Another meeting for families to discuss suicide, mental health

Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
·2 min read

School communities from the surrounding area will come together once again to talk about the suicide crisis in Medicine Hat.

The meeting comes on the heels of one held earlier this month with trauma expert Kevin Cameron.

“We need to create opportunities for meaningful conversations with kids,” he said before the first meeting. “I’m also going to talk about the trauma response continuum. If things are going well in a parent’s life, they may not think to check in on their kids while things are going well. It’s important to monitor their behaviour and again – talk to them.”

The new meeting is slated Nov. 4 from 7-8 p.m. All parents, caregivers and school staff are invited to the virtual event.

Since the first meeting, school-based psychology teams have been working with parents to address a number of themes. Some of them include: concerns around COVID and school closures, understanding grief, impact of social media on youth and helping those who aren’t ready for help.

The meeting will feature two school division psychologist speakers, MHPSD’s Claire Petersen and Prairie Rose’s Greg Godard.

Petersen spoke with MHPSD’s board of trustees Tuesday evening and shared information gathered from the first event.

“Mental health has been at the forefront of the community since the beginning of the pandemic,” she said. “We’ve had lots of students and families who have experienced loss since the start of COVID. The recent events in our community have really intensified that the impact of the pandemic.

“The first meeting was to see where we were at as a community, now we’re going to look at what exactly our response will be.”

The second event will be smaller and more intimate. Once it is done, new events will be planned for parents and guardians of students in different age groups.

“If people felt like we missed something the first time, they can ask at this event,” said Petersen. “Now that people have more information, they may be better suited to ask questions.”

There will be no registration required. Anyone looking to attend can check the public school division’s website for a link, which will be posted a day before the meeting.

People can submit questions online through the MHPSD website.

Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News