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New bereavement program in P.E.I. marks World Suicide Prevention Day

Published on September 7, 2017

Michelle Singer of Elmsdale, N.S., takes part in a candlelight event marking World Suicide Prevention Day in this file photo.

©The Guardian/Via Truro Daily News/File photo

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The Canadian Mental Health Association on P.E.I. will mark the 15th anniversary of World Suicide Prevention Day with the launch of a new bereavement program for adults who have lost a loved one to suicide.

The theme for this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) on Sept. 10 is “Take a minute, Change a life.”

People are invited to wear a suicide prevention ribbon, light a candle or tea light at 8 p.m., participating in a WSPD event, or reaching out to a survivor of suicide loss.

CMHA P.E.I. is marking the anniversary with the launch of a new program entitled “Life After Suicide Loss” (LASL), a nine-week bereavement program for adults who have lost a loved one to suicide.

Through a partnership with Health P.E.I., CMHA worked with several local clinicians and veteran suicide loss survivors over the past several months to prepare for this new programming.

Until recently, CMHA used a self-help model of peer support as one of several support options available to those impacted by suicide loss on P.E.I., but recently these groups have not been meeting regularly.  

“The new LASL group’s structured approach will provide those grieving the loss of a loved one with some foundational knowledge and strategies for managing life after suicide loss,” said Lela MacDonald, a member of CMHA’s provincial suicide prevention committee and a former co-facilitator of the Prince County Survivors of Suicide Self-Help group.

This initiative will also see the establishment of a peer-led, monthly follow-up group for former LASL participants, offering them an opportunity to reconnect, share and problem solve with their peers.

The start date of the first nine-week closed group program is Thursday, Oct. 5, and space is limited.

The partners have been reaching out to families impacted by suicide loss to explore their readiness and interest to participate. Those interested may call McGill Centre at 902-368-4911.

There will be a community WSPD event held again this year on Sept. 10 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Queen Elizabeth Park (bottom of Belvedere Avenue in Charlottetown).

This will be a safe, welcoming community gathering for all who have been touched by the loss of someone to suicide or are supporting someone who is struggling with life. Visit the event’s Facebook page for more details.