Essex-Windsor EMS recognizing Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Essex-Windsor EMS is doing its part to help people during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

As part of its support, Essex-Windsor EMS is flying yellow and purple flags outside its bases this September in recognition of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

Essex-Windsor EMS chief Bruce Krauter said they are a strong supporter of this awareness campaign being spearheaded by the Canadian Mental Health Association, Windsor-Essex County Branch, in partnership with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. He noted they are flying the flags at all EMS stations and have been active in the campaign for the last three years.

“We are a strong supporter of suicide prevention,” said Krauter.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Canadians under 25. In 2011, more than 40 residents from Windsor and Essex County died by suicide and there was a nine-year high for self-harm emergency department visits in 2015, according to the CMHA.

“Suicide isn’t the answer,” said Krauter.

Essex-Windsor EMS is flying flags for Suicide Prevention Awareness Month at all of its bases during the month of September (County of Essex photo)

Krauter noted that it is hard on first responders to go out on such calls and that even EMS members can suffer from mental health problems.

“As is the case with any first responder, we’re human too,” he said. “They may be suffering too.”

The key message of this year’s campaign is “You Are Not Alone” and the CMHA stresses that connecting and openly communicating with those who have had suicidal thoughts or those who have lost loved ones to suicide “is essential in the effort towards suicide prevention.”

Krauter said people are encouraged to reach out and talk if they are going through any difficulties. He said Essex-Windsor EMS has methods in place to support each other.

“We have an active peer support system within Essex-Windsor EMS,” said Krauter.

The County of Essex alerts people that there are events happening as part of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, including an event this Sunday at 9 a.m. at the St. Clair College Sportsplex. There is a 5km or 2km Suicide Prevention Awareness Walk. For more information on seminars and events, check out the Suicide Prevention Awareness Month calendar on the CMHA’s website, found at https://windsoressex.cmha.ca.

There is help available 24-hours a day and there are caring professionals ready to listen. The Community Crisis Centre (Ages 16+) has a 24-Hour Crisis Line that can be reached by calling 519-973-4435 with the Windsor Distress Centre (all ages) being available noon to midnight by calling 519-256-5000.

“It’s OK to ask for help and it’s OK to get help,” said Krauter.

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