The official opening of the Deker Bauer Foundation for Suicide Prevention is bittersweet for Teresa Ingles.
Ingles, an Oil Springs native, is the mother of Deker Bauer, who took his own life in August 2014 at age 17.
Since then, she has channeled her grief into working towards bolstering local suicide prevention services and resources.
“All his (Deker’s) friends say that he would be very proud of me,” Ingles says of her efforts, adding that while founding the charitable foundation has been positive, it doesn’t take away the hurt.
At the Oct. 10 Petrolia council meeting, Ingles provided an update on the foundation’s progress and issued an invitation to attend the agency’s grand opening and community barbecue to be held Sunday, Oct. 22 from 1-5 p.m.
The new resource centre is located in the Central Baptist Church manse at 385 London Road in Sarnia.
Ingles stresses the centre can help bridge the void created when government agencies and mental health services are closed for the day.
“We know there’s a gap when services aren’t open at nights or on weekends,” Ingles explains.
According to Ingles, the new facility will not duplicate existing services being offered and will serve to provide resources and point of contact.
It’s important to note, she adds, that the London Road facility is open to all ages.
“We’ve had people and family members from ages eight to 64 reach out to us through Facebook and other means,” Ingles says. Ingles sees the Lambton County centre as a beginning. She hopes to open another 10 resource centres in Ontario, and take the Deker Bauer Foundation across Canada.
Plans for a mobile-style suicide prevention outreach are also in the works.Fundraising for the effort has been extensive, however Ingles would not say what had been raised so far. The foundation received a $20,000 startup grant from Lambton County.
The centre has two part-time employees who are paid through grants and fundraising. Central Baptist donates the space.