At city council’s Sept. 8 meeting Mayor Rob Saunders proclaimed Sept. 10 to be World Suicide Prevention Day in Lloydminster.
“Nearly one million people worldwide die by suicide every year. This corresponds to one death by suicide every 40 seconds,” said Saunders, reading the proclamation.
“Alberta has one of the highest suicide rates in Canada. In Alberta, more people die by suicide than by motor vehicle accidents. World Suicide Prevention Day is an ideal time to inspire people to work towards the goal of developing new methods for ending stigma and preventing suicide.”
World Suicide Prevention Day is co-sponsored by the International Association for Suicide Prevention and the World Health Organization. This year’s theme is “Preventing Suicide: Reaching Out and Saving Lives.”
See “Awareness,” Page 14
Walking Through Grief Society facilitator Shirley Scott says reaching out can mean many things.
“To reach out to those at risk and to reach out to families and to reach out to people with resources and to reach out with awareness to reduce the stigma and as well,” she said in council.
“We really appreciate the opportunity to reach out to people. And it takes courage to reach out.”
Neil Harris, a local co-ordinator for Alberta Health Services’ Men at Risk Program, was also present at the meeting. He introduced a short video about a provincial initiative called Keep Him Here. He says the project is about providing resources to start a conversation about suicide awareness and about where people who are struggling can go find help.
“Alberta, as was mentioned, has some of the highest suicide rates in Canada,” Harris said.
“Every year in Alberta suicide takes more than 500 lives. Over 75 per cent of these deaths are men, mainly between the ages of 30 and 69. fathers, brothers, husbands, grandfathers gone from our lives.”
Harris also reminded those in attendance that the Walking Through Grief Society is holding its fifth annual Walk of Remembrance at Bud Miller All Seasons Park on Sept. 12 from 3 to 6 p.m.
“It’s a time for family and friends and co-workers to get together and remember a loved one lost to suicide,” he said.
“We have guest speakers and music and some food and fellowship and it’s just a chance for families to connect with each other and share in some of that loss.”