On January 30th I presented to the Laurentian University 4th year Social Work class via video conference. Agents of change, social change to be specific was the topic of the day.

By now you are certainly seeing a pattern of my work with Laurentian. I guess this is what creating a dialogue and social change is all about. I’ve never considered myself to be an ‘agent of change’. Sounds like a secret agent of sorts. I believe that the greatest change occurs when we are too busy working on our passions to notice the change that we have made. The goal is not change, the outcome is change.

Although I’ve been working on the Collateral Damage Project for almost three years, I can honestly say that I am only beginning to see change that will continue on far beyond my voice. Even after the concert in Ottawa for 2011 World Suicide Prevention Day, one of our advisory tem members said to me “you must feel very proud.” I did feel proud, the evening was powerful…but, the achievement of ‘change’ did not resonate with me. To truly understand the power of the concert, you had to be there and this ultimately was a limited audience. I believe it was truly powerful for all those in attendance but again, limited to relatively a few. However, with the presentations and the engagement with Laurentian University  and Northern Ontario School of Medicine students, I know that the message will be taken and shared far beyond the confines of the classroom(s). This to me is where we can measure change, when the conversation leaves our hands and others continue to not only share the conversation but inspire others to do the same.

SafeTALK is a high priority for all of the students, but I also know that this is just the beginning. I challenged the students to look for the starting point rather than the solutions.

I am inspired by the conversations with the Social Work class and I am confident that they too will not only continue the dialogue on suicide but inspire other to do the same.

Not talking about it isn’t working. Thank you for continuing the dialogue.

4 thoughts on “Laurentian University Social Work Presentation; Agents of Change

  1. I was fortunate to be there for Scott’s presentation and I have a great amout of respect for his effort to make this issue recongized by our political leaders. The rate at Canadians commiting suicide each is approximately 4,000 which translates into 10 deaths per year (http://www.reasontolive.ca/suicide-facts). This is not simply an issue, it is an epidemic. When maple leaf meats sandwiches were contaminated with lysteria killing five Canadians, I can remember the outrage being directed at the C.F.I.A for not properly preventing the issue by enforcing meat processing companies to improve santization standards. Meanwhile, suicide has become the second most leading cause of death in ages of 14-24, yet why isn’t this epedemic being talked about all over the news each night? Why is suicide prevention not being taught in a Social Work university programs where the majority of our clients have mental health issues and are known to have a higher risk of suicide? Suicide has been a closet issue nobody wants to discuss, but because of your calloborative effort to raise awareness of this issue, you have demonstrated that with passion and hard work, the world can change for the better of humanity. Thanks Scott,

    • William,

      Very interesting comparison with the lysteria outbreak. http://www.mumj.org/Issues/v8_2011/articles/v8_65.pdf

      The linked article is interesting as it discusses “Protecting the vulnerable” and in closing it states ” The retrospective examination of this incident brings to light various approaches that can be used to prevent such an incident from recurring, allowing us to recognize that public health measures can make a large difference to vulnerable populations.”

      It’s important to understand that the lysteria outbreak at a Toronto Maple Leaf Foods plant sickened a total of 57 Canadians and claimed 23 lives.

      Suicide claims 10 lives a day in Canada. What are we doing to prevent “such and incident” from recurring?

  2. Hey Scott,
    I wanted to thank you for shedding light on the subject of suicide and for demonstrating to us what it means to be so passionate about ‘change’. Previous to your in depth discussion with our class, I had completed the 2-day ASIST training and found it very informative and beneficial to my social work practice and have recommended it to my fellow classmates. I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation and can see the work and dedication that comes with creating awareness and change, keep up the great work and thank you for your inspiring words!

  3. Scott the presentation was very interesting and most importantly it showed me and I think most of my classmates what a huge gap we are missing in our education. I have reached out to organizations in Toronto looking for the safe talk and Assit training. It is my goal to have this training before entering the field. Thank you so much for your time and dedication to a very important cause!
    All the best!

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