According to the Canadian government, approximately 4,500 people die in the country each year by suicide.

That is equivalent to just over 12 people dying by suicide every day, and countless others are battling with thoughts of suicide.

According to their statistics, more than 200 people in Canada attempt suicide each day. That is why McLennan’s Smoky River Ryders Riding Club (SRRRC) has decided to host its first Bikers Spreading Awareness of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention workshop.

SRRRC President Tammy Stout says suicide affects many families in our region and it’s important to get help out to those who may be thinking of ending their lives.

“I believe focusing on mental health and suicide prevention is extremely important,” says Stout.

“Suicide has affected everyone with either having a family member or friend lost to suicide, or even thinking of suicide themselves,” she adds.

The seminar will be held at the McLennan Campground on May 25 with the gathering starting at 11 a.m.

“Suicide is becoming a huge concern, and we want to have resources available as well as an alternative to suicide,” says Stout.

The event will begin at 11:30 a.m, with opening remarks being given by Stout at noon. Resource Centre for Suicide Prevention’s Casey Szmata will be on hand afterwards to speak about the resources available to the community.

Indigenous mental health therapist Tereca Ford will also give a presentation to help individuals collect information about what can be done to help friends or family thinking about suicide.

“One of our past Ryders struggles with mental health and this was initially requested on his behalf. I myself lost my brother to suicide in 1990, and we have young people who are struggling with mental health and having suicidal thoughts,” says Stout, explaining why the club thought it was so important to host a seminar.

“We want to help and be a part of the solution and not sit back and hear of another loved one lost to suicide,” she adds.

Hot dogs and refreshments will be available after the workshop, with all proceeds going to suicide prevention and mental health.

“This is my own personal opinion, but social media is a huge factor in increased suicides with bullying, dares being spread around social media, people are very mean when behind a keyboard,” Stout says.

“People have extensive responsibilities, and basic necessities going up but not our wages to match the expense. The world is in a bad place with inflation, what is going on in the Ukraine, in Gaza, and other things, there are a lot of pressures in life and individuals are having a really hard time coping.”

Stout says her own family experienced the pain of losing a loved one to suicide when her brother, Lenny, took his in 1990. She says she understands the sadness people go through when they lose a loved one to suicide, and she hopes that this seminar will help to bring some of the suicide topics to light.

“Losing Lenny was truly the worst day of my entire family’s life,” says Stout.

“Thirty-four years ago, there was very little education and resources available to people on where to get help and how to deal with life’s stress. I believe that reaching out for help is one of the most powerful moments and you need to be proud of asking for help.”

The club will also have a board available for attendees to post a picture of their loved one lost to suicide.

Everyone is welcome to attend the afternoon to share stories and learn from others.

Stout says the Smoky River Ryders women have also started a Women’s Support Group to gather women together to support one another. She says more information about this can be obtained at the May 25 event.

“These events are meant for us to come together and talk about things going on in our lives that we may need some help in coping with, or we just need talk to let it off our chests,” explains Stout.

“We may have something we are proud of and just we want to share with others our successes. We share food and we share stories.”

The club will also be hosting a Mother’s Day walk on May 12 starting at 2 p.m. The walk will begin at the McLennan Ecole Providence School yard.

“We will take a nice stroll through McLennan, get some fresh air, and exercise and celebrate each other as women, as mothers, as caregivers,” says Stout.

“We have a Facebook page called Women’s Support Group, where we post the next meeting date location and time. If you would like to join, please do so, the more women we have the more ideas we can do things for one another.”

Emily Plihal Local Journalism Initiative Reporter – South Peace News – southpeacenews.com

Original Published on May 01, 2024 at 11:30

This item reprinted with permission from   South Peace News   High Prairie, Alberta

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