Prince Rupert’s community came together to make connections and raise awareness for suicide prevention.
World Suicide Prevention Day, observed on Sept. 10 every year, took place on the lawn of City Hall for Prince Rupert on Tuesday.
The goal was to create an awareness campaign and provide information on the different organizations present. Those who are thinking of suicide, or know someone suicidal, can reach out to groups such as Foundry, a wellness centre in Vancouver, B.C. Children’s Hospital and different crisis hotlines.
“It is about breaking that stigma of asking for help,” said Joyce Charlton, manager at North Coast Victim Services. “The struggle is ongoing and we want people to be a support for community and [those thinking about suicide] to reach out and not have to battle a stigma when it comes to mental health. Connect with school councillors or adults to get resources. Phone or text a hotline. Reach out to someone you trust and get resources.”
Students from Pacific Coast School, MLA Jennifer Rice, city councillors, RCMP members, mental health professionals and clergymen from the community were among those in attendance.
Candles inscribed with quotes were also given out to attendees who were encouraged to light them at 8 p.m. that evening.
Latest research from the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention shows there were 3,926 suicides in Canada in 2016. In 2015, more than 3,396,000 Canadians over the age of 12 had suicidal thoughts.
In B.C., in 2016, Northern Health Authority had the highest rate of suicide deaths (20 deaths per 100,000 individuals) followed by Interior Health Authority (18 deaths per 100,000 individuals). Overall, the rate of suicide deaths in B.C. was 13 deaths per 100,000 individuals that year.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, depressed, confused, suicidal or just need someone to listen, these distress lines operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Youth Crisis Line: A confidential and anonymous peer support service operated by trained youth answering calls from other youth. They offer an online chat for youth in crisis or in need of information or referrals, open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
250-564-8336 (call or text)
Northern BC Crisis Line: Provides peer support for the people of northern BC. Coverage is from the Alberta border in the east to Haida Gwaii in the west, from Quesnel in the south to the Yukon border to the north.
BC Suicide Line: If you are considering suicide or are concerned about someone who may be, please call.
1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-784-2433
Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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