This Saturday is World Suicide Prevention Day.
The Outreach Centre will share information and interactive activities related to mental health and suicide prevention at the Red Deer Public Market in the Servus Arena parking lot during World Suicide Prevention Day.
Staff members also attended the downtown Red Deer farmer market on Sept. 7.
World Suicide Prevention Day was created by the International Association for Suicide Prevention in partnership with the World Health Organization in 2003 and is a global event observed every Sept. 10.
This year’s slogan is “Creating Hope Through Action,” which is intended to serve as a reminder that there is an alternative to suicide and that our actions may provide hope to those who are struggling.
“We are looking forward to an opportunity to connect with the community, by starting conversations that generate awareness and understanding about suicide and mental health,” said Dawne Adkins, a certified grief recovery specialist at The Outreach Centre.
It’s important to keep the conversation about suicides going, Adkins noted.
“Suicide can be an uncomfortable topic, but one that should be discussed openly and honestly,” said Adkins.
“Bringing attention to the issue reduces stigma, raises awareness and lets people know that they are not alone.”
According to the World Health Organization, for every person who dies by suicide there are another 20 people who have made a suicide attempt or had serious thoughts of suicide.
The Outreach Centre offers suicide prevention and awareness programs, as well as support for those bereaved by suicide. There are also free courses in mental health and suicide prevention, available online at www.theoutreachcentre.org.
Alberta Health Services says suicide is an ongoing societal and public health concern and affects people from all socioeconomic, age, gender, cultural and ethnic groups.
Recognizing the risk factors and warning signs is important, AHS added.
Some risk factors include:
- Barriers to accessing social and health services.
- Mental illnesses, such as severe depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or anxiety.
- Traumatic life events, such as the death of a partner or friend, divorce or financial issues.
- Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse.
- Diagnosis of a serious physical illness.
Warning signs may include:
- Planning or saying they want to hurt or kill themselves or someone else.
- Talking, writing, reading, or drawing about death, including writing suicide notes and talking about items that can cause physical harm, such as pills, guns, or knives.
- Saying they have no hope, they feel trapped, or there is no point in “going on.”