Suicide Prevention Day aims to educate and end stigma

By Sarah Rae
September 8, 2016 - 6:57am

Suicide Prevention Day is this week and there are plenty of ways locals can raise awareness, including just starting the conversation.

Jane Zielke de Montbrun, executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association’s (CMHA) Battlefords chapter, said any kind of dialogue in regards to mental health can be a big help.

“The more that we can educate ourselves on what it means to be mentally healthy, the better off we all are,” she said. “Conversations are always really important when we talk about mental health or mental illness, because people are reluctant to talk about their feelings and what might be going on for them to other people because it can be a scary thing.”

World Suicide Prevention Day is Saturday, Sept. 10. The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention and the CMHA are two of the Canadian organizations involved to raise awareness and promote treatment.

According to the CMHA, roughly 4,000 Canadians die by suicide each year and suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people. Zielke de Montbrun said although many suicide deaths are not preventable, there are warning signs and treatments.

Some prevention strategies include seeking treatment from a medical professional, staying connected to local groups, and building a support network. Some risk factors include a major life change, substance abuse, a major loss and severe physical or mental illness. Warning signs to look out for include hopelessness, recklessness, anger, mood changes and anxiety.

Zielke de Montbrun said the more people become educated about warning signs, risk factors and treatments, there’s a better chance a family member, friend, or acquaintance will recognize someone vulnerable and seek help.

“We need to talk more, we need to have conversations more,” she said. “If we can all do that and talk about how we care about the mental health of our community that is a big step.”

Although the CMHA doesn’t focus just on suicide prevention, Zielke de Montbrun said many of her staff are trained to deal with suicidal thoughts.

There are no events in the Battlefords for Suicide Prevention Day, but the CMHA will be set up at the Discovery Co-op Thursday with information about suicide prevention and CMHA services.


Sarah Rae is battlefordsNOW's court and crime reporter. She can be reached at [email protected] or tweet her @sarahjeanrae.

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