By Darren Lum
It takes a community to recognize and intervene with suicides.
Haliburton County is being given an educational opportunity with the Living Works’ suicide alertness program called safeTALK (Suicide Alertness For Everyone Tell Ask Listen Keep safe) offered on Wednesday Dec. 9 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Minden Community Centre 55 Parkside St.
Jack Veitch of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) said the ultimate goal is to have a “suicide safer community.”
This means parents professional caregivers teachers and everybody need to be educated.
“You can think of safeTALK as suicide first aid” he said comparing it to the importance of medical first aid.
“If someone had thoughts of suicide it would be ideal if we had the psychiatrist the clinician the mental health expert there but in the real world that is not always the case so we want to have as many people as possible alert to the possible signs of suicide and know what to do and how they can help in that moment” he said.
He said it was a target of his organization to recognize communities such as Haliburton County that want these kind of educational offerings.
“There was a desire in the Haliburton [County] community to bring these kind of courses. We recognized that again to be able to come out and deliver a course in Minden where people maybe don’t have as much access to courses like that is going to be very helpful especially suicide alert and prevention” he said.
Among the things that will be covered in the three-hour session will be how to recognize whether someone is considering suicide.
“The things we’re going to focus on are different actions you’re going to see statements you may hear feelings you can sense. The biggest thing I try to emphasize to people is really trusting their gut and their instincts. If they really think something is going on with a loved one or somebody close to them or even someone that they are passing to reach out and provide support and connect them with someone that can help” he said.
Other signs include isolation he adds.
The CMHA HKPR Four County Crisis is one such group with individuals who have suicide intervention training that they can connect people with.
Suicide is something everyone needs to be concerned with Veitch says.
“Suicide affects everybody regardless of where they live or regardless of their income regardless of their education or background. This is an issue that impacts everybody and that’s why again bringing this course to as many people is very important” he said.
Pre-registration is required for the evening education. Space is limited. There are only 30 spots available for the session. The cost which is normally $30 is only $20 because materials cost has been subsidized by Team55. Contact Jack Veitch at (705) 748-6687 ext. 1015 or firstname.lastname@example.org.