Members of the Suicide and Sudden Death (SSD) Committee are trying to bring the sensitive topic of suicide out in the open next week with the upcoming event, Staying Alive: Battle for Life concert and gathering.
“It’s a taboo subject. People try to avoid it and that’s part of the problem,” says Bettina Schoen, chair of the SSD committee and manager of the Family Solutions program at Canadian Mental Health Association, Cariboo Chilcotin Branch.
“We want to get this information out so people will talk about it.”
The event will start as a solemn occasion at Boitanio Park at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25 with a moment of silence near Ringwood Theatre at a memorial tree, which was planted by the city to recognize World Suicide Prevention Day.
From there, participants will walk to Lake City Secondary School where the mood will shift to a more upbeat concert and gathering in LCSS common area with food and refreshments as well as popular musical entertainers and skits to help get the message across that everyone can make a difference in the lives of those considering suicide.
“In hindsight, you can often see the signs (leading to suicide) … there’s a lot we can do,” says Schoen.
She says for those who suspect a member of their family, peer group or workplace is suicidal, it is critical to follow the ABCs: Act now, Be supportive, Call for help.
Williams Lake loses five people on average every year to suicide. Nationally, 4,000 people die every year due to suicide.
Performers who will be on hand after school Wednesday to help get the message across include Blue, Jesaja Class and the youth band Beautifully Haunting.
“The kids will love them, they’re very loud,” Schoen says of the band.
As well as students, parents are also encouraged to attend the event to learn more about the warning signs of suicide.
“The more we are aware of it the more we can do.”