Friends for Life is a CMHA Saskatchewan program which offers workshops about mental health, workplace wellness, and suicide prevention. The Friends for Life program is designed to provide awareness and knowledge to communities, schools, educators, students and the general public including employers and their employees.
Friends For Life offers workshops to enhance people’s skills which can help them to be a support and resource to those encountering someone with mental health concerns.
Mental illness and suicide have a great many factors in common. Aside from any cause-effect relationship, their biggest similarity is that people are extremely hesitant to discuss, self-disclose or acknowledge that either exists. Because of this reluctance, a lack of information (and considerable misinformation) surrounds both – that is why Friends For Life is here to help.
Friends for Life has many different workshops available including: suicideTALK, safeTALK, ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), Tattered Teddies, Living Life to the Full, Mental Health First Aid, Grief & Loss Recovery, as well as Communications & Problem Solving Skills.
For information on upcoming Friends for Life workshops please contact Donna at 1-306-631-4315 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Workshop Sponsorship: Please note that workshop sponsorship is available for those without the financial means to attend a Friends for Life Workshop. Those who meet the criteria can apply for a sponsorship to attend a particular workshop. Sponsorship inquiries can be made with Donna Bowyer by calling 1-306-631-4315 or emailing: email@example.com.
What Friends For Life Does
Friends for Life works:
- with schools to develop a sense of self-esteem in students; providing information to stop bullying; providing strategies to lower stress in the workplace; providing knowledge and changing attitudes surrounding mental illness; all have the added benefit of preventing suicide;
- in workplaces to help establish some foundational tools employers, managers and employees can use to develop the ability to work together and inspire and motivate one another in a team like atmosphere that will positively affect the whole workplace;
- with communities: to be suicide alert — to have people trained to be able to identify, ask, connect and intervene when someone has thoughts of suicide.
A Mental Disorder is a major factor in 70 to 90 percent of suicides. – Mood Disorders Association, NIMH
Increased awareness, knowledge and openness to mental illness creates a powerful tool in the prevention of suicide. Consider the following: In any given year the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in the U.S. estimates that approximately:
- 20 percent of the population will have a diagnosable Mental Disorder. (In Saskatchewan that would be 200,000 people.)
- 5 to 10 percent of the population (an average of 7.5 percent) will suffer from Depressive Disorder. (In Saskatchewan that’s 75,000 people.)
- Considerably fewer than 50 percent of these people will seek treatment. (U.S. figure is only 16 percent)
Additional research indicates that:
- Saskatchewan has a higher rate of attempted suicides than any other Canadian province. (Statistics Canada)
- In any given year one in 17 people, or six percent of the population will experience Suicidal Ideation (consider suicide as an option). In Saskatchewan that equals 60,000 people.(Suicide Information and Education Centre, Calgary)
- The average number of suicides in Saskatchewan for the past five years is 131 deaths per year. (SaskHealth)
- For every attempted suicide, there are 100 non-fatal suicidal behaviours ranging from failed attempts, to engaging in behaviours where death is a very real possibility, e.g. combining drugs and alcohol with potentially lethal weapons such as fast cars. (SIEC). In Saskatchewan the number would be 10,000 plus per year.
It is obvious that knowledge, skills and changed attitudes are required if we are to effect improvement in both Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.
Our hope is that by providing information and strategies, people will feel empowered to be more responsive to their own Mental Health needs, as well as those of their families, friends and colleagues.
For any information about Friends for Life, please contact Donna Bowyer, the Friends for Life Program Director.
Director, Friends for Life