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Father, USask share ways to help ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day

Click to play video: 'Father, USask share ways to help ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day'
Father, USask share ways to help ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day
WATCH: Ahead of world suicide prevention day, a father shares his experience of losing his daughter, and the University of Saskatchewan helps with mental health issues in the province. Montana Getty has the story – Sep 9, 2022

Teigha Meyers was known to her father, Derek Meyers, as an intelligent, caring and athletic young woman noting she won city medals for badminton and a high school soccer championship alongside her club soccer career.

Meyers noted she would do anything for the people she loved — but she was not able to reach out to say she needed help as well.

“Eventually she succumbed to the pressures,” said Meyers.

Teigha took her own life at the age of 17 in 2020 just 10 days after World Suicide Prevention Day.

“She’s the kid that nobody would have ever thought struggled with mental illness or, you know, the last kid that anyone would have thought would succumb to suicide. You know, she was the poster child for that,” said Meyer.

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Helping those who struggle is now the legacy he hopes to carry on for his daughter.

The month of September is known as many things, one of them being suicide prevention month.

“It is a difficult month for us as a family,” said Meyers.

However, Teigha’s story is not uncommon.

According to Faith Bodnar with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) one in 11 people have thoughts of suicide in their lifetime.

That statistic hits home in Saskatchewan since the province has the highest suicide rate in Canada, and the highest rate of suicide in men ages 14 to 25 in North America.

“Those are devastating statistics,” said Bodnar. “We need to start talking about it and we need to start reaching out to each other to help us deal with some of the issues that people who are thinking about suicide struggle with.”

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Bodnar adds she is not positive why the numbers are higher in Saskatchewan, but she thinks it could be due to a lack of resources, poverty, drug use and the impact of racial differences.

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The University of Saskatchewan (USask) is doing their part to help by releasing a suicide prevention toolkit for anyone in need.

Short and encouraging phrases are used throughout the material such as, “Are you OK?” and “You are not alone.”

The campaign is not only for people at the university, it is also being used by 22 post-secondary institutions in Saskatchewan and is available to the public.

“This information that we’re putting out there, we are hoping, could potentially save a life,” said Student Affairs and Outreach Manager Tracy Spencer.

In addition to being a father, Meyers is a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) in Regina.

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According to him, $1 million of the latest government budget went towards programs like the university’s toolkit, but in his mind, there is still more to be done.

“The conversation needs to continue and there are people out there that are struggling and need to know that there’s a community, there’s friends, there’s family, there’s organizations, there’s government that are all here playing our part, to reach out and help anyone that is struggling, or going through this, or having those sort of thoughts so I think this day is crucially important to reach out to those people and let them know that there is help and there are people who care and we are here for them,” said Meyer.

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His advice is to take the first step, have the tough conversation, and do not be afraid of the word suicide.

“You have to reach out and reach out your hand, don’t wait for them to come take your hand,” said Meyer.

World Suicide Prevention Day is on Sept. 10.

Click to play video: 'Health Matters: World Suicide Prevention Day'
Health Matters: World Suicide Prevention Day

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