Alberta statistics indicate that suicide rate has decreased slightly since the pandemic started – Global News


Alberta statistics indicate that suicide rate has decreased slightly since the pandemic started

Since his brother’s death, Duhaney has been an advocate for others dealing with the complex emotions that survivors of suicide loss feel.

On Saturday, he spoke at the Survivors of Suicide Loss Day event. It’s the second year it has been held virtually because of the pandemic.

“The intimacy was there. It was visceral. People were able to tell their stories and go through all of the mess of emotions that come with suicide loss,” Duhaney said.

For the past 16 years, the Canadian Mental Health Association – Calgary Region has hosted Survivors of Suicide Loss Day.

Duhaney said the pandemic has opened the door for people to talk about mental health.

“I think the pandemic is contributing to people’s feelings of hopelessness and isolation, but the topic of mental health has become super hot in terms of the media and people are constantly exposed to it,” Duhaney said.

“I think at this point, we are left more with speculation than with anything else,” said Dr. Michael Trew, Calgary board president of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Trew said the drop in deaths could be a case of people finding strength in community.

“I parallel this somewhat with what we have seen in times of war where communities seem to have a collective sense of purpose and pulling together,” Trew said.

“We actually see a more significant drop in rates of death by suicide in times like that, especially when you think of World War II.”

However, Trew said it’s also possible we may see higher rates in the coming years, as statistics have also shown that in times of economic depression, there is a lag when it comes to suicide deaths.

“There is a lag. Often a year or two before you actually see it emerging in the statistics. Whether we see something like that, I guess time will tell,” Trew said.

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 Peer Support program services can be accessed over the phone at 403-297-1402 or through email at We have teamed up with other Calgary agencies to help Calgarians quickly and easily access various counselling and social supports. Visit, where you can book online for our Suicide Bereavement and Family Support Counselling, and other supports. If you prefer to still book through us, please phone (403-297-1708), or email (