In Red Deer, a community
is coming together to
prevent teen suicide
A number of suicides in Red Deer recently have really
shaken our community.
These sad losses have also opened up all kinds of
conversations about suicide. More people are feeling it’s
important to talk about this. Anything that helps keep
the conversation going is important. It’s about reducing
the stigma of suicide and talking about it in a preventive,
helpful, supportive manner—that’s always good.
It’s amazing to me that our community is giving suicide a
voice. We’ve seen a number of families come forward to talk
about what it’s like to lose a loved one to suicide. We’ve also
seen a number of teens create more awareness about suicide
through social media and fundraising events. The local
school board is looking at ways to support its students. More
and more people are putting their names next to the cause.
At Suicide Information & Education Services Red Deer,
we are always trying to get the message out about suicide.
I think it is very cool that teens, parents and educators are
It’s amazing to me that our community is giving suicide a voice.
steering the conversation and coming together to prevent
Talking about suicide is really the only way to prevent
it—by people of any age. When we talk about it, supportively
and non-judgmentally, we give permission to people who are
struggling to reach out for help.
They need to know their family, friends, teachers and
classmates will stand behind them and help them work out
I think it has to go further than that, of course. People
also need to know they can go for help and where to find
someone who can talk one-on-one with them.
Suicide is not a teen issue but a human issue, and we
need to let everyone know that they can find the help they
Dawne Adkins is an education and community coordinator with Suicide Information & Education Services Red Deer.
For more information about suicide prevention, contact:
• Alberta Health Services Mental Health Help Line at
• Health Link Alberta 1-866-408-5465 (LINK)
• Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868
• For a crisis centre near you, visit suicideprevention.ca and
click on “Find a Crisis Centre”