September 20th, 2019

Suicide Prevention Day brings topic to the forefront


By Bobinec, Greg on September 11, 2019.

Psychologist Dawn McBride uses a geode rock as an illustration during her presentation on hope as part of a World Suicide Prevention Day event Tuesday at the Lethbridge Public Library. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Greg Bobinec

Lethbridge Herald

gbobinec@lethbridgeherald.com

World Suicide Prevention Day is an internationally recognized event designed to raise awareness and to prevent suicide.

On Tuesday, Lethbridge joined the world by coming together at the Lethbridge Public Library downtown to spread the awareness and education.

Suicide affects people of all ages, ethnicities and genders. Every year, more Albertans die by suicide than motor vehicle collisions.

“We are having eight presenters who are throughout the day presenting on suicide prevention,” says psychologist Brad Moser. “We have some professionals who are talking about suicide prevention, and then we have some people who have a personal connection to suicide and talking about their experiences and how they found hope.”

The library was full of resources for people to access for different types of care and support for dealing with thoughts and actions of suicide, to being the support system for someone in need.

Presenters broke down the taboo topic that many don’t like to think about. Some of the topics covered included the history of suicide prevention in Alberta, suffering in silence, surviving suicide, and loving your significant other after suicide.

“It is still a little bit of a taboo topic and this is why this event is so important because we need to talk about suicide,” says Moser. “This is Lethbridge’s opportunity to come together on Suicide Prevention Day to talk about these important things and we have been doing this every year for the last decade.”

Dawn McBride, a registered psychologist and associate professor at the University of Lethbridge explored the meaning of hopelessness, understanding it, and working through the path to find out what hope means to an individual.

“Today is Suicide Prevention Day around the world and I was talking about how do psychologists work with hopelessness using music and art,” says McBride. “It is absolutely important to be aware of suicide. It exists, we have one of the highest rates of suicide around, and suicide is connected to hopelessness, and hopelessness means you don’t want to talk about it, but we need to talk about suicide and the thoughts of suicide so that we can intervene.”

Albertans can access mental health services and supports at Alberta Health Services sites across the province. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, reach out for help. Call Health Link at 811, or the Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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