A colourful kite soaring above earth, but connected by a string, is a symbol of hope.
"The kite has been a symbol for suicide prevention in Canada," said Christine Longford, community mental health child/adolescent worker with Southern Health-Santé Sud.
To mark World Suicide Prevention Day on Sept. 10, community groups and local school staff and students in the region will participate in kite-flying events to raise awareness of suicide prevention resources and support. Events are planned in Elie, Portage la Prairie, Carman, Swan Lake First Nation and Winkler.
Longford said the kite shows how important it is for people to be connected to their families, friends and communities even as they pursue their dreams. It can also serve as a way to remember those who died by suicide.
"By bringing various community members and organizations together, we can promote resiliency and encourage conversation around mental wellness, care for each other and stay connected," said Longford.
"We want to focus on prevention," she added. "There’s someone out there who will listen."
She urges anyone who has suicidal thoughts to not be afraid to seek help. The Mental Health Crisis Line is available toll-free at 1-866-588-1697.
For more information, visit suicideprevention.ca