Alberta’s suicide rate has spiked for the first time in years.
The increase comes as thousands have been laid off due to the downturn in the oil and gas sector.
Mara Grunau with the Centre for Suicide Prevention told 660 NEWS the numbers jumped 30 per cent in the first half of the year.
“It is terrible, and I think it’s important to know two things,” Grunau said. “One, the suicide rate in Alberta has been flat for a very long time, so this is an enomaly in the sense that this is a jump from somewhere that has been flat for a very long time.”
“The other thing is even without the jump the numbers in Alberta are very high, more Albertans die by suicide every year than they do in fatal car collisions.”
She also said that what’s needed is a multi-pronged, coordinated approach across the province to recognize the warning signs of suicide, and help those who are desperate.
“I commend the City of Edmonton,” she said “They’ve started to put up barriers on the High Level Bridge, which was a jumping hot-spot for people, so we want to make it more difficult for them to access lethal means.”
Grunua added that open and easy access to mental health care is critical to battle the problem.