An event was held on Friday in Winnipeg to mark World Suicide Prevention Day and give people an opportunity to connect with each other.
Friday’s event, hosted by Ace Burpee, included art activities, as well as keynote speakers from a group that developed an Indigenous and youth-led tool kit for life promotion.
Curt Sparkes, co-chair of Winnipeg Suicide Prevention Network, said events like this are important because suicide is an issue that impacts many people, and it’s helpful for people to talk about it.
“When we don’t talk about it, we spend our lives walking around, thinking that it’s just us and we are alone,” he said.
“As soon as we come to an event like this, we learn that actually, we’re not that different from everyone else. Suicide is something that we want to feel connected in and not alone.”
Sparkes added that it’s important to focus on finding ways to counteract difficult feelings, such as feelings of hurt and loneliness.
“How do we counterbalance that and feel hopeful about life, and increase our sense of connection or wanting to be here or even just resilience for getting through times when they’re hard,” he explained.
For those who are struggling, Sparkes said it’s best to reach out and let someone know, whether that’s someone in your own life, going to the Crisis Response Centre, or attending a hospital.
World Suicide Prevention Day takes place on Sept. 10.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or mental health matters, please call Canada’s Talk Suicide at 1-833-456-4566 or Manitoba’s suicide prevention phone line at 1-877-435-7170. The following resources are also available to support people in crisis:
- Hope for Wellness Helpline (English, French, Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktitut): 1-855-242-3310
- Embrace Life Council hotline: 1-800-265-3333
- Trans Lifeline: 1-877-330-6366
- Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868