Mayor to proclaim Suicide Prevention Day


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August 25, 2016 12:00 AM

The City of Lloydminster will designate Sept. 10 as World Suicide Prevention Day to recognize and bring awareness to the tragic deaths.

Every year roughly 800,000 people die by suicide, according to the World Health Organization, which translates to nearly 40 people a minute.
On Sept. 1 the City of Lloydminster will sign a proclamation, designating the tenth day of the month as World Suicide Prevention Day to recognize and bring awareness to these preventable deaths.
Neil Harris, who is part of the Walk of Remembrance committee and local coordinator for Alberta Health Services Men at Risk Program, said proclamations like these are important to help remove some of the stigma associated with suicide.
“It helps if the City of Lloydminster sees the importance and the value of more awareness and information around suicide and suicide prevention,” said Harris.
“In the proclamation there’s some information written in it and it talks about this year’s theme for World Suicide Prevention Day, which is ‘Connect, Communicate, Care,’ and how important it is to connect with people who are struggling, and communicate information and awareness, and then provide care— either talking to them or getting them connected to the help that is needed.”
He also works in addiction prevention and mental health promotion for Alberta Health Services and teaches a course called Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, and another called Mental Health First Aid, both of which cover similar topics, so the cause is something he holds close in his day-to-day work.
Harris added Alberta has one of the highest suicide rates in the country, where more people die by taking their own lives than by motor vehicle collisions. 
World Suicide Prevention Day is an ideal time to motivate the public into working toward a goal of coming up with new strategies to end the stigma around suicide, and help prevent occurrences from happening in the first place, Harris said. 
Also, by having Mayor Rob Saunders and city council show their collective belief that this is an important issue, it creates more awareness with residents and gets the public talking about suicide prevention, which Harris said every bit of attention brought to the issue helps. 
“Just having their acknowledgement of this important cause helps to creates more awareness because it says more people are talking about it, getting it out in the open and saying this is a preventable death,” said Harris.
“If there are supports available and people begin to talk and be more open and talk about stress and depression, there’s more hope that suicides can be prevented.”

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