Learning how to help people thinking of suicide



Sarah Milner says everyone struggles with trying to help people with depression and suicidal thoughts.

So the Central Lambton Family Health Team will offer a SafeTALK Training program Sept. 24 to help.

Milner says two recent suicides in Sarnia-Lambton prompted health care providers in Petrolia to ask “what can we do?

“I would hear  about it just talking to people on the street ‘what can we do?,” says Milner who is the CLFHT interim executive director. “We’re all struggling; we’re all parents, we’re all friends…Depression difficulties will touch us all at sometime in our lives and at a community level we want to help. But it is a hard subject to talk about.”

So Milner contacted the Sarnia Lambton Suicide Prevention Committee which offers the SafeTALK program.

It will prepare people to respond to persons with thoughts of suicide and connect them with suicide prevention resources.  “The training asks how do you talk to them when they’re experiencing distressing thoughts?

“It shows people it’s okay to use the word suicide and be frank…it arms people with words and skills they can use in their day to day lives,” says Milner. And they’ll take home a manual to help in the future. That is being provided free courtesy of Debb Pitel of Bits ‘N Buckles in Petrolia who will hold a fundraiser to pay for the materials.

The training session will be held at the Oil Heritage District Community Centre, Petrolia on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 beginning at 6 PM.

Milner said, “The team has formed partnerships with organizations across the County in an effort to address the complex challenges rural Lambton is facing around suicide and mental health.  By bringing the community together for support it is our hope that we can heighten awareness of and identify those who may have thoughts of suicide.”

The SafeTALK Training program is open to anyone 15yrs and older.  To register call t the Central Lambton Family Health Team at 519-882-2552.