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Suicide prevention focus of Lethbridge workshop

World Suicide Prevention Day will be marked Wednesday, Sept. 10 at Lethbridge Public Library.
The day-long prevention workshop sponsored by the Community Interagency Suicide Prevention Council is free of charge and runs from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
People can attend individual sessions throughout the day, or take in the whole day of speakers and presentations.
Lethbridge Family Centre co-ordinator Brad Moser will make opening remarks at 10 a.m. in the library’s theatre room.
Lethbridge Family Services outreach and education co-ordinator John Thompson will speak at 10:10 a.m. about men and suicide and supporting help-seeking behaviour.
Tina Fielding and Trudy Reimer of Alberta Health Services community health will speak at 10:50 a.m. about suicide in the Lower German speaking Mennonite community.
From 11:30 a.m. to 12 noon Carmen Guenther of Lethbridge Family Services will facilitate the video presentation “Confessions of a Depressed Comic” by Kevin Breel.
Trevor Brown, the Building Bridge co-ordinator for Lethbridge Family Services, will speak on the topic “Creating Safe Space: Youth and Suicide” at 12:10 p.m.
Crisis support services in Lethbridge will be discussed at 12:50 p.m. by Megan Williamson of Community Mental Health and Sherri Bennett of the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Psychologists Mark Slomp and Jennifer Ellis-Toddington will talk about suicide prevention among post-secondary students beginning at 1:30 p.m.
Melissa Wilde of the Jack Ady Cancer Centre and St. Michael’s social worker Tracey Anderson will address suicide and the terminally ill at 2:10 p.m.
The workshop wraps up at 2:50 p.m. with a presentation by Sarah Amies of Lethbridge Family Services on suicide among immigrant populations.
There will be display booths and light snacks will be provided. People who plan to stay for the day should bring a bag lunch.
World Suicide Prevention Day is co-sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO).
WHO estimates one million people die by suicide in the world each year, and more than 400 people in Alberta die by suicide every year.
Suicide claims more lives than motor vehicle collisions.
Alberta has the fourth highest suicide rate among Canadian provinces with more than 400 deaths reported each year.
Albertans can play a role in preventing suicide by knowing and recognizing the warning signs, including:
• Talking about suicide.
• Making statements about hopelessness, helplessness or worthlessness.
• Showing a loss of interest in pleasurable activities.
• Personality changes.
• Becoming cheerful after a period of depression, which may mean an individual has already made the decision to escape his or her problems through suicide.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call Health Link Alberta at 1-866-408-5465 or the Mental Health help line at 1-877-303-2642, which are available 24 hours a day.

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