Preventing and reducing the risk of suicide

Suicide is an urgent public health issue in Nova Scotia. Over 120 Nova Scotians lose their lives to suicide each year and hundreds more make a suicide attempt. Each death and attempted suicide is a tragedy that affects individuals, families and our communities. Yet many suicides are preventable.

Talking about suicide

Using helpful and respectful language to talk about suicide decreases stigma and makes it easier for people to get help. The Government of Canada has a guide about safe language and messages for suicide prevention.

Guide: Language Matters – Safe Language and Messages for Suicide Prevention (PDF)

Suicide prevention and life promotion

There are different terms used when talking about preventing suicide.

“Suicide prevention” focuses on reducing the risk of suicide. 

“Suicide intervention” is acute care for someone who is in crisis.

“Life promotion” is a broader term. It includes factors that help people build resilience before a crisis happens. Using the term “life promotion” can reduce the risk of suicide by empowering people to lead safe and fulfilling lives.

Suicide data

It’s important to note that data related to deaths by suicide can be confusing and difficult to interpret for people who aren’t involved in data research.

Data on suicide deaths from the Nova Scotia Medical Examiner Service is available to the public and is updated monthly.

Open data: Informing with Open Data: Suicide in Nova Scotia