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Talking about mental health could help with suicide prevention: SPRC

Taking the time to learn about mental health could cut down on the number of suicides. Events will be held in cities all over the country to raise awareness for World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10.

Suicide Prevention Resource Centre Program Coordinator Faris Atkinson says that in Alberta, between 500 and 580 people die by suicide each year and most of those people are men.

“In Alberta about 75 percent of people who die by suicide are male and a lot of them are in their working years. For every one person that dies by suicide, there’s probably 25 to 30 who attempt it.”

The centre has been organizing events to raise awareness for the day since 2007. This year they will be hosting their sixth annual From Darkness to Light walk on September 8.

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“We start before the sun comes up and walk into the rising sun. Were walking for someone that we’ve loved and lost. We’re walking for people who are living with mental illness and we’re walking to show our support and lift the stigma.”

People who can’t participate in any of the local events can still help. Atkinson says that people should take the time to really learn about mental health and suicide. She also says if people are concerned about a friend or family member, the best thing they can do is ask the person how they’re feeling.

“When someone may be thinking of suicide there are some things that are in place. They are feeling helpless, hopeless and worthless but the best way to know is to ask them.”

Atkinson says people should take advantage of the resources out there including their mental health helpline, which can be reached at 1877-303-2642.

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