Free sessions offered to teach people to recognize suicide risk

Free sessions offered to teach people to recognize suicide risk

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) on P.E.I. is offering several free sessions to teach people to recognize when someone is at risk of suicide.

Tayte Willows, CMHA's community development program manager, will help to deliver the safeTALK program.

'Be helpfully nosey'

"SafeTALK is a program that's been designed to really be a community based program so that every individual has the opportunity to learn to recognize the signs of suicide, as well as learn how to connect someone who might be struggling with support so they can get help," she said. 

Willows said the safeTALK program tries to break down the barriers and social stigma associated with suicide. 

She said many people enter the program feeling scared or uncertain about what they are going to get out of it, and end up having learned valuable lessons.

"At the end, most of their feedback says, I didn't realize how simple this could be. I didn't realize how straight forward, how easy this process can be for me to introduce into my life, so that I can make sure my friends and family are safe."

She said suicide is especially important to discuss in P.E.I.

"We sometimes have the idea of your business is your business. Teaching people to be helpfully nosey, and to be curious about the people that they love so that they can step in, in ways that may be helpful."

Moo Let's Talk

Willows said the sessions are being funded through a recent effort to honour a young Prince Edward Islander.

"Moo Let's Talk was started by the Driscoll family and Cow's Creamery in memory of Jason Driscoll who died by suicide the year prior," she said.

"So this was an outpouring by our community to say this is something we care about and want to support so we wanted to use those resources to train them and better equip them coming forward."

The Moo Let's Talk day last March raised more than $35,000 dollars.

The free sessions begin next week in Charlottetown, Summerside and Montague and will be hosted by the Public Library Service.

To participate you can call CMHA or get in touch through their Facebook page.

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