A cup supporting a magnet with emergency phone numbers. The magnets are part of the Town’s mental health campaign detailing the supports available to residents. (Photo Submitted)

A cup supporting a magnet with emergency phone numbers. The magnets are part of the Town’s mental health campaign detailing the supports available to residents. (Photo Submitted)

Town of Sylvan Lake spotlights mental health supports in new campaign

Canada records roughly 11 suicides each day, on average

Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) with the Town of Sylvan Lake has begun a mental health campaign to help showcase the supports available and diminish stigmas associated with mental health.

Heather Sweetnam, community development coordinator with FCSS, says the hope is to show locals who are feeling the strain on their mental health that they are not alone, and there are supports available to them.

Part of the campaign is to break the stigma associated with mental health, particularly in men. On the Town’s social media channels, local male leaders and Town staff members are advocating for men’s mental health by sharing their photo on social media.

“We have found that among men there is a larger stigma against seeking help, especially for mental health. So, we wanted to show these male leaders and community members are supporting mental health supports,” Sweetnam said.

READ MORE: Sylvan Lake offering Community Helpers training to aide in suicide prevention

The men’s mental health initiative, “Because Duct Tape Can’t Fix Everything,” is just one component of the Town’s mental health campaign, which began in earnest on Dec. 1.

One aspect of the campaign included working with local fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s, Time Hortons. A&W, Dairy Queen and Taco Time. The restauraunts included a sticker with phone numbers to mental organizations that can help in times of need on their coffee cups and take out bags.

FCSS printed 100,000 of these stickers for the restaurants to use.

Sweetnam says those they reached out to were both willing and eager to take part in the campaign.

“I don’t know one person who hasn’t been affected or knows someone who has been affected by the pandemic and mental health issues. That is why this is so important.

“We are looking at different ways to spread the word that help is available and the different resources one can access,” said Sweetnam.

Magnets with the same listings have also been made up and distributed, and hockey boards promoting mental health resources are being made.

FCSS is also planning a youth mental health initiative to be launched in the near future.

On average, in Canada, there are 11 suicides each day. Alberta has the second highest suicide rate of the Canadian Provinces.

According to Statistics Canada, suicide is the second leading cause of death for males aged 15 to 44.

A study by the Public Health Agency of Canada in 2016 shows that suicide is the second leading cause of death in youth ages 10-24. The study indicates motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of death in the same age group.

“With the pandemic we saw our unemployment rate reach eight per cent. With that we expect the suicide rate to increase to 24 per cent as a result,” said Sweetnam.

“We are doing this campaign to show our residents that they are not alone, and that there are a variety of supports available to them.”

Those in need of support can connect with the FCSS Community Support Worker at 403-887-1137 Ext.425 or email communitysupport@sylvanlake.ca. Alternatively you can visit www.sylvanlake.ca/MensHealth or www.sylvanlake.ca/contact-fcss.

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