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Northern youth suicide rate raises alarms

Planning is underway for a five-day workshop to help change some astounding statistics about suicide in northeastern Ontario.

The Suicide Safer Network and community partners are hosting a five-day workshop next week called Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST).

It's training for trainers across the region to share intervention skills to help people with thoughts of suicide in communities across our region.

“What the stats show is that northern Ontario suicide rates are triple the provincial average,” said Mark Fraser, of the Suicide Safer Network.

“Every death by suicide affects 7-10 people, so we understand now how one death by suicide has a ripple effect across communities.”

Micheline Lavallee, also of the Suicide Safer Network, said it’s a discussion that we need to have to prevent further tragedy.

“We need people to start talking honestly and openly about suicide in order to be able to save lives,” Lavallee said.

“At the moment, we probably have five per cent of our population that is in pain they are suffering and they feel that they can't talk to anybody about their thoughts of suicide.”

In all, 24 people will take part in the five-day workshop to become trainers. The training has not been offered in northeastern Ontario since 2013.

“The last three days they learn how to actually pathways to assisting life, which is a model that is worldwide renowned as a suicide intervention,” Lavallee said.

“Equip people with the skills necessary in order to have conversations about suicide and to also intervene when people are affected by suicide or have suicidal ideations,” Fraser added.

Officials said most participants are from cities and rural and Indigenous communities across the northeast. The goal is to have them go back to their respective areas and help people become more confident in intervening when someone has thoughts of suicide.

More information about training opportunities in the northeast can be found here. Top Stories

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