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CMHA ready to recognize World Suicide Prevention Day

by Sylene Argent

On September 10, individuals and organizations from all over the world– including the Canadian Mental Health Association of Windsor-Essex County, will recognize World Suicide Prevention Day as a way to raise awareness about the issue.

  On September 10, and throughout the whole month, a light is shed on suicide prevention and those who died are remembered, Kim Willis, Director of Communications for the Canadian Mental Health Association of Windsor-Essex County, said. Family members of those who chose suicide are also supported.

  The annual World Suicide Prevention Day is also an opportunity to teach the community about the issue and about services available to those who need help.

  In 2016, 37 deaths were caused by suicide in the region. Men are at a 3.3 times higher rate compared to women, with the men 40-50 age group being the most predominant, followed by men after the age of 80.

  In 2009, Willis added, suicide was the second leading cause of death in individuals in the 15-34 age group for males and females.  

  This local organization offers the region over 20 different programs and services for those with a mental illness.

  Through one of those programs, the Sole Focus Project, the Canadian Mental Health Association has been able to be proactive as it relates to mental health with education, training, and raising awareness, Willis noted.

  With the Sole Focus Project, the Canadian Mental Health Association has been able to head out to area workplaces and organizations to provide suicide prevention and education training.

  Requests for the program, Willis noted, has been increasing, which has allowed the local organization an opportunity to connect with community members about the topic.

  Willis noted some of the programming focuses on what signs to look for that signify someone may be in need of help. The biggest sign is change in behavior, Willis noted, adding an example would be if someone was once outgoing but has become introverted or has started to isolate his or herself.

  It also offers workshops for individuals who know someone dealing with a mental health issue.

  Willis noted that 20 percent of the population is dealing with a mental illness. And, thanks to programming and raising awareness about mental health issues, she believes great strides have been made in getting ride of any stigmas.

  Many younger people, she added, have no stigma attached to metal health as they have grown up in an environment where they want their mental health to be taken care of.

  The Canadian Mental Health association, Willis added, will continue to lobby the government for mental health needs in the area as demand exceeds the help available in many instances. It is also working with community partners to address wait times to ensure resources available are used the best way possible.

  Navigating the mental health system, she added, can be onerous.

  In addition, the Canadian Mental Health Association has resources to support individuals in need with online resources. It also has immediate help for those who need it. The Crisis & Mental Wellness Centre, she added, is another place those with mental health issues can turn to. There, an assessment will be completed so the appropriates services can be made available in a timely fashion.

  As part of recognizing World Suicide Prevention Day, the movie “H.O.P.E –Hold. On. Pain. Ends,” will be premiered at the Canadian Mental Health of Windsor-Essex County facility in the city, beginning at 3:30 p.m.

  Essex’s Matthew Luppino, a multi award-winning filmmaker who is known for making films in the drama and romance genres, wrote, produced, edited, directed, and acted in the film, along with his fiancé, Laura Holman.

  The film is 13-minute PSA.

  “I always knew wanted to create a story like this. As a survivor of suicide and long-time battler of depression I knew I wanted to tell the story. It was just a matter of when,” Luppino said in a previous interview of setting out to start work on this project that was very near and dear to him.

  On September 29, the Canadian Mental Health Association of Windsor-Essex will host a walk at the St. Clair College Sportsplex. Willis is hoping for a great turnout. Around 750 participated in last year’s event. This is another way to raise awareness about the issue and provide support, she noted.

  For more information about the Canadian Mental Health Association and its programs, log onto https://windsoressex.cmha.ca/

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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