In support of International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, the Vancouver Island Crisis Society will be holding an educational evening on how to help those in need who have lost someone to suicide.

There will be speakers from the Crisis Society who all have experience coping with the effects of suicide, whether they have lost someone or have been exposed to it through working with youth and the community.

suicideThe speakers will provide participants with techniques on how to talk to people who have lost someone and how to deal with the loss of someone to suicide themselves. “We will talk about what could be most helpful to say if it is someone close to you who needs support, and what you can say to other family members,” said Heather Owen, the Community Relations Coordinator of Vancouver Island Crisis Society. “There are so many people out there who have lost someone by suicide, and there’s a round of influence, a ripple effect. Even if there was an incident a long time ago, if the subject comes up it can be re-triggered. People feel like if they cause someone to cry, they have re-opened a wound.”

Due to the sensitivity of the topic, there won’t be an open discussion, but attendees will have the chance to talk one-on-one with the speakers and each other, Owen said.

In addition, there will be musical performances by local artists with stories of hope and healing, including young winners of Nanaimo Idol.

Vancouver Island loses more people to suicide than to car accidents and drug-related deaths combined. “This is fairly typical, but at the same time, we have a large First Nations population here on the Island, and that population accounts for about 20 per cent of the deaths,” said Owen. “Yet, even though it is so widespread, there is still very little education out there on how to support someone.”

The Crisis Society has held this event each year since 2006 and has tried several different formats; this year will be the first time it acts as an educational event rather than purely a time for remembrance.

Rather than charge a workshop fee, the Crisis Society will be giving back by asking attendees to bring a pair of socks and/ or shoes to be donated to locals in needs. Mambo Pizza will also be providing food in support of this community healing event.

The event is Wednesday, November 25 at VIU in bldg. 355, rm. 203 from 6 – 8 p.m.

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