On a day recognizing struggle, organizations are bringing hope to the surface.

September 9 is World Suicide Prevention Day. On this day, people are encouraged to discuss serious mental wellness issues. The Winnipeg Suicide Prevention Network (WSPN) and the Canadain Mental Health Association (CMHA) are both using this day to discuss the importance of life.

WSPN says they support "work being done in Winnipeg to prevent suicide and promote hope and strengthening connections to life." This year, they hope to inspire people to have difficult conversations that could be life-saving.

“We are hoping to engage people in thinking about suicide prevention, but also thinking beyond immediate safety to ideas like connecting with the things that help promote feelings of wanting to live, even when that means getting through hard times. Lots of things are really hard for people right now, and finding simple or big ways to manage this stress and find ways to stay hopeful is a critical part of preventing suicide," WSPN co-chair Curt Holowick-Sparkes says.

WSPN says they are working to connect people and communities in regard to suicide prevention.

For World Suicide Prevention Day, CMHA is launching an online training program to inspire conversations between community members about mental health, thoughts about suicide, and life promotion. "Start" is the name of their latest project.

“Start” teaches individuals to recognize warning signs of suicide in others and how to take meaningful action to keep them safe and connected to community resources, even from afar. The training program takes 90 minutes to complete online and includes options for personal customizations, realistic simulations, and interactive content," CMHA says in a statement.

COVID-19 restrictions have brought their other program, SafeTALK, to a pause. The association is hoping the new training will help during the gap.

“Conversations about mental health and suicide can be challenging and avoided by many for that reason," Ela Partyka, Program Director, says. “Start is easy to use and understand tool which teaches how to engage in dialogue. Having this skill not only reduces stigma and isolation but can also save lives.”

CMHA says they have partnered with LivingWorks Education to create the program.

WSPN is sharing a list of resources to help those struggling with thoughts of suicide:

  • Manitoba Suicide Prevention and Support Line: 1-877-435-7170
  • Winnipeg Mobile Crisis Team: 204-940-1781
  • Crisis Response Centre: 817 Bannatyne
  • First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line: 1‑855‑242-3310
  • Kids Help Phone: text 686868
  • Or go to your nearest Emergency Department/call 911