Today is a big day for the Collateral Damage Project in making Thunder Bay a suicide safer community.

Norwest Community Health Centres partner with Left Behind By Suicide to offer suicide awareness training.

I am grateful to NorWest Community Health Centre in Thunder Bay and especially to Jiilian Gribben and Anita Jean for making our partnership possible.

I truly believe in the social change of preventing suicide by empowering people with tools for dialogue. It’s not enough to just say, let’s talk about it. We need to and can provide tools.
Today’s announcement of community based dialogue comes from years of talking about it.

I remember the conversation when Susan Aglukark challenged me with the question, “what do you want people to do?” The answer took weeks and it changed everything. We want to provide tools so that people know how to talk about suicide. I wish my teachers had tools when I returned to school in 1982. This is when I found safeTALK; a three hour workshop that gives you (parents, teachers, men, coaches, youth, physicians, first responders…anybody who knows or deals with people) tools for conversations that saves lives.

In Thunder Bay alone, we at the Collateral Damage Project have been instrumental in facilitating safeTALK for;
– over 200 teachers
– 213 staff at Thunder Bay Fire Rescue
– every first year medical student at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine since 2014 as part of their first year curriculum
– 180 Indigenous youth with the Life Promotion Project
– Thunder Bay City Council and senior administration
– staff at the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines

This same message is being heard at each and every presentation and keynote that I give across Canada and internationally. We need to talk about suicide and we need to have tools to know how to talk about suicide. Whether it’s prevention or postvention/bereavement having the right tools allows us to save lives and be part of healing.

If you want to learn how to do this in your community, feel free to contact me.

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

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