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Archive for September, 2015
Wednesday, September 09, 2015

World Suicide Prevention Day - September

     “There’s a story I know. I’ve heard the story many times, and each time someone tells it, it changes. It is a story about suicide. In all of the versions of this story, there is always pain and fear, and someone always feels alone. But for some tellers, and some listeners, this is also a story about the strength to endure, the courage to go on, the warmth of connection, the light of hope, the power of healing.” (Heather Fiske, 2007).
     Each year, in September, people and communities across Canada and throughout the world come together to show their support for suicide prevention and for those whose lives have been affected by suicide.
     According to the 2009 Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) report: CASP Blueprint for a Canadian National Suicide Prevention Strategy, every year in Canada, an average of 3,750 people die by suicide. These deaths include our children and our parents, our family members, our clients and patients, our friends and colleagues, our neighbors and people from all socioeconomic, age, gender, culture and ethnic groups. No part of society is immune. Suicide affects all of us.
    Tragically, when someone dies by suicide the pain is not gone; it is merely transferred to survivors. It is estimated that one out of four people know someone who has been affected by suicide. Family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, communities are immediately affected, left stunned and troubled by the powerful reaction and conflicting emotions they experience. They are left to grieve. Individuals who have lost someone to suicide also require compassion, understanding and support of family, friends and their community, including professional help such as family doctor, minister, a cultural or spiritual leader, or a counsellor to work through these difficult feelings. It may also be beneficial for the survivor to become involved with a mutual help group, such as the Suicide Bereavement Group (204-571-4183). Through sharing with others who have walked the same path, one may gain an understanding of their reactions and learn to cope.
     Experience tells us that many suicide-related behaviors can be prevented. Suicide is the result of intolerable pain, fear, or despair overwhelming an individual’s sense of hope. If a friend or loved one talks or behaves in a way that makes you believe he or she is experiencing thoughts of suicide, encourage them to access help from a trained professional or encourage the person to call a suicide hotline: Westman Crisis Services (1-888-379-7699) or Manitoba Suicide Line (1-877435-7170).
    It is apparent that a strong need persists to continue to recognize and address suicide as a vital community health problem. For too long, discussion of suicide has involved secrecy, stigma, and taboo. Often the lack of understanding about suicide promotes fear and stigma. Stigma can create a wall of silence that can be harmful. It prevents people from reaching out to a suicidal person, and it also isolates and prevents a suicidal person from seeking help when needed. With increased knowledge and education and willingness among individuals to challenge others when discrimination occurs, many suicides can be prevented. 
       The Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) Community Mental Health Team has an active Mental Health Promotion strategy with the goal to increase awareness and knowledge about mental health, including the nature of suicide; and to generate action to prevent and eliminate stigma and discrimination. Numerous prevention and promotion activities have been conducted throughout the region in partnership with school divisions and communities including public awareness events. Professionals and individuals across the region have warmly embraced and participated in specialized suicide prevention training offered throughout the region including:
1.    Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) – is a 2 day (12 hours) course that teaches the signs & symptoms of common mental health problems and crisis situations, a basic five-step mental health first aid model, information about effective interventions and treatment and how to access help and resources
2.    Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) – Assist is a two-day, skill-building workshop that prepares caregivers (professionals and volunteers) of all kinds to provide suicide first aid interventions.
3.    SafeTALK- is a half-day (2.5 to 3.5 hours) training that prepares anyone over the age of 15 to identify persons with thoughts of suicide and connect them to suicide first aid resources.

If you are interested in this training, please contact: Prairie Mountain Health Community Mental Health - @ 204-578-2490 or by email at

Posted by Regional Health Authority @ 12:36 | E-mail this blog entry to a friend | PermaLink

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