Organized by community member Brittany Sande, Ponoka’s third annual Suicide Prevention Walk was held on Sept. 8.
The group of about 45 people met at the Ponoka Arena Complex parking lot. Suicide affects many individuals and families in the Ponoka community and the walk is to raise awareness and bring people together.
Participants could write on a name tag who they were walking for, if they chose. Sande’s name tag simply said “Too many.”
For support or more information on agencies in the area that can assist you in helping your friends or loved ones contact HealthLink at 811 or the Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642. Call 911 if there is an immediate danger.
From Alberta Health Services
Alberta Health Services recognizes September 10 as World Suicide Prevention Day.
Some risk factors include:
– Barriers to accessing social and health services.
– Mental illnesses, such as severe depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or anxiety.
– Traumatic life events, such as the death of a partner or friend, divorce, or financial issues.
– Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse.
– Diagnosis of a serious physical illness.
Warning signs may include:
– Planning or saying they want to hurt or kill themselves or someone else.
– Talking, writing, reading, or drawing about death, including writing suicide notes and talking about items that can cause physical harm, such as pills, guns, or knives.
– Saying they have no hope, they feel trapped, or there is no point in “going on.”
It is important to take any mention of suicide seriously, and to get help right away if someone you know is in immediate risk of suicide:
– Call 911, a suicide hotline (see telephone numbers below), or the police.
– Stay with the person or ask someone you trust to stay with the person, until the crisis has passed.
– Encourage the person to seek professional help.
– Don’t argue with the person (“It’s not as bad as you think”) or challenge the person (“You’re not the type to attempt suicide”).
– Tell the person that you are there to support them. Talk about the situation as openly as possible.