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Agencies gather in Bell Park for World Suicide Prevention Day

Event aimed to raise awareness that talking about suicide is the best way to prevent it and spread the message that there are services available in Sudbury if or someone you love is struggling

No one likes to talk about suicide, but that is exactly what we need to do more of, the co-chair of prevention with the Suicide Safer Network.

Micheline Lavallée was one of the organizers of the World Suicide Prevention Day event held in Bell Park near the Elizabeth Street gazebo on Sept. 10. 

The Suicide Safer Network of Sudbury and Manitoulin (SSN) is a web-based resource that brings together community members, survivors of suicide, front-line professionals, educators and organizations to connect people at risk and their loved ones to resources and supports.

Lavallée said a big message the network, and all agencies that provide mental health services, want people to understand is one of the best defences against suicide is conversation.

“We’re hoping to dispel the taboo about talking about suicide — talking saves lives (because) people are suffering in silence,” she said.

Various agencies took part in the event, which began with opening remarks, a smudging and a song. Compass Child & Youth Mental Health Services, the Northern Initiative for Social Action (NISA) and Nogdawindamin Family and Community Services were on hand providing activities and resources as well.

SSN said roughly 11 people die by suicide every day in Canada. 

For every death by suicide, at least seven to 10 survivors are significantly affected by the loss. 

“The grief just builds,” Lavallée said, which makes intervention and prevention so important, but it also makes what she called “post-vention” important because after a person takes their own life, their immediate loved ones are at an increased risk for suicide for months or even years afterward

SSN said the World Suicide Prevention Day event offers community members the opportunity to learn, heal, and memorialize in a welcoming setting.

“Many people don’t realize the magnitude of the impact that suicide has on a community. This day is about bringing awareness through a lens of prevention, as well as providing a moment of healing and reciprocity for those who have been impacted by suicide." said Mark Fraser, director of clinical and client services at Compass and a member of SSN.

Activities that were offered included rock painting with messages of hope, a resource fair of local mental health and addiction services, yoga, and more.

Anyone needing support can call the Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566 or Connex Ontario at 1-866-531-2600.