Serena Anagbe / Photo Editor
The flag raising in Harmony Square.
A flag-raising ceremony, organized by Suicide Prevention Brant for World Suicide Prevention Day, took place in Harmony Square on Sept. 7.
The ceremony, along with two more ceremonies at the council building and the Brant County Health Unit, took place to spread awareness about World Suicide Month and World Suicide Prevention Day on Sept. 10.
Among the approximate 20 audience members were representatives from Woodview Mental Health and Autism Service and the Canadian Mental Health Association, along with Mayor Kevin Davis.
This year’s theme is Creating Hope Through Action, which includes, “The small things that we do either with coworkers or family or friends, we see they’re struggling, and you don’t ignore it,” said Davis.
“There is a taboo about talking about suicide, it makes people feel uncomfortable and all that does is it contributes to the feeling of isolation,” he said.
On Nov. 30, a 988 crisis line will be available to Canadians. People can talk to or text trained counsellors if they experience suicidal thoughts and want to talk to someone. The line has already been active in the United States for over a year.
“The research clearly shows that suicide is a preventable tragedy, and that’s the emphasis, prevention,” said Davis.
According to Statistics Canada, 12 people die from suicide every day.
“Suicide prevention is everyone’s business,” said Lill Petrella, the team lead of mental health promotion and education from the CMHA.
Students at Wilfrid Laurier University should, “Make sure that we’re actually talking about it so we can support our peers better,” said Eugenia Garcia-Pena, a fourth-year social work student. She said the ceremony made her, “More aware that I can have that conversation and it would be okay.”
Suicide Prevention Brant raised awareness all last year with, “Meetings that we have and initiatives that we take,” said Petrella.
“Through bringing awareness, we are promoting safe talks in the community, we have assist trainers within our agency that support individuals,” said Nicole Schween, the program manager at Woodview Mental Health and Autism Services.
“We’re very happy that you’re here and we want you to stay here, so please take advantage of the resources that are out there,” said Petrella.
The Suicide Prevention Brant website and Facebook page have “all that information about how to access these resources and how to get a hold of people from suicide prevention,” said Petrella.
Laurier’s Student Wellness Centre provides mental health support and counselling. This service is included in students’ tuition and is accessible in-person or through online appointments.