Published Wednesday, August 22, 2018 10:49AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, August 22, 2018 10:30PM EDT
Windsor-Essex agencies are expanding suicide prevention awareness from a week to a month this September.
For the last two years, the Canadian Mental Health Association Windsor/Essex County Branch and the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU), along with several community partners, have organized Suicide Prevention Awareness Week.
In response to feedback from the community, the week has been expanded to a month, making September Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
Suicide Prevention Awareness Campaign kicks off at the Canadian Mental Health Association Windsor-Essex County Branch in Windsor, Ont., on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018. (Sacha Long / CTV Windsor)
The CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association Windsor-Essex, Claudia den Boer, says the message of the month is to tell people “you are not alone.”
She tells CTV Windsor those conversations are crucial.
“It allows us to engage others in conversation and who knows, it may cause someone else to say something to have those conversations with friends and family and allows them to get support.”
Ryan Peter knows the impact of a loved one’s suicide.
His brother Bruce committed suicide last June. He was only 26. Bryce didn’t show many warning signs, so his death left his family confused and devastated.
“I don’t wish the pain I feel on anyone,” says Ryan Peter. “It makes me not want other people to be walking in my shoes. I do what I can to prevent that, so no one has to live the life I have to live. It’s unbearable.”
A variety of events are scheduled to take place throughout the month.
These events help to raise awareness and start a conversation around suicide awareness and prevention.
Peter’s family is holding a fundraiser in memory of Bryce on Sunday August 26 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Moose Lodge.
Other highlights include; the 4th annual Cainerfest (Sept. 7-8), screening of The Ripple Effect (Sept. 10) and a 5K Walk at the St. Clair College Sportsplex on Sunday, Sept. 16.
Throughout Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, local community partners, businesses and organizations will participate in the ‘Go Yellow’ Campaign by hosting special events, training seminars and more.
The Suicide Prevention Awareness website, is the information hub for the month.
The CMHA says an average of 10 Canadians die by suicide every day in Canada. It is the second leading cause of death for those under the age of 25. In Windsor-Essex, from 2012 through 2016 more than 150 people have died by suicide.