File Photo

File Photo

Sylvan Lake offering Community Helpers training to aide in suicide prevention

Chelsey Lambert says talking about mental health and suicide is the best way to help bring awareness

Chelsey Lambert is offering suicide prevention training to local residents through the Town’s Community Helpers Program, for which she is the coordinator.

Lambert presented to Town Council about the program at a recent meeting of council.

The Community Helpers Program is a “peer-to-peer helping program” which focuses on supporting youth and young adults. This program promotes mental health, suicide awareness and stigma reduction.

Lambert says suicide is 100 per cent preventable, and to do so the community needs to be able to talk about it openly.

“Mental health checks need to be part of our daily language… It should be, ‘How was your day? How are you feeling mentally?’” Lambert says.

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.

Lambert says it is believed the current leading cause of death is actually suicide.

“We talk about motor driving, everyone knows about the risks of distracted driving, but there is still a stigma when it comes to talking about mental health and suicide,” Lambert said.

Alberta has the third highest rate of suicide in the country, and in 2018 there were over 7,000 Albertans admitted to the hospital for attempted suicide, half of those hospital visits were by youth.

In talking about mental health and suicide, Lambert says it will help to reduce the startling statistics. She also says that talking is a two-way street, and that listening is the other half of the puzzle.

The majority of those who have died by, or attempted, suicide have told someone before it happened.

“Suicide is 100 per cent preventable. We need to be talking about it and not making it taboo.”

“Unfortunately we don’t know the affects COVID-19 will have the suicide rate until much later… We do know that the mental health consequences [like suicidal behaviour] will be felt long after. It is believed it will actually peak later than the actual pandemic.”

A recent survey done in Canada showed six per cent of respondents have had suicidal thoughts during the pandemic and nine per cent of parents with young children said they had had suicidal thoughts.

Lambert says those most likely to have these thoughts and behaviours are those with a pre-existing mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety.

However, she says the COVID-19 pandemic may bring out suicidal thoughts and behaviours in those without these disorders because of the uncertainty, social isolation and economic problems the pandemic has brought on.

“Suicide is a significant issue that affects everyone… and can be prevented.”

Lambert has been leading training to community members and Town of Sylvan Lake staff in how to talk about mental health and suicide and work with people who may be suffering.

Lambert offers two training options, one is a full day course to become a certified Community Helper, and the other is a two hour presentation on suicide prevention.

Currently, Lambert is working with youth in the high school who are Ment-to-Matter Mentors, as well as Grade 8 students at Ecole Fox Run School and those in the Leaders in Training program.

She says she has completed three training sessions with community members, both in person and virtually.

The training she provides is available for youth groups, schools, community members, businesses, volunteers, support organizations and more.

“The best thing we can do is to talk about it,” she said.

To learn more about Community Helpers, or to request training, contact Lambert at clambert@sylvanlake.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Seniors in the 65-unit Piper Creek Lodge are among those waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Central Alberta senior lodges anxiously waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations

“Should be at the front of the line, not the back of the line”

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta
Economists “cautiously hopeful” for economic recovery in Alberta

Charles St. Arnaud says Alberta’s recovery will rebound along with roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw acknowledged that Friday would be one year since the first case of COVID-19 was identified in the province. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three more Red Deer COVID-19 deaths, 331 active cases in Alberta

Red Deer is down to 362 active cases of the virus

The concept design for the spray park and playground in Pogadl Park. (Photo Courtesy of Canadian Recreation Solutions)
Sylvan Lake spray park tentatively scheduled to open next year

Sylvan Lake Town Council approved the tender of the spray park and playground in Pogadl Park

Caitlin Kraft, the sister of Jeffery Kraft, stands third from the left, holding a sign calling for the maximum sentence for Campbell, who is charged with manslaughter. (Photo by Paul Cowley)
UPDATED: Judge again rejects submission of 7-year sentence for slaying of Kraft

Tyler John Campbell charged with second-degree murder for December 2019 homicide

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Pictured here is Stettler’s Jenner Smith with a guide dog from Aspen Service Dogs. An online auction will be running soon to help raise funds for Jenner to receive his very own service dog later this year. Jenner, who is four years old, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019. photo submitted
An online auction is planned to raise funds for a service dog for a Stettler family

Jenner Smith, four, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2019

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Backcountry skiers are dwarfed by the mountains as they make their way along a mountain ridge near McGillivray Pass Lodge located in the southern Chilcotin Mountains of British Columbia, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. Avalanche Canada has issued a special warning to people who use the backcountry in the mountains of western Alberta and eastern British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Avalanche Canada special warning for mountains in western Alberta, eastern B.C.

Avalanche Canada also says everyone in a backcountry party needs essential rescue gear

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

hands
The call is out in Rimbey to sign on with a group that is all about building connections

‘Already, we are building a network where we can rely on each other and help each other out’

Most Read