The need to talk about the ‘S’ word

PIKWAKANAGAN – The ceremony was held on the banks of Golden Lake on a grassy opening near the Elders’ Lodge on a sunny evening in October. The west wind was whispering across the lake and through the leaves on the trees.

“We are gathered here today to form the circle, the circle of life,” Peter Bernard said at the beginning of a ceremony to bring attention to mental health and suicide.

Supervisor of the mental health team at Pikwakanagan, Sandra Wright, said that people need to talk more about suicide.

“It could happen anywhere. It’s OK to talk about it. Not to feel afraid of that, not to be afraid of that ‘S’ word,” Wright said.

She said the mental health team at Pikwakanagan are trained to teach a course, Safe Talk, to help people become more aware of mental health and suicide.

Wright said the mental health team consists of: Alexandra Bednash who is an addiction specialist, Sarah Bell and Sherry Behm who deal with children’s mental health and Sadie Wegner who is a child youth councillor.

Wright said, while there used to be a stigma around mental health, it’s still there for suicide.

Behm added, “The stigma is the same for suicide; ask the direct question, don’t be afraid to ask. A lot of times people are trying to give you a hint about it. They are trying to communicate it. The thing is, they are afraid to say it. You have to not be afraid to ask about it. It’s scary.”

For more pick up a copy of the October 25, paper.