Become more suicide aware

The Canadian Mental Health Association, in partnership with London Drugs, is urging British Columbians to ask about suicide

In recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day Sunday, the Canadian Mental Health Association, in partnership with London Drugs, is urging British Columbians to ask about suicide and become more suicide aware by going to www.askaboutsuicide.ca.

The focus of CMHA’s Ask About Suicide online awareness campaign is to empower people from all walks of life with the confidence, knowledge and skills to be able to reach out to those most at risk which, statistically, is men in their 40s and 50s.

“People are often afraid to start a conversation about suicide with someone showing signs of distress. But they don’t have to be,” said Julia Payson, CMHA Vernon executive director.

“And you do not have to be a mental health professional to do it. Talking about suicide helps save lives. Learning how to recognize the warning signs and how to ask about suicide are key learnings from the ASIST and safeTALK suicide prevention training CMHA delivers in our community.”

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about suicide and the Ask About Suicide online campaign aims to replace these with facts and practical information for anyone who has concerns that a loved one, colleague, friend, neighbour or even customer may be considering suicide. The campaign seeks to grow sign-ups for suicide prevention training courses being offered around the province.

“People who identify as male are often reluctant to reach out to mental-health services for support and are less likely than women to talk about their feelings with loved ones,” said Payson.

“They try to mask what they are going through until they reach a breaking point. We hope this campaign will equip those who live, work and socialize with these men, and anyone else who shows signs of risk, with the knowledge and skills to intervene and offer support.

CMHA is launching Ask About Suicide in partnership with London Drugs. The partnership involves training local pharmacists to respond to the signs of suicide as well as providing resource materials throughout all of London Drugs’ 80 stores from Manitoba to B.C.

“London Drugs is committed to the health, care and overall well-being of the individuals and families who live and work in the communities we serve,” said Chris Chiew, general manager of pharmacy for London Drugs. “

CMHA Vernon will host safeTALK, suicide prevention training for everyone Sept. 19. For more information, visit www.vernon.cmha.bc.ca

For more information on suicide prevention and awareness and more upcoming training courses, go to www.askaboutsuicide.ca