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Suicide prevention everyone’s responsibility

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It’s never too late to develop the tools you need to overcome thoughts of suicide.

In honour of World Suicide Prevention Day, recognized on Sept. 10, the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) has partnered up with the Mental Health Commission of Canada to provide tools and resources about mental well-being.

They are also hosting a gathering at Vimy Ridge Memorial Park on Sept. 10 from noon to 1 p.m., with activities and food for the public to enjoy.

"Every year one day is set aside to both promote efforts to prevent suicide (and) also to remember and celebrate the lives of those who have died by suicide, and to recognize the suffering and grief of those who have been affected by suicide," said Tim Wall, director of counselling services at Klinic Community Health Centre and executive director for CASP.

Each community across Canada plans its own unique event for World Suicide Prevention Day, calling the community to action.

"It’s not just about doing something one day a year, but motivating people to take action 365 days a year," Wall said, adding that suicide prevention is a responsibility shared by everyone, not just health care professionals.

Wall said there are approximately 150 deaths by suicide in Manitoba each year.
This year, the theme for World Suicide Prevention Day is "hope and resiliency at home and work."

"What we’ve done is, we have developed tools and resources that communities and families and workplaces can use to promote mental wellness," Wall explained.

For example, the "at home" pamphlet looks at how families can have conversations that promote mental health.

There will be a self-compassion practice at Vimy Ridge Memorial Park, in which a self-compassion instructor teaches participants to send out messages of compassion to other people.

"People can learn how to be more self-compassionate and compassionate towards others, and develop our ability to be more self-soothing, especially during times of stress," Wall said.

Following that exercise is the celebration of life, an activity where those in attendance will remember and celebrate the lives of people who have died by suicide and to remember those who are grieving after losing loved ones to suicide.

The final part of the event will be a free community barbecue.

"Another part of being healthy and being safer is to have connections with other people," Wall said. "We hope that this barbecue reminds people of the importance of having a community to belong to."

Wall urges those who are experiencing suicidal thoughts to reach out to the Manitoba Suicide Line at 1-877-435-7170 or to visit reasontolive.ca

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