SafeTalk: Friends helping Friends in Emotional Distress

Furthering the Conversation on Suicide Awareness and Prevention Halton Regional Partners band together

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SafeTalk: Friends helping Friends in Emotional Distress

About the Author

Chantal Corner

Chantal Corner

Sergeant Chantal Corner is the Media Relations Officer for the Halton Regional Police Department. She grew up in Oakville and graduated from Loyola. She still resides in Oakville.

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Halton Regional Police, Canadian Mental Health Association – Halton Region BranchReach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK)  partner with Halton Suicide Prevention Coalition to further the conversation on Suicide Awareness and Prevention.

Over the last month there has been a lot of talk and media coverage in the region about how we can address the ever-present issue of suicide.

“Lots of people are talking about suicide, though people may not feel they know how to support someone because of fear and discomfort. Talking about, and being able to identify someone who needs help is something we all have to take part in,” says Constable Kris Elliott of the Crisis Outreach and Support Team (COAST) program.

The enhanced dialogue on this subject with community stakeholders including the Canadian Mental Health Association – Halton Region Branch, the Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK) and the Halton Suicide Prevention Coalition has resulted in a collaborative outreach initiative being offered to Halton Residents called “SafeTALK training”.

SafeTALK is a three-hour alertness workshop that prepares anyone over the age of 15, regardless of prior experience or training, to become a suicide-alert helper. Most people with thoughts of suicide do not truly want to die, but are struggling with the pain in their lives. Through their words and actions, they invite help to stay alive. SafeTALK-trained helpers can recognize these invitations and take action by connecting them with life-saving intervention resources.

Training is on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Halton Regional Centre, 1151 Bronte Rd., Oakville.

If you are interested in joining the conversation and taking the SafeTALK training on July 15, 2015, please dial 311.

“If you suspect someone is suicidal, ask them directly about suicide,” says Dr. Angela Saunders, Director of Clinical Services at ROCK. “Ask if they have a plan. If the person is in crisis and in danger, assist them in getting help. Encourage the person to talk openly about their feelings. Don’t judge. Do not promise to keep their thoughts a secret. Listen and be supportive. “

If you find yourself or a loved one in need of support, COAST provides area residents 16 years of age and over who are experiencing a mental health crisis with immediate outreach and support. It is comprised of crisis intervention specialists and Halton Regional Police Service officers trained in mental health and crisis intervention. Halton’s COAST crisis line at 1-(877)-825-9011 is answered by COAST mental health crisis workers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Help and resources for those under the age assisted by COAST are available through ROCK at (905)-878-9785.

Halton is a strong, diverse, inclusive community and we all have a role to play in breaking the stigma that hovers over mental health and suicide and have those difficult conversations with our loved ones.

“It takes strength for people and families to deal with and overcome mental health challenges. They shouldn’t have to do it alone. We encourage and invite all community members to attend the upcoming SafeTALK as we hope to further work as a community to have an open conversation about suicide,” says Kimberley Clark of HRPS Victim Services Unit.

For a list of Halton Mental Health Resources please see the below link:
http://www.haltonpolice.ca/SpecializedUnits/COAST/Pages/default.aspx

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