To mark World Suicide Prevention Day, a special ceremony will be held at Brandon City Hall on Sept. 10.
Organized by the Suicide Prevention Implementation Network (SPIN), it will bring people together to remember those who have died by suicide, support people bereaved by suicide and offer stories of hope.
“There will be a short ceremony to remember those we’ve lost and just to give hope and resiliency,” said Mari Kitching, healthy living facilitator with the Western Regional Health Authority.
Kitching said it’s also a time to let people know what resources are out there and that “hope is always there.”
“Just to make people aware that everybody can make a difference,” Kitching said.
SPIN works to promote public awareness, provide suicide intervention training and support people at risk, as well as those who have lost someone to suicide.
Kitching said it’s important to recognize the warning signs and reach out to a loved one.
“A change of mood and withdrawing into themselves, losing interest in things that they used to like to enjoy, not talking to friends and family … giving away belongings, almost in preparation,” Kitching said.
A suggested way to respond to such warning signs is to be up front.
“One of the most important things … is just to reach out to those people and ask directly, ‘Are you thinking of hurting yourself?’” Kitching said. “Contrary to popular belief, that isn’t going to make them think about it more.”
The next step is to refer the person to appropriate help.
There are many resources in Brandon to draw upon during times of crisis: Westman Crisis Services (1-888-379-7699); Manitoba Suicide Line (1-877-435-7170) and Manitoba Farm & Rural Support Services
(1-866-367-3276 or ruralsupport.ca.)
“One of the neat things (Manitoba Farm & Rural Support Services) has now is online chatting, so you can go to their website and actually chat with somebody,” Kitching said. “I think it gives a little more anonymity.”
According to reasontolive.ca, an estimated 4,000 Canadians take their own lives every year. In Manitoba, the number is approximately 180 per year.
The event on Sept. 10 will be held in the atrium at city hall and is open to all. It will begin at 12:15 p.m. A free community workshop on Suicide Awareness For Everyone (SAFE) will be held from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the provincial building at 340 Ninth St. Visit spinbrandon.ca for more information.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 31, 2012