Youth Suicide Grief Support Services Launching in October
Edmonton, AB – In Edmonton, 11 people attempt or die by suicide per day. Grieving a loss to suicide can seem overwhelming, but the support and understanding of others can be a powerful source of strength.
On World Suicide Prevention Day, the Canadian Mental Health Association – Edmonton Region and Kickstand are proud to announce a partnership to provide Youth Suicide Grief Support Services for our community.
CMHA Edmonton currently offers Suicide Grief Support Services for those who have lost a loved one to suicide. We have heard from community members that the experience of losing someone close to you at a young age is different, and teenagers and young adults need their own spaces to grieve in their own way and connect with people going through a similar experience. Responding to this, the youth curriculum has been in the works for months, specializing this service for cohorts ages 12-17 and 18-25.
“Being able to partner with Kickstand in this project has helped us develop the curriculum to be by youth, for youth,” says Giri Puligandla, Executive Director, CMHA Edmonton. He continues, “Grief can be a complicated process and unfortunately, life doesn’t stop moving when you lose someone you love. This program will help youth navigate the grief of losing someone to suicide at a critical time in their lives.”
“The amount of support for mental health in youth has grown and I think organizations like Kickstand that spread the word are vital to the changes we want to enact. Advocacy for youth mental health is needed now more than ever” mentions Kickstand Youth Action Council member, Hasul. “There have been so many unfortunate cases of youth suicides and a lot of them come from feeling alone and stuck, believing that there is no help available for them. So, I strongly believe that organizations like Kickstand are essential, and they could really save so many lives.”
The age of onset of mental disorders and problematic substance use are emerging at the exact time that, developmentally speaking, their systems are at their weakest. Young people undergo major transitions in their participation in education, where they live, what they do with their day, and who they turn to for support. It is a time of expected instability, leaving them vulnerable to poor physical, mental, social, and economic outcomes. Additionally, AHS reports 63-67% of LGTBQ+ youth, ages 14-25, have reported thoughts about suicide. Suicide is also 5-6 times higher for Indigenous youth than non-Indigenous youth.
Participants that have used CMHA Edmonton’s Suicide Grief Support Services have stated:
- “It was a great session, with good information, and questions to help participants process their thoughts and feelings. Thank you”
- “The session was helpful, the facilitators are excellent there is nothing that would have made my satisfaction higher”
CMHA Edmonton currently supports 300 adults annually through its Suicide Grief Support program. The 18 to 25 group intake will be launching in October, the youth groups will be co-facilitated by youth with lived experience of suicide loss.
People interested in learning more or signing up to receive a notification when registration goes live can visit edmonton.cmha.ca/programs-services/ysgss/. Donations to support the program can also be made at edmonton.cmha.ca/donate.
About Canadian Mental Health Association – Edmonton Region
CMHA Edmonton works within the community to support people experiencing mental illness and their families through advocacy, education, research, services, and programming. CMHA Edmonton works alongside community partners to service vulnerable and targeted populations who are living with or are at risk of developing mental health challenges. The organization provides education and training programs to various community actors and nurtures strong relationships within Edmonton through community-based services.
Kickstand is a province-wide collaboration between donors, service providers, young people, and parents/caregivers committed to transforming how young people in Alberta access health and social services. Kickstand was created to help young people find help in the easiest way possible. The organization plans to provide better support, through a variety of connected services from a central location, for young peoples’ physical health, mental health, substance use, and social services including housing, employment support, and peer support.
CMHA Edmonton Contact:
Alexandra San Diego