The New Mentality received funding from The Bell Let’s Talk Community Fund to improve suicide first aid capacity for youth in Ontario. This project will improve the New Mentality’s internal capacity in suicide first aid and improve the capacity of 250 youth and adult allies to support people experiencing suicidal feelings. Using the LivingWorks safeTALK model TNM staff members will be trained to become safeTALK trainers and will then deliver 10 safeTALK trainings across Ontario. Through improving suicide first aid in our network, more youth and adult allies will be able to provide support to individuals in their communities
safeTALK is an alertness training that prepares anyone over 15, regardless of prior experiences or training, to become a suicide-alert helper. safeTALK has found that, most people with thoughts of suicide don’t truly want to die, but are struggling with the pain in their lives. Through their words and actions, they invite help to stay alive. safeTALK-trained helpers can recognize these invitations and take action by connecting them with life-saving intervention resources, such as Ontario’s community-based mental health system.
We have 20 TNM groups across Ontario. One of their main activities is hosting events and speaking in their communities, with a focus on reducing stigma and educating youth on local services. These events are highly successful and engage a large number of community members. Some groups reach over 1,000 individuals each year.
Due to the nature of this work, our youth and allies act as informal gatekeepers – they are often the initial contact for people talking about mental health issues. As such it is important that they are knowledgeable about mental health, know the resources available in their community, and are prepared to support an individual who might be suicidal. Through improving capacity of these gatekeepers to address, notice and respond to situations where suicide thoughts might be present, and improving their awareness of community resources and how to connect someone with thoughts of suicide to them for further help, this will improve access to existing mental health services and supports.
Stay tuned in the upcoming months for more information about training dates and locations!