Shining a light of kindness, that is our mission.

Nancy Boisvert

Psychologist, Head of Research – Clinical division

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