Connect. Communicate. Care - BC Crisis Lines are taking this message to the community as they support World Suicide Prevention Day events being held across BC on September 10th.
Every 40 seconds someone in the World dies by suicide, according to the World Health Organization. This staggering statistic equates to 800,000 deaths per year. Even more staggering is that for every death by suicide, there are 25 attempts.
These aren’t just statistics - they are our family, friends, co-workers and neighbours, and the ramifications of this global problem affect every community. Suicide, however, is preventable, and it is this very community that is the key to tackling the problem.
Often hidden or avoided, how do ordinary people take action on this issue? According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention, “ connection, communicate and care” are the 3 words that lie at the heart of suicide prevention, and this is the theme for this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day, held annually on September 10th.
With so many in our community affected by suicide, connection is the key to accessing the potential of this far-reaching network. Those that have attempted but survived can teach us much about their experience and tools that allowed them to choose a more life-affirming course of action. Those touched by a loss can provide insights into how they moved forwards on their journey. A positive commitment across the community can help us break down the barriers and connect.
How do we talk about suicide? There is a fear and discomfort around suicide that prompts many of us to avoid, rather than address this subject. Broaching the subject of suicide is difficult, and many believe that professional training is needed to support those in need. There are simple tips around showing compassion and empathy, and listening in a non-judgemental way, as well as linking to resources that can give anyone in the community the tools and confidence to open channels of communication.
Compassion and empathy require that we care about this issue, and that we ask our elected officials and health care community to do the same. That journey begins on September 10th.
Crisis Centres around BC support the community on a daily basis through the 1800SUICIDE toll-free network, 310Mental Health Support network, local lines, and through community suicide prevention initiatives available throughout the year. On September 10th, they will be engaging with the community again to share their experience and raise awareness. Below is a summary of some of the activities you can find in your area:
Vancouver Island Crisis Society will hold its 10th Annual Soles Remembering Souls walk around the waterfront at Maffeo Sutton Park from 4 pm to 6 pm. Participants are asked to bring a new pair of shoes and/or socks that will be donated locally to those in need. For information, contact Matt Dunae at Mattd@vicrisis.ca
Crisis Centre for Northern BC will offer a free safeTALK workshop at the College of Caledonia. safeTALK helps individuals increase their awareness on how to help when someone is struggling with suicidal thoughts. They will also run a free Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) workshop at the University of Northern BC in honour of World Suicide Prevention Day, and will be handing out ribbons from the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention with Random Acts of Kindness cards from Living Works.
East Kootenay Crisis Line will hold an open door event from 7 pm to 9 pm, offering information, resources and live streaming “Mysterious Barricades”, an 18 hour musical marathon aimed at raising awareness and encouraging public discourse about the prevalence of suicide and measures for suicide prevention. See the event website for details: http://www. mysteriousbarricades.org/.
Williams Lake & Area Crisis Line will take part in a suicide awareness lunch and workshop, held at the Seniors Activity Centre from 11.30 am. Call: 250-398-822 for details.
PIN Crisis Line (Canadian Mental Health Association of Vernon & District) will offer a safeTalk workshop on September 12th. They will also run a 2 day Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) workshop on September 22 and 23. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
If you are concerned about suicide, either for yourself or someone you know, now is the time to reach out by calling 1-800-784-2433. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer and supporting people in need in your community, contact CLABC at email@example.com.
The Crisis Line Association of BC (CLABC) is the provincial association representing member crisis lines from across BC. The organization, formed in 1998, is dedicated to ensuring that every person in BC has access to the needed emotional support and critical services that crisis lines provide. CLABC developed two provincial networks: 1800SUICIDE and 310Mental Health Support, enhancing immediate access to 24-hour crisis line services for anyone at anytime from anywhere in BC.
For more information see http://www.crisislines.bc.ca or contact Jason Chare, CLABC Provincial Network Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org