Feature Story                                                                                      Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Stopping the Loss

Local youth groups take part in World Suicide Prevention Day with activities and movie

Submitted by Jay Niver, CHC


n Wednesday, Sept. 10, Chilliwack residents will be helping to "Cycle Around the Globe" at Stó:lō Nation in support of "One World Connected," the theme for this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day, as chosen by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP).


If averages hold true, 11 people will die by suicide today in this country, according to the IASP. Awareness is essential to changing this and understanding why people consider suicide and try to take their lives.


At Stó:lō Nation on the 10th, local cyclists will be doing their part to collectively pedal the 40,075-km circumference of the Earth and have participants cycling on every continent. That's IASP's global challenge to raise awareness of suicide prevention. Organizers will have a few bicycles available on site, but participants are encouraged to bring their own bikes and helmets.


Among those expected to take part are youth in the VYPER (Valley Youth Partnership for Engagement & Respect) and YAG (Youth As Gatekeepers) programs, which are both active locally in promoting healthy connectivity among Chilliwack youth and young adults.


Stó:lō Nation is home to the Coqualeetza Trail, a 1-km track for people to cycle or walk any distance they please, and every kilometer logged will be submitted to the IASP to add to the worldwide total.


Events run from 2 to 6 at the Stó:lō Nation,7201 Vedder Road, and there is no cost and no need to pre-register. Activities including a panel discussion will be hosted by youth and agency programs to promote suicide awareness and prevention. Kids' activities will take place throughout the afternoon, and a complementary dinner will be served at 5 p.m.

The Chilliwack Hospice Society, Chilliwack Community Services and Prospera Credit Union are sponsoring a second event for Suicide Prevention Day, 7p.m. at Cottonwood 4 Cinemas. A special showing of the movie Patch Adams stars Robin Williams (who committed suicide Aug. 11) and will be followed by a panel discussion. Admission is $5 for the film and program.

For more information on any of the activities at Stó:lōNation, contact Debi Kerton via email here or at (604) 750-0267 or Tracey Tantrum via email here. For local and B.C. suicide-prevention resources, go to MCFD (Ministry of Child & Family Development), Fraser Health, ChilliwackCYC  (Child & Youth Committee), the Crisis Centre, keltymentalhealth.ca and mindcheck.ca.

The Sept. 10 activities are sponsored by Stó:lō Nation Health; Aboriginal Child & Youth Mental Health; Stó:lō Tourism; Sto:lo Nation; Fraser Health Aboriginal Health; Fraser Valley Aboriginal Child & Family Services (Xyolhemeylh); Agassiz Harrison Community Service; CYMH Fraser Cascade; VYPER and Chilliwack Hospice Society.

Chilliwack Healthier Community (CHC) is committed to resolving complex social issues through facilitating new partnerships among local service providers to increase accessibility to services and streamline their delivery.


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