By Marianne Curtis
The South Eastman Regional Suicide Prevention Committee was busy during the month of April addressing suicide prevention throughout the region by launcing the “Out of the Blue Campaign”.
The committee, which is funded by Manitoba Health was organized to address suicide prevention by providing education and skill development to the community and to service providers.
Chaired by the South Eastman Health’s Mental Health Promotion and Illness Prevention Coordinator, members of the committee include community agencies, public health as well as mental health organizations, youth, faith-based organizations and people affected by or concerned about suicide.
“With the participation of the schools, RHA, and their communities, we will become a model-region in mental health awareness,” explains Leona Doerksen, Mental Health Promotion and Illness Prevention with South Eastman Health. “Each person will know how to get help if they or someone they know is feeling suicidal. There is no problem too big and suicide is never the solution.”
The objective of the program is to increase awareness and develop broad-based support for positive mental health. It also stresses that suicide is preventable through a focus on education and positive mental health. It is expected to reduce the stigma associated with mental health and support community driven suicide awareness and prevention programs.
A variety of activities and programs have been launched throughout the region to bring awareness in suicide prevention where it is needed most. As part of the program, five schools, representing five school divisions in five communities, stretching across the entire South Eastman region will have an opportunity to participate in a mental health awareness/suicide prevention presentation.
Another facet is the Blue Awareness Activities that are encouraging communities and organizations to adopt a “blue” theme that will eventually be judged. Awards will be given for the most successful campaigns.