I was invited by Don Benedict to talk about the Collateral Damage project with the first and second year Paramedic Students at Confederation College in Thunder Bay.

First of all…thank you to all of the students who came out. I’m not sure what you were expecting but I trust that you came away with some “tools” that will be useful in the field. Most of all, do not be afraid to talk with the families and friends who have lost loved ones to suicide. This is really your opportunity to help in way that perhaps you never imagined.

After watching the introduction video and giving an overview of the project to date, a student put her hand up, “what was it like going to your first suicide call?”. I don’t actually remember my “first” call but I do remember that as I responded to suicide calls  much of my attention was directed at those left behind.

Now when you think about the topic of suicide and Paramedics you might think that this is one group whose curriculum would include training and awareness about dealing with such difficult situations. Oddly, training in suicide awareness or even including suicide calls in their scenarios is minimal or often absent. I challenged Don create scenarios for the students that included suicide and I encouraged to further their professional development by taking a LivingWorks ASIST or Safe Talk course as soon as they have the opportunity.

Thank you again for giving me this opportunity continuing the dialogue with Paramedic students.

Not talking about it isn’t working.

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