Ottawa shares ideas at first-ever youth suicide summit
Published Thursday, February 9, 2012 12:18PM EST
More than 40 organizations are uniting to take on youth suicide in Ottawa after the first-ever summit on the issue Wednesday night.
Attendees said one of the goals of the summit was to make sure children and parents know where to go for help.
"When we were trying to find help for our son that was the big thing," said Ottawa councillor Allan Hubley, whose son Jamie died by suicide in October. "Where do you go, who do you call for each issue?"
"One of my dreams would be that everyone in this community knows how to talk to somebody," said Renee Ouimet of the Ottawa Suicide Prevention Coalition. "They're worried about (finding someone who) knows what to say, knows how to talk about suicide directly and then refer somebody to services."
Experts said changes in behaviour, a prolonged negative mood, comments about feeling worthless and discussing death are all warning signs.
"Suicide awareness is a huge issue, it happens a lot and there are always signals to spot," said Myron Khatheer. "A lot of us are so blind to the issues and so blind to the symptoms that we miss it."
Khatheer said he got help from the Youth Services Bureau and its 24/7 crisis line after running away from home.
"They gave me so many skills I didn't know I was capable of," he said. "They let me be myself in a supportive environment where I was surrounded by so many resources and so much support."
As for the biggest factor in the summit's ultimate goal of ending youth suicide, Khatheer repeated one simple word:
"Education, education, education."
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Ellen Mauro