Lorraine Dupres was on the way to visit her adult son in Ontario in 2003 when she received a call she will never forget.
When she answered her phone she was told her son, 36-year-old Darrell Aucoin, had committed suicide.
She hadn’t noticed a change in him before this happened, but some of his co-workers told her afterwards they had.
“The stigma is possibly the biggest barrier that people have in asking for help or mentioning they may be thinking of suicide,” she said. “And that stigma has to be removed.”
Yesterday, the province released a report titled Suicide and Attempted Suicide in Nova Scotia. Using data gathered between 1995 and 2004, the report describes conditions surrounding suicide and attempted suicide in the province.
Julian Young, who works for the province’s health promotion and protection department, called the report a “baseline” of information about suicide.
According to the report - that took about three years to complete when the data was collected - Nova Scotia has the third lowest suicide rate in Canada.
During that period, the suicide rate also went down, from 11 suicide deaths per 100,000 people in 1995 to eight and a half suicide deaths per 100,000 people in 2004.
Young said there have been increases in funding for suicide prevention since 2004 and the province also started the Nova Scotia Strategic Framework to Address Suicide in 2006.
While pleased with their report, they acknowledged more information is needed about the demographic of those who have committed suicide.
“We don’t know a lot about the profile of the people, we have very basic information in terms of an exactness of those who die by suicide,” Young said.