Registration for a three-hour training program to alert parents about suicide prevention has already been filled with a large waiting list.
The SafeTalk workshop is organized by the Canadian Mental Health Association with three sessions hosted at Central Okanagan school facilities April 5 (Dr. Knox), May 3 (Mar Jok) and May 16 (Hollywood Road).
Each session accommodates 30 parents, teaching possible signs to watch for that someone may be thinking about suicide, how to talk about it and how to connect to local intervention resources.
Aaryn Secker, workplace training and community education facilitator for the Kelowna branch of the CMHA, said the course offers a simple but effective message: Tell, Ask, Listen and KeepSafe.
The three-hour program generally costs $50 for participants but this time the cost for the trio of spring sessions is being covered by a grant from the Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Abuse Local Action Team.
“I think the registration response is a reflection of a trend where parents want to know more about suicide and learn some skills on how to recognize and prevent it,” Secker said.
“We expected there to be high interest, particularly because these upcoming sessions were subsidized, but the registration response still exceeded our expectations.
“It speaks to how suicide is on our radar today, that we continue to lose people to it every year. It’s unfortunate it’s on our radar for that reason, but the positive aspect is people are interested in learning the skills to try to prevent it from happening.”
While Secker said the upcoming sessions were geared to parents dealing with young people, she said the most at-risk demographic is men in the 40 to 50 age range.
Becker said more SafeTalk workshops will be scheduled for the fall, especially with September being suicide prevention month.
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