Klinic Community Health Centre wants those who are contemplating suicide to know that “You are not alone.”
The theme this year is “working together to prevent suicide.”
“I think suicide can be a very difficult topic to think about, to talk about,” explained Rosemarie Gjerek, Director of Counselling and Community Health with the Centre.
The centre held an outdoor event at Vimy Ridge Park Monday afternoon, allowing people to share stories and learn about resources in the community.
There was also a meditative walk of remembrance and drumming by the Dream Catchers Program.
“What we’re trying to do today is give people some skills and some information. It can be as simple as if you see someone in your life, a friend, family member a colleague, who you know is going through a difficult time, or you’re seeing something different in them, it’s as simple as just reaching out and saying ‘Hi. How are you? How are you doing? Can we talk?”
Gjerek added it’s important to realize that suicide is something many people grapple with.
“It really hits us all. You can be someone who is very well known in the media, you can be someone who is an average citizen, you can be younger, you can be older, you can be anybody really. It just something that touches us all.”
The number of people calling the Manitoba Suicide Prevention and Support Line is also increasing, said Gjerek. The 24-hour crisis line is run by trained crisis counselors from Klinic Community Health.
“We are getting an average of about 10,000 calls a year from people who are feeling suicidal or dealing with that. Certainly the more we talk about this, the more we present it, the more we identify ways that you can reach out for help, I think the better.”
Kris Goodman, organizer of Breaking the Silence Suicide Awareness Ride, presented Klinic with a cheque for just over $1,100. That money was raised during Saturday’s third annual motorcycle ride.
Goodman not only lost a coworker, but both his daughter and son’s best friends took their own lives.
He said he started the ride because he wanted to show people they are not alone.
“There are other options, you don’t need to take your life, there are people to call, there are supports out there. People need to start talking about it. It’s not something you need to keep buried anymore,” Goodman said.
Goodman also sells patches that say “lean on me.”
“I sell those for $10 a piece,” Goodman said. “If someone has issues and they see somebody with that patch on, they know they’ll open their ears and listen to them. Because sometimes that’s all it takes, just an open ear and somebody to talk to.”
Goodman has raised more than $5,000 so far.
The most important message people can take away from world suicide prevention day is that there is hope, and if people work together they can prevent suicide, he said.
“Don’t be afraid to ask, don’t be afraid to reach out if you are someone who is experiencing some difficulties and having thoughts of suicide please call the crisis lines. If you are someone who has someone in your life that is grappling with that, please call for support and help and resources.”