The Okanagan Suicide Awareness Society (OSAS) is hosting a town hall meeting on suicide and its impact in the Central Okanagan, focusing on suicide prevention, citizen concerns regarding the impact of suicide in the community and access to services.
OSAS has been working with Members of Parliament Ron Cannan (Kelowna-Lake Country) as well as Dan Albas to plan and promote the town hall meeting.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada issued a challenge to Parliament last April, dubbed the #308 Conversations project. The challenge issued was for each Member of Parliament to host a town hall conversation with constituents in his/her riding before Parliament reconvenes in September, with a goal to have a wide cross section from the community to share information, concerns, wishes and suggestions on suicide. The goal of the project is to for make communities less impacted by suicidal behaviour and bereavement and to facilitate a robust and effective roll out of the national suicide prevention plan legislation (Bill C-300 of 2012).
Both MPs Cannan and Albas will be the official hosts of the gathering, and they will be submitting a report of the conversation to the Mental Health Commission of Canada for inclusion in their national report based on all of the #308 Conversations.
The emcee for the event will be Phil Johnson, who also will be devoting air time during his radio program on World Suicide Prevention Day (Sept. 10).
According to the OSAS, suicide is a very significant public health and quality of life concern in the Central Okanagan that traditionally receives little public attention. The statistics may surprise and the stories of suicide bereavement likely will touch your heart.
As the Mental Health Commission of Canada declared to Parliament, “It is time to start talking about suicide prevention.”
The forum takes place Sept 8 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Parkinson Recreation Centre, Orchard Room.