The group behind the new Growing Mental Wellness initiative has decided to take immediate action, and help youth in Niagara-on-the-Lake with a suicide alertness workshop.
GMW is aimed towards youth in our community who are in need of mental health support, and find themselves falling through the cracks. Red Roof Retreat will be housing the program, and is co-ordinating this workshop as a launch event in partnership with the Family Mental Health Support Network of Niagara.
On Monday Nov. 26, anyone 15 or older is encouraged to attend a free safeTALK workshop at the community centre, from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Karen Post, GMW program co-ordinator, says, “This is so important because sometimes you don’t realize what’s right under your nose until it’s too late.” In this case, “too late” can be fatal.
This workshop teaches people how to identify suicidal thoughts and tendencies in others, including family members, friends, classmates, colleagues — and even strangers. Once identified, resources are offered so participants will know how to connect people with the support they need.
“We talk about mental health and we talk about being supportive. This is one way to start that action,” says Bethany Poltl of the Lord Mayor Youth Advisory Council, who intends to attend the event.
The safeTALK program was developed in 2006 and has been used in more than 20 countries. The Niagara facilitator is Dan Silver, a family mental health counsellor.
The Growing Mental Wellness program will continue to expand as needs arise in the community, says Steffanie Bjorgan.
If you are in need of immediate mental health support, there are options available for you. Pathstone Mental Health has a 24/7 crisis hotline at 1-800-263-4944. The Pathstone website also has many resources.
Distress Centre Niagara phone lines are open 24/7: 905-688-3711.
Kid’s Help Phone can be reached at 1-800-668-6868. https://kidshelpphone.ca/ is comprehensive and helpful, with a number of resources, including live chat.