Learning facts could help save lives

Prevention: Event also provides opportunity to honour and remember those who chose suicide.

Pain, fear and despair overwhelm hope and lead some to take their own lives.

“It is almost always preventable through caring, compassion, commitments and community,” says Monica Kriese, co-ordinator of Monday’s Suicide Prevention event to be held at Marine Park.

“Preventing suicides and supporting those who have experienced a loss is what we need to know more about.”

The Shuswap Suicide Prevention Committee is working to reduce suicide and its impact in the Shuswap.

“We want to end the silence. We want to ease the suffering, to heal our communities and our neighbours,” says Kriese. “Some of us are survivors of loss, some of us have been depressed and felt hopelessness. Among us, we have lost children, parents, family members, neighbours, friends, patients. We want to end the silence and prevent others from experiencing such loss.”

The Shuswap Suicide Prevention Committee includes a number of agencies – School District #83, Interior Health, Mental Health, RCMP, Hospice, Okanagan College and other community groups who support families dealing with suicide.

Kriese says one of the most important aspects of the committee is that it has broad representation and is looking at shortcomings in the area regarding suicide.

Members are trying to find better ways to promote suicide prevention with education and awareness programs.

On Sept. 10, the committee is  hosting World Suicide Prevention Day.

“We will be remembering those who have died by suicide, support and acknowledge those who grieve and promote suicide awareness and local suicide prevention initiatives,” says Kriese.  “There are a number of ways you can help:

• Share the event information with people in your group/organization or contact list to let them know about the World Suicide event next Monday and that there is help available should anyone need it.

• Take family and friends to the special memorial ceremony, where emotional supports will be in place for those who may need it.

• Soles for Souls – Drop off a new pair of shoes to the Shuswap Family Resource Centre at the corner of Alexander and Trans-Canada Highway in memory of someone who died by suicide.

The shoes will be on display Sept. 10 to remember those who died by suicide and then distributed to people in need in our community. You can also take a pair of shoes with you to Monday’s event.

• If you’d like to volunteer for this event or would like more information, contact Monica at 250-833-6100 or send an email to monica@forcesociety.com.

• Join the event on Facebook at www.facebook.com/events/434526843234059/.

World Suicide Prevention Day in Salmon Arm begins at 5 p.m., with a barbecue and an opportunity to get information from several booths.

Hosted by the local chapter of the Canadian Mental Health Association, the barbecue is available by donation to CMHA.

The special remembrance ceremony will be held from 6 to 7 p.m.

If you know someone who is feeling suicidal, call the Interior Crisis Line Network – 1-888-353-CARE ( 2273).