Suicide is an issue that needs to come out of the shadows and into the light of discussion.
“Communication and collaboration are the most important aspects of suicide prevention,” says Tracey Lee, one of the Suicide and Sudden Death Committee members who helped to organize the Staying Alive: Battle for Life suicide prevention gathering of teens taking place this afternoon at Lake City Secondary’s Williams Lake Campus.
“Suicide is not something that should be secret or hidden,” adds Janice Breck, who is putting on a skit with Lee for the students to raise awareness about suicide.
In their skit they developed a scenario where a teenage girl who is normally outgoing, is suddenly quiet and withdrawn.
Her friend expresses concern and learns that the girl is going through the breakup of her parents and that her boyfriend is cheating on her at the same time. The friend offers support and suggests the girl talk to a counsellor as well, which she admits she did a year earlier when she was going through her own crisis.
Approximately 200 students in grades 10, 11 and 12 are participating in the workshop.
“It is very exciting for the committee that the event will be held within school hours for the first time,” Lee says.
The committee is working to let students know that they are not alone. Help is available.
“There’s lots of hope, suicide is absolutely preventable if the right people are there to support the individual,” says committee chair Bettina Egert. “It might be just that one person listening who may change a person’s mind.”
The dance group Project Soul from Vancouver will kick off the workshop with a performance for the students, then give another performance in the evening for families from 6 to 7 p.m. in the LCSS WL campus commons.
“Suicide is such a taboo subject that we really needed something special to pull the kids in,” Egert says.
During the event information will be provided to the students on the warning signs of suicide, what to say to someone they think may be contemplating suicide, and how to refer the individual for help.
Students will watch a video called You Matter – My Mental Health Journey by Brent Seal and participate in various interactive activities.
Snacks will be provided and students will be asked to fill out a survey at the end of the workshop on how helpful they felt the information provided was to them. The workshop is provided thanks to generous funding from the United Way.