PVO Report on Altona Suicide Workshop

Suicide: Altona Workshop Shines Light On A Dark Topic (VIDEO)

Melissa McCausland (Grade 10 Northlands Parkway Collegiate Student) with Colleen Mullen (Rhineland Inter-Agency Team Member)

A community workshop held Tuesday night in Altona aimed to break down the stigma surrounding suicide.

About 50 people attended the meeting at the Altona Curling Club, which was organized by the Rhineland Inter-Agency Team. It wasn’t just a local event, as there were professionals and citizens in attendance from other communities as well including Winkler, Morden, and Portage la Prairie.

Organizer and suicide prevention advocate Colleen Mullen lost her son to suicide in 2005.

She explains why it’s so important to shine a light on the issue.

“I think a lot of people feel ashamed. They feel that it reflects on who they are as a person,” she said. “I think the more we talk about it, I think more people will realize they are not alone, and the more we talk about it and share our thoughts, the better we’ll feel if we know that we’re not alone.”

Mullen explained living in a rural area can often present challenges when dealing with mental health issues, noting resources such as councillors, psychologists, and psychiatrists are often difficult to access. She’s hoping that more local people will undergo training that will allow them to help those dealing with mental illness.

During the event, the tragic story of Mullen’s son was retold through a video written and directed by Morden’s Melissa McCausland, a Grade 10 student at Northlands Parkway Collegiate (NPC) in Winkler. The video entitled “Dear Son”, showed how suicide affects a loved one’s family.

McCausland, who has dealt with depression since a young age, said the workshop was a great learning experience.

“I think it’s an amazing idea and I really love seeing that the whole community coming together to talk about it,” she said. “Especially seeing adults who have dealt with depression and survived. I know as a kid I always thought I’d never see anyone else as an adult who’s dealt with it but this has really widened my eyes.”

The community forum was part of the 308 Conversations initiative, which was launched by the Mental Health Commission of Canada under the former Harper government. The idea was to get all 308 MP’s (now 338) talking about the issue of suicide.

candice bergen 2016 smallPortage-Lisgar MP Candice Bergen

Candice Bergen, Conservative MP for Portage-Lisgar, was instrumental in helping make the event happen.

In her address to the crowd, she noted that a person’s beliefs can sometimes make it difficult to discuss the issue of suicide.

“Sometime people who are Christians and strong believers struggle with mental illness,” said Bergen. “Christians commit suicide and we need to talk about that as Christians, as believers, and as people of different faiths because we are also growing in our communities as far as people with different faiths. Those are just some difficult issues but they have to be talked about.”

Ideas from the workshop will be forwarded to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, which will then collate all the suggestions to come up with a community model for suicide prevention.

The video below was written and directed by NPC Grade 10 Student Melissa McCausland:

Video by Melissa McCausland

The video below was written and directed by NPC Grade 10 Student Melissa McCausland:


World Suicide Prevention Day

On September 10th 2015 various communities in the Southern Health region participated in . Here are some photos of our days’ events and the support we have received from schools, communities, agencies, and individuals who are wanting to engage their communities in suicide prevention. A big thanks to everyone who flew kites and thought about their connection to others, their communities, and their world. If you or your community are interested in participating on September 10th, 2016 please contact: lfouasse@southernhealth.ca

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wEabnwvsOn September 10th, Southern Health-Santé Sud and the Central Region Youth Suicide Prevention Committee will be partnering with other communities and local organizations to increase awareness around suicide prevention.  September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day! This year our theme is Passport for Living (#Passport4L).The Passport for Living illustrates healthy travelling through life. Taking care of ourselves and building personal resiliency are key to suicide prevention, and everyday activities can contribute to positive mental health!

Sites with activities:

Carman – Carman Collegiate
Altona – Parkside Jr. High
Morris – Morris School
Lowe Farm – Lowe Farm School
Portage La Prairie – Republic of Manitobah Park
Portage La Prairie – DOCFS office
Winkler – Northlands Parkway Collegiate
Morden – Morden Collegiate Institute
Miami School
Elm Creek – Elm Creek School
St. Laurent School
St. Paul’s Collegiate – Elie
Long Plain School – Long Plain First Nation
St. Malo – St. Malo School
Sprague – Ross L. Gray School



More Photos from Last Year’s YSPD

Here’s some more photos from last year’s Youth Suicide Prevention Day, looking forward to this years event on September 10th!

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ASIST in Portage, October 2015

Here’s the brochure for an upcoming Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) workshop in Portage.  Feel free to share.

It’s Time to Speak Out

We have 50 days left until Canadians head to the polls this fall.

Here’s your chance to really speak out in support of youth mental health and suicide prevention. 

During pre-election time, political candidates are going door-to-door and meeting people in their homes, at community centres and at rallies to understand what issues matter to their constituents.

Raise your voice and help drive change.

Your voice WILL make a difference.

Tell your local candidate why this issue matters and find out where they stand on youth mental health and suicide prevention. Use our tools, as part of the Right By You campaign, to support your efforts:

•  3 key questions
•  Key takeaway sheet

We need to keep the pressure on.

Although there has been some progress made – with the Government of Canada mentioning suicide prevention in the 2015 budget along with the extension of the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s mandate – we now need to ensure that tangible actions and dedicated funding for initiatives like the National Suicide Prevention Fund proposed by Partners for Mental Health will happen.

We have had more than 10,000 people take action already but with just 50 days to go, we are counting on you to help drive the importance of this issue home.

Thank you for your support,

Jeff Moat
President, Partners for Mental Health

Mental Health Week

Mental Health Week is Coming!

As Canada’s champion for mental health, CMHA delivers programs and services to over half a million Canadians every year.

Our 64th Annual Mental Health Week focuses on the mental health and well-being of men and boys and, as always, encourages people from all walks of life to learn, talk, reflect and engage others on issues related to mental health and mental illness.

We would encourage you to take a look at the following video that raises awareness and supports suicide prevention for athletes of any level.

To read more about Daniel Carcillo, follow this link.

Out of the Blues: One Man’s Hidden Struggle with Depression

An excellent video by Dreamattic Media, featuring Chris Burns. Well worth the watch!


Bell Let’s Talk

Bell Let's Talk

Bell Let’s Talk

Talking is the best way to start breaking down the barriers associated with mental illness and suicide. We applaud the Bell Let’s Talk initiative, which created over 122 million social media interactions, raising over 67 million dollars since 2010 for mental health initiatives.