CORNWALL, Ontario – Thursday, Sept. 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. This year’s theme for World Suicide Prevention Day is “Working together to prevent suicide”.
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) offers many local resources and participates in local partnerships to help raise awareness of the many services that are offered and is working to remind those who are going through a difficult time in their lives that they matter and that there is help.
Stephen Douris is a survivor of suicide and depression. In the early 90s after financial difficulties Douris attempted suicide, but aborted the attempt. His then girlfriend now wife helped him find the help he needed and he decided that he wanted to make a difference and help others.
“Don’t be ashamed to reach out,” he said. “There is so much help out there right now.”
A new avenue of help that has been developed by the CMHA in partnership with two local youth is designed to help schools and students provide support to those who are in a dark place in their lives.
Allyson Ayotte and Shannon Martens worked together to make a Well Being club at their school, La Citadelle, in Cornwall.
“We wanted to give students a place of security to let them talk to others who might have the same problems, or are just in need of a connection,” said Ayotte. “It is the idea that you are never alone in the world.”
Ayotte took Suicide Prevention Training, and the CMHA partnered with her, and the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) to deliver this program in schools across the area.
The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed these plans, but this year will be the first year the Well Being club will be offered at La Citadelle.
Additionally, the CMHA and EOHU have built a new online resource called Ride the Wave. The website hosts several resources that offer help and advice to those in need or those seeking to help others.
Angele D’Alessio of CMHA offered some advice to those who want to help prevent suicide in the form of the acronym TALK: Tell someone when you are not okay/ tell someone on someone else’s behalf; Ask if something is wrong; L: Listen; Keep the person safe.
Allyson Ayotte and Shannon Martens both were recognized with a certificate of recognition from LivingWorks Education for helping to build Suicide-Safer-Communities.