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In the aftermath of five young people taking their lives, residents of the southwestern Ontario city struggle to understand the tragedy and strive to implement long-term support for youth as a critical preventative intervention.
Ian Manion, Director of Youth Mental Health Research at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, recommends framing the issue as a “teachable moment” for suicide prevention in the future, putting emphasis on a community’s capacity to identify mental illness early, to provide access to mental health services, and to promote a holistic sense of mental well-being.
“Canadian communities need an array of services to help prevent suicides,” Manion said, “and it’s essential to involve youth in co-creating solutions. Engaging young people in meaningful ways actually reduces the risk of suicide. When young people feel that they’re part of something bigger than their problems, they actually feel more supported and they’re at less risk for a whole bunch of things, including suicide.”
If you’d like to learn more about how you can help persons at risk of suicide, please visit our Community Gatekeeping Training website. The program is offered across British Columbia through the Canadian Mental Health Association and follows research-informed curriculum to increase knowledge, skill and willingness to intervene in cases of suicidal ideation.
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