Valley View Funeral Home’s arborcare co-ordinator Marlyn Ferguson, left, and manager Justin Schultz hold some of the lanterns leading up to the funeral home’s 12th annual lantern making/walk in observance of World Suicide Prevention Day Monday, Sept. 10. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Mental Health

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A Newton funeral home is preparing to host its annual memorial walk in support of World Suicide Prevention Day as a report has been released citing suicides as the “second leading cause of death for Canadian children and youth.”

Valley View Funeral Home will be hosting its 12th annual lantern making and lantern walk in observance of World Suicide Prevention Day on Monday, Sept. 10. The event is meant to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention.

Suicide is the “second leading cause of death for Canadian children and youth,” according to a report compiled by Children First Canada and the O’Brien Institute for Public Health on Tuesday (Sept. 4). The report also states that Canada is ranked among the top five countries for the highest child suicide rates globally.

The report, according to the O’Brien Institute, is based on data from Statistics Canada, the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the Canadian Institute of Child Health, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

RELATED: Canada’s children have high rates of suicide, child abuse and infant mortality: report

Marlyn Ferguson, who helps to co-ordinate the lantern making/walk at Valley View, said she heard about the recent report.

“Working in a funeral home, you, unfortunately, see a lot of suicide deaths and see the effect that has on families and for families at the worst time in their life,” Ferguson said. “If we can prevent something like that and raise that awareness, get people talking about mental health and possibly the supports that are out there prior to a suicide death, we want to be definitely involved in that, not just to see people when a death happens.”

Valley View manager Justin Schultz said there is obviously a large need for this type of support in the community, adding there is still a stigma attached to mental health issues and suicide.

“I know when there is a safe event like this to attend, anyone in the community who has been touched by this seems really pleased that there’s some support out there for them,” he said.

World Suicide Prevention Day, according to a media release from Valley View, is sponsored by the International Association for Suicide Prevention. Ferguson said each year the IASP gives ideas for observing World Suicide Prevention Day, adding she liked the idea of the lantern making/walk.

“It’s like shining a light to raise that awareness of suicide in our community.”

The lantern making will begin at 7 p.m. at Valley View Funeral Home (14644 72 Ave.) with the lantern walk at 8 p.m. Music will be provided by Threshold Choir. Ferguson said everything will be supplied for the lantern making.

The event will also feature an information table with brochures and pamphlets on suicide loss and how to access support in the community.



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