Alberni residents marked National Suicide Prevention Day on Sept. 10 at Bob Dailey Stadium. (Denise Titian photos)
Kuu-us Crisis Line Society staff invited to public to join them in a walk around the track at Bob Daley Stadium in recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day, which is observed on Sept. 10 every year.
The theme for 2018 World Suicide Prevention Day is, Working Together to Prevent Suicide.
Organized by Ashley Amos, the walk saw local politicians, social services providers, community members and high school student stand together to face the issue of suicide in the community. Amos has been deeply affected by suicide with the loss of two very close people just a few years apart. She urged people to reach out for help for themselves or for their loved ones in times of need.
“Make sure everyone doesn’t feel alone; it’s important to feel supported,” she said.
Hugh Braker welcomed the small crowd to his home territory on behalf of Tseshaht nation. He noted that all communities have been touched by suicide. He said it is important to take measures to stop this thing from happening again.
NTC Vice President Andy Callicum shared a very personal story of his experience with suicide in his own family. A traumatic incident happened while he was still a child and he wasn’t able to reach out for help for himself until eighteen years had passed.
“If you have been affected by suicide or a traumatic event, reach out for help,” he advised. “It will make you a stronger person.”
As the speakers told their stories people in the audience sobbed. For some, the walk had profound meaning.
World Suicide Prevention Day is billed as an opportunity for everyone in the community to join together to promote understanding about suicide and highlight effective prevention activities.
According to WSPD literature, it is estimated that each day in Canada, 10 people end their life and 200 make a suicide attempt. Suicide occurs across all age, economic, social, and ethnic boundaries. The pain that leads individuals to take their lives is unimaginable, and their deaths leave countless family and friends bereaved and their communities impacted.
Port Alberni Mayor Mike Ruttan reiterated the message that people should always reach out for help – for themselves or for others. “We never want to be in a position where we say to ourselves, ‘if only I had said something’,” he said.
He reminded people that the Kuu-us Crisis Line Society is an excellent resource where there is always someone to help.
“Share it, talk about it; it could save a life,” said Ruttan.
Kuu-us Crisis Line Society Executive Director Elia Nicholson-Nave encouraged the walkers to remember individuals or to reflect on their own needs. Each walker was given a yellow ribbon, representative of suicide prevention and awareness.
Kuu-us Crisis Line Society provides a 24 hour Crisis Line service for adults, elders and youth. They provide may other services including support for survivors of suicide.
The goal of World Suicide Prevention Day is to shine a light on this important issue, sending a message to those who are in despair, those who are grieving, and those who are supporting someone who is struggling. WSPD is an opportunity to spread the message that help, hope, and healing are possible. Working together, we can prevent suicide.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the Kuu-us Crisis Line Society to speak to a trained volunteer or to be referred to an appropriate resource. Available 24 hours a day, the Kuu-us Crisis Line has dedicated lines in Port Alberni for adults/elders at 250-723-4050 or child/youth at 250-723-2040.
There is a toll free line that can be called from anywhere in the province of British Columbia at 1-800-588-8717.
Kuu-us Crisis Line Society provides resources and materials to help spread the word about suicide prevention, life promotion, and the potential for hope and healing.